Red Ryder Pest Control

 My current pest problem involves a tree rat that legally I can’t shoot.  Living in the city my options are limited for protecting my garden from Tippy, the random digging drunken squirrel.  Since I am at work most of the day I come home after eight hours to find odd patterns of holes dug into my garden.  What is more annoying is when I place the dirt back into the holes only to have them dug up again the next day.

 “Hey squirrel, there was nothing their yesterday.  You are wasting your time today.”  

 The squirrel doesn’t listen and doesn’t care. I have tried several options.  Blowgun, BB gun, and cat have been my common go to weapons against this fur ball.

 The blowgun I received from a friend many years ago.  Long thin metal darts fly out of the plastic tube and land in the buttocks of said furry tailed fur ball.  While the squirrel is startled and pissed off it still runs away while I’m reloading.  It runs under he fence and removes the dart that I’m never able to retrieve.  Human 1/ squirrel 1.  

 The BB gun has a better turn out.  The bottle with 1000 BB means I won’t run out of darts like I did with the blow gun.  Cranking the lever action handle means I can fire several times before the squirrel reaches the fence and avoids my shots.  What I learned early on was to shoot the fence creating the loud “crack” scarring the squirrel from behind the fence.  This cocky little rodent loves to climb up the back of the fence and mock me before climbing a telephone pole and disappearing.  This hasn’t always worked out for Tippy.  While raining down fire from my bedroom window Tippy ran to the fence as he always does.  He pops up the same spot and I nail him in the buttocks sending him flying into the alley to escape the next shot.  What Tippy and I didn’t expect was the car driving down the alley that had a squirrel rain down onto it’s windshield causing it to slam on the breaks.  

 Tippy slid and ran across the glass to the tree trunk across the alley and climbing to safety, but not before the driver opened the door and said, “What the fuck. Did you see that shit. Fucking squirrels be crazy over here.”

 Round 2: Human 1/ squirrel 0.

 My third attempt to limit the squirrel problem was to let the neighborhood cats use the backyard as a sanctuary.  My yard is completely fenced in and offers the cats a place to sleep and hunt when they can’t do that elsewhere.  I never scared them off and many have become accustomed to having me working in the yard while they are there.  I don’t bother them, they don’t bother me.  The squirrel during that time avoids my yard at all cost.  The cats had tried to catch him on the few occasions I witnessed.  Last summer it wasn’t uncommon to find feathers and wings in the garden.  It didn’t make me happy to know that the birds were being thinned out, but it was a small price to pay for a garden that was allowed to function and grow.  

 Round 3: Human 1/ Squirrel 0

 The best options I found were the Red Ryder BB gun and the neighborhood cats.  The cats aren’t around yet this year so I’m stuck checking my windows often to catch Tippy running around vandalizing the yard.  I can’t say it isn’t fun.  It keeps my aim accurate for small game season when it comes around again in September.  If Tippy only knew how lucky he was compared to so many of his cousins.  

Matthew Gilman can be contacted on his author Facebook page and found on Twitter.

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