Hopefully the California ground squirrels who have been driving us nutty have an Internet connection and read my blog.
Because if they do, they'll realize that this mild-mannered PETA-applauding animal-loving long-time vegetarian has been driven over the "aren't they cute?" edge into a kill the bastards! dark hole.
This is a photo of a non-natural born killer who has been reluctant to send your furry little souls to squirrel heaven, but was driven to this extreme by all the destructive digging you've been doing around the foundation of our house and garage.
This model could be overkill for our needs, so to speak, but I decided to spend a few extra bucks in order to get...
-- An air rifle called "Varmint Hunter." Scary name, isn't it squirrels? (if you're still reading this post and haven't high-tailed it back south to Malibu)
-- A scope that features an attached laser and flashlight. I have no idea why I need these things, since I don't plan to shoot at night, but they give the rifle an added dose of deadly coolness.
-- A 1200 feet per second pellet velocity with GAMO's PBA pellets, 50 of which came with the rifle. The side of the box indicates "supersonic" at this speed. Sounds desirable, though I doubt a squirrel could hear a pellet coming and duck at a lower pellet velocity.
I only have a couple of problems to deal with before squirrel bodies litter our south Salem yard.
One, I'm not a great shot, since I haven't ever owned a real rifle -- just had a pellet and BB gun back when I was a kid, but that (obviously) was a long time ago.
We're trying to find some bales of hay to serve as back-up for practicing purposes. I just ordered a pleasingly realistic target that, when the California ground squirrels see it in use, should further quicken their exodus back to the Sunshine State.
Two, for some reason we aren't seeing any ground squirrels at the moment.
As soon as I clicked the Amazon "order" button for the air rifle, I figured this would happen, just as annoying noises in a new car always have gone away as soon as I drove it to the dealer's service department to complain.
Laurel trapped a ground squirrel a few days ago, so this is part of the explanation. We've been assuming that there were lots of squirrels doing the digging, since there were so many holes.
But maybe we got the Public Enemy #1 ground squirrel. Regardless, I'm darn confident that this isn't the last we've seen of the pests.
Indeed, I'm almost hoping that this is true, now that the Varmint Rifle is leaning in a corner of our entryway, ready for use now that a neighbor sighted-in the scope for me, which had a decided right-leaning tendency (disturbing, given my progressive tendencies).
Speaking of liberal warmth and fuzziness, I gave up shooting at sentient animal creatures in my pre-teen years when I aimed at a bird in a bush with my pellet gun and, shockingly, killed it.
It fell down, dead. And I felt terrible.
It was a song bird. Not a nuisance. Just a living thing that my kid-brain had decided was fine to convert into a non-living thing. The moment it hit the ground, I'd intuitively realized, not fine.
This helps explain why it's taken me so long to decide that killing the ground squirrels, rather than live-trapping them (which is difficult to do, though we've gotten eight or so), is the way to go.
Hypocrisy is what caused the Varmint Hunter Air Rifle to be delivered by UPS. My hypocrisy.
We've been urging our dog to chase the squirrels and kill them. When we were out of town for a while, we invited a friend who hunts to come over with his own air rifle and knock some off. He said he got one. We were pleased.
I've been happy to have the squirrels killed. I just didn't want to do it myself, so I could continue to tell myself, "I don't kill animals." That's hypocritical.
Here's a video about the Varmint Hunter rifle. It seems to be a quality product, based on my one day's use. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to "plink" at a target, even (or especially) when it isn't alive.
Ground squirrels, be warned: move out before my shooting skills improve.