The Bulletproof Squirrel

Rodents would make excellent kung-fu movie stars. It’s true, because they’ve already got all the moves. Not so great on offense, but that’s what CGI is for. Defensively, they come out of their mommas as little Jackie Chans.

Did you know that mice can literally dodge bullets? It’s true, I’m not making that up. I’ve seen it myself: A perfect, easy shot on a stationary mouse, the hole goes exactly where the mouse was, but in the instant between the trigger squeeze and the impact the mouse levitates out of the way and beats feet. There’s even a theory for how that happens; the wave front from the muzzle blast, or further away the wave front from the supersonic bullet, is strong enough to be detectable by the mouse’s very sensitive vibration-sensing apparatus. The mouse doesn’t bother to analyze why it should suddenly move, it’s just hard-wired to move. And it does, and the bullet gets there too late and way off target.

I don’t know that squirrels can do that, but I do know that sometimes – like now – I get plagued by a purely humiliating squirrel. This particular one is more interested in the chickens’ feeder than in my pantry, which is good, but it’s making a perceptible dent in my chicken feed supply. Yesterday afternoon I saw it through the bathroom window, snuck around the cabin .22 in hand, but arrived only in time to see it disappear around the small shed. I followed it to where a rational squirrel would have run, did in fact see a squirrel cross the gully behind the cabin and did in fact shoot that squirrel, then looked around to see the culprit squirrel – which I had passed – heading right back to the chicken yard.

I have taken numerous point-blank shots at this squirrel and hit nothing but air. I either become a very bad shot in its presence or it can feel the bullet coming like a mouse. I followed this one back, keeping away from the chicken yard but angling myself to have a shot at the feeders, when the damned thing got it into its head that maybe it wanted to go under the cabin. The sandbags have slumped there, I haven’t finished the new skirting…it paused, almost as if taunting me…
Do you see a problem with taking that shot? Yeah, I really did not want to put a hole in that propane bottle, and if hypothesis #1* proves true there’s going to be a hole in that propane bottle because of course that’s where the bullet will miss. Uncle Murphy is always with me, his rod and his staff they torment me.

But ohhhh, I was pissed at that squirrel. And I have other propane bottles**. So yeah, I stupidly took the stupid shot. And yeah, I missed the squirrel. But I didn’t miss the shot – the bullet went right where I aimed, and I have a hole in a sandbag to prove it.

The squirrel literally disappeared before my eyes. I don’t know if it went forward, or back, or into another space/time continuum, or where it went. I was looking right at it – shooting right at it – and it simply disappeared.

So I set the live trap again. I knew this was futile. The squirrel has that trap’s number, setting the trap for this squirrel is tantamount to helpfully feeding the squirrel. But I did it anyway.

And this morning the trap was tripped. But of course the squirrel is not the only rodent in the desert…
Yeah. Packrat.

But I’m gonna get that squirrel. It’s long since a matter of principle.

*”Joel magically becomes a very bad pistol shot in the presence of this particular squirrel.”

**No, propane bottles only explode when shot by movie action heroes. Schwarzenegger can do it. Mark Wahlberg can do it. But you can’t. It’s like that with airliner windows, too.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to The Bulletproof Squirrel

  1. Ben says:

    I’m betting that your squirrel nemesis isn’t actually supernatural. Since it’s only human, eventually it will screw up at the wrong time, or (like a cat) it will run out of lives/luck.

    Perseverance will eventually pay.

  2. Unclezip says:

    Jackrabbits will actually duck when you shoot at them. I think it’s the muzzle flash.

  3. MamaLiberty says:

    Don’t know about that, Unclezip… but I know rabbits can learn from the experience of others… somehow. I set up my wood pile to be a bullet backstop, and shot quite a few rabbits that came into that nice cozy shelter… until they stopped coming. I put out peanuts and other stuff, and shot a few more. Now… nada. No matter what I put out there, the rabbits won’t come. At least not in the daylight when I’m up. The deer got all the last peanuts, but no rabbits. (Sure wish I could shoot at least ONE of the damned deer! My freezer is about empty.) Mega sigh

  4. jed says:

    I’m going to name your squirrel “Neo”.

    This reminds me of a trick shooting challenge a friend of mine mentioned to me. The trick target is Necco wafers hung on a string. I don’t know how one accomplishes attaching said wafers to the string. The challenge is to shoot them with a .22. The trick is that you have to use subsonic ammo, because the shock wave pushes the wafer out of the path of the bullet. I have never tried this.

  5. MJR says:

    I have a feeling that the squirrel is a rodent version of Captain James T Kirk which makes you…

  6. Joel says:

    I dunno, MJR. I don’t talk like that. I don’t have a blond mullet. But I do really want that squirrel dead and my pecs do look exactly like that, so maybe yeah.

  7. R. Brown says:

    Wil E. Coyote vs Road Runner. Joel vs Squirrel. Just saying.

  8. Joel says:

    In the next exciting episode, I will catch the squirrel by duct-taping myself to a rocket! What could possibly go wrong?

  9. Howard says:

    I keep blaming missed squirrels on bullets being deflected by spruce twigs . Maybe they really are dodging.

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