I’m such a putz…

It’s July, which means I’m up to my ass in ground squirrels, each and every verminous one plotting with all its heart and soul to break into my powershed and make a big mess of my pantry.

I’ll put up with rabbits and even non-invasive packrats, but I currently have a shoot on sight policy for ground squirrels in my yard. I just hate them. I don’t often hit them, to be honest, but I’ll expend ammo just to demonstrate how unwelcome they are. I’ve taken to carrying the .22 as my EDC gun just for that purpose. It’s a rare day I don’t take a shot.

So this morning I opened the Lair’s front door and immediately spotted very squirrel-like movement under one of my junipers while I was still standing at the top of the stairs. Out came the Ruger; gonna pot me a rat with a fluffy tail. Great start to the day!

The squirrels may not have taken the hint and moved away to pester my neighbors, but they are by and large aware that being motionless in my presence is not conducive to a long and prosperous life. So I expected a running shot if I got one at all. That’s why I hit so few; I’m really hopeless at running shots.

This particular squirrel hadn’t learned the lesson. It was clearly not long out of the nest, maybe 1/3 scale. And it came out into the open, faced me squarely not 10 yards away, and just stood there and stared. “What’s that?” it asked itself. “Does it want to play?”

Oh, I had it dead to rights. It was motionless in my sights, a perfect, close, easy shot. Gersh Kuntzman couldn’t have missed this shot.

I’m such a putz. I put two bullets into the ground next to it to scare it off. Come back later, you little rodent, when you’re not so cute. I’ll kill you then.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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18 Responses to I’m such a putz…

  1. MamaLiberty says:

    Good grief, Joel. I hit the small ones with no regret. I also work hard to hit the moving ones. I don’t hesitate to put out bait so the moving ones don’t move so much. And that’s with rabbits. We don’t have squirrels here, but while the rabbits are no threat to my pantry, they are terribly destructive to my garden and trees…. and there are millions of them.

    Shoot the damned things. :)

  2. ZtZ says:

    What Mama Liberty said. Shoot the damned things.
    Before you see this one again it will have been taken over by a strong dose of hormones and will have produced at least 100 more.
    Shoot the damned things.

  3. deborah harvey says:

    cat. our cats will hunt anything.
    your cat will bring them to you, so if they are edible, cook them. the dog will enjoy them, too.
    squirrel stew.
    then you are not guilty. the cat is just being true to its nature.
    gotta watch out , though. coyotes love a nice juicy cat.

  4. Joel says:

    No more cats! Cats are only about halfway up the food chain here, but they only become convinced of it when the talons or jaws close. We’ve had exactly one cat that didn’t die of violence, and she was an unusually smart cat.

    Also they’re useless for rodent control: The rodents’ numbers are invincible, and for safety’s sake the cats used to catch mice outside and bring them inside for torture and consumption. Defeats the purpose.

  5. Tennessee Budd says:

    Deborah, I do believe Joel has discovered the problems of having domestic cats in an environment which contains coyotes, to his chagrin (maybe not much chagrin, but some–he has a soft spot. Hard target to hit, seems to move around like Eye-gore’s hump, but it’s there). Go through the archives. It’s gone less than swimmingly.
    Like many gruff, antisocial old bastards who’ll cheerfully put a round in you should you offer us–I mean them–violence, I suspect there’s a softie underneath, at least a little. That’s why you make the armor tougher, so not many can reach & damage the vulnerable bits.
    “Mother, did it need to be so….high?”–Roger Waters

  6. Tennessee Budd says:

    Sorry, Joel–you answered Deborah while I was still typing.
    I have a tomcat who was the terror of the holler when I lived in my last home. I intentionally didn’t neuter him, just ’cause he whipped the shit out of anything that approached his property, which in his tiny cat brain it all was.
    Buy this house, & he turns worthless. I’ve seen him on the porch, disinterestedly watching a ‘possum eating his food; on top of that, the shrubs smell like tomcat spray. Worthless bastard.

  7. Mark Matis says:

    You just haven’t tried the right breed:


    Of course, it’s possible that you might end up with dead coyotes dragged to your doorstep. As a reminder to LB…

  8. Joel says:

    LB would love a bobcat kitten! He would mother it with great care.

    I remain unconvinced any bobcat would make a good pet – or consent to be any kind of pet at all other than just a captive. We’ve got bobcats around here; they’re not friendly.

    But if as the article says a hand-raised bobcat kitten tames down, it would be a pretty good fit. Except for the coyote carcasses on the doorstep, of course.

  9. Mark Matis says:

    That is the secret to having a bobcat as a good pet. They have to imprint early on humans. I suspect these guys do it right:
    but I doubt they are a credible source with your financial situation. At those $$$ levels, I expect you have FAR more important things you’d rather have…

  10. Joel says:

    Boy, I’ll say…

    A: They eat a fresh meat diet (poultry can be substituted on occasion) mixed with calcium and adjustable to the tastes of your pet. We include a copy of our diet with your pet. There are canned ‘exotic’ catfoods and you can use these but you must add extra calcium and fat to meet the needs of these cats. Adult cats eat approximately a pound of meat per day.

    Never mind buying the $1800 cat. I couldn’t afford to feed the $1800 cat.

  11. MamaLiberty says:

    True of a lot of things, Joel. I was given an M1 .30 carbine that I love to shoot… can’t afford the ammo. I was offered a free horse, and he was nice. Can’t afford to feed it, vet bills, farrier – not to mention that I can no longer ride. Don’t need an expensive yard ornament.

    Stick to shooting the squirrels. If you do it often enough, without any second thoughts, you’ll GET darn good at it, and won’t waste much ammo in the process. :)

  12. Mark Matis says:

    Oh come on now, Joel. Kitty would get PLENTY of calcium and fat from the rabbits and ground squirrels and pack rats. You would have to buy ANY food. But the chickens would be an issue. You would have to make sure their home was properly fortified so kitty couldn’t get in and entertain himself.

  13. Tennessee Budd says:

    The bobcat is the mascot of the high school from which I graduated; odd, because damned few are seen around anymore.
    I don’t care how well it “imprinted”, I ain’t going there. I know full well that when I die, if I have cats around, I’ll be food before anybody comes to check on me. I don’t have a problem with that. The problem is those feline mood swings when they suddenly turn a murderous look on you, and are inches from your face.
    My Siamese (all Siamese cats are crazy, they’re like human redheads) was once lying on my chest, seemingly happy, when she recalled some bygone & long-deferred slight & swung at me. Managed to cut my eyelid, no more, but that’s only because I used to be quick. I won’t let a cat near my face now without my glasses on.

  14. Mark Matis says:

    I suspect that Joel would be smart enough to not let his pet bobcat sleep on his chest. In fact, I would expect it to be an “outside” cat, roaming the neighborhood and striking terror into all who gaze upon him. I wouldn’t be surprised if it even would keep the cows and calves out of his yard! Although there might be trouble if kitty were ever to kill the bull and drag its carcass to his doorstep…

    And if you look in the right places, bobcats are still doing fine. No shortage of ’em down here in Florida.

  15. Joel says:

    Cats sleep where they will, but I’d carefully remember the lesson from that time many years ago when I taught a kitten to wrestle. So cute – until it still wanted to play claws-out as a 15-pound tomcat…

  16. Mark Matis says:

    And with all the rabbits and ground squirrels and packrats in your neck of the “woods”, I suspect that kitty would quickly turn into a 70 pound behemoth with triple chins…

  17. R says:

    Sounds like ground squirrels are a good reason to have a .410 shotgun by the door.

To the stake with the heretic!