A Moral Dilemma

  • Hey Guest, For sale we have Hultafors Outdoor Knives with Firesteel PLEASE LOOK HERE for more information or use the Pay Now button in the sidebar

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
7,576
1,587
47
Exeter
A moral dilemma:



I used to enjoy the thrill of the hunt and that short surge of adrenaline that flows when I was looking down the sights or swinging the shotgun to follow a bird. But no longer; I no longer enjoy the process.
 

Wander

Settler
Jan 6, 2017
721
895
Here There & Everywhere
I can sympathise with this dilemma - been there myself.

We had lots of squirrels on land and something had to be done.
The thought of killing them occurred to me. But I just couldn't.
Not least because it would have been a lengthy task to sit there with a gun or something all day taking a pop each time one showed itself.

So I set traps.
Caught loads. It proved surprisingly easy to trap them.
But then what to do?
As someone mentioned above, it is actually illegal in the UK to release a live grey squirrel - you are legally obliged to despatch them.
But I couldn't.
Sorry, I couldn't.

I took them very far away and released them. Judge me all you want.

However, what I then discovered was just how utterly futile the exercise was. I thought I'd seriously reduced the numbers.
But no.
There seemed to be no end.
As one group were removed another group moved in.
And the same would happen with killing them.

Which means I don't have a answer, just commiserations.
The tough bit is, you just can't win in this situation. Either you are going to feel bad for killing them, you are going to have to break the law by releasing them, or you are going to have to take the damage they make if you can't do one of the other two.
I suppose you just have to decide what will affect you the least.
But I would say that you won't get rid of them. They will come back.
Sorry.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Broch and TeeDee

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,109
4,455
Mid Wales
Thanks for your thoughts and feedback guys; and thanks for the total lack of disparaging remarks

It sounds as though a few of you that have hunted understand my position. I think, if you’ve never looked at a live animal down a rifle scope, you would have difficulty understanding why I’m questioning my actions. When you see that bright black eye, watching you in total innocence, and the exquisite way the fur or feathers form around the body…. It’s hard to take the shot when you really don’t have to. As Mark Twain said: “If you have to swallow a frog, don't stare at it too long.”

I have never asked anybody to do a job that I’m not prepared to do myself; if it has to be done, I will do it. As I said, it will be my penance.

In my opinion, the whole subject of protecting birds by shooting the squirrels is very complex. Many wild birds are doing very well. Finches are on steep declines because of bacterial infection not squirrel predation – not at all helped by us humans making them congregate at feeders for our own entertainment. We have reduced natural songbird predators, and, to some extent, squirrels are filling that void. As for the trees, squirrels help age woodland by causing tree damage resulting in decayed, standing, dead wood with nesting sites. Too much of our woodland is even-aged youngish growth that supports less wildlife. So, as you can see, my dilemma does not have a ‘one way is right’ solution.

There is no legal requirement to control grey squirrels as vermin in the UK. This is partly because it is now recognised that shooting and trapping will not eradicate them; the void is quickly filled by population expansion from neighbouring areas. The proposed process of oral contraception is the agreed way forward and is undergoing extensive testing at the moment before general application.

As for method: using a firearm to shoot into the trees is considered very bad practice on this overcrowded island; it’s impossible to predict where a .22LR round would end up if it nicked a branch or travelled straight through the canopy. I used to have a .22 short that was ideal for rabbit (my Grandfather’s Remington Speedmaster) but now I only have long rifle. I have more appropriate weapons though: 410 and 12gauge shotguns and a selection of .22 air rifles.

Anyway, I’ve got to make a decision in days because they will be starting to breed again soon!
 

Tengu

Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
11,482
807
48
Wiltshire
Its ok to change, we all change as we get older.

Famed hunters such as Corbett and Andrews lost interest as they aged.

If you are worried about your birds then find a young person to have fun with the greys.
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
7,576
1,587
47
Exeter
I must admit , since i learned Pigeons mate for life even although I like the Meat I can't quite bring myself to pulling the trigger anymore.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Broch

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
7,576
1,587
47
Exeter
Yep, but to balance that, woodpigeons have increased by over 1,000% since the 80's - it's not easy is it? :)

No. But when I look into my garden and see a solitary Pigeon on a branch my mind wanders a little.
 

CLEM

Full Member
Jul 10, 2004
2,275
314
Stourbridge
I think you have a duty ( and I say that with no intended lack of feeling or flippancy either ) to slot them at every opportunity that presents itself. They do not belong here, they are an invasive species that does a huge amount of damage to native fauna and flora. I also hear there very tasty. If I lived closer I’d gladly dust off the old faithful Webley vermin wollop’er and lend you a hand. Helping the environment, practicing some skills and a free feed what’s not to like there really.
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
7,576
1,587
47
Exeter
I think you have a duty ( and I say that with no intended lack of feeling or flippancy either ) to slot them at every opportunity that presents itself. They do not belong here, they are an invasive species that does a huge amount of damage to native fauna and flora. I also hear there very tasty. If I lived closer I’d gladly dust off the old faithful Webley vermin wollop’er and lend you a hand. Helping the environment, practicing some skills and a free feed what’s not to like there really.

I'm happy to offer the same if you need it. A friendly gun.
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,615
1,554
Bedfordshire
If you were closer to my part of the world I would have offered too.

I most certainly do appreciate the conflict of feelings, looking at a living creature and then taking that life. I don't know whether it is just age, or fewer opportunities to become de-sensitized. I had not heard that Twain quote, but have thought about just that idea on the subject of hunting.

While it is often said that it is pointless to shoot or trap squirrels in an area because others move in, I have seen with my own eyes that it does make a difference. One of my parents' neighbours, now long dead, used to trap and relocate squirrels, Over the years she trapped hundreds. When she stopped, the local population increased noticeably. Later, when I was commissioned to shoot a few, it would take months before one saw more in the area. This last year I was asked not to shoot any as it was suggested that people might be benefitting from seeing wildlife during lockdown. We will see what the numbers are like come autumn.

Best of luck Broch!

Chris

PS.
Interesting reading on bird numbers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CLEM

oldtimer

Full Member
Sep 27, 2005
2,649
1,188
79
Oxfordshire and Pyrenees-Orientales, France
The important thing is that the conclusion you reach will be the result of thought, reflection and evaluating available advice. The decision on which you base action will the best possible given the current knowledge available. You will therefore have acted morally even if later knowledge shows another course of action would have been better.

Personally, I share your values. Lacking a powerful enough weapon, I find killing a trapped squirrel humanely difficult in practice and now avoid trapping them. I would have no qualms over shooting with the appropriate weapon.
 
  • Love
  • Like
Reactions: Broch and TeeDee

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,615
1,554
Bedfordshire
Nuke 'em from orbit - it's the only way to be sure.
But just as that wouldn't have been good for Hadely's Hope, it wouldn't help Broch much with preserving his trees and birdies!

Also, in my experience, it is only the London Park squirrels that latch on to stationary people like furry face huggers.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: CLEM

Suffolkrafter

Forager
Dec 25, 2019
178
142
Suffolk
Broch, you have quite an armoury. I'm envious!
It seems like you have already concluded that there is no right or wrong answer, or at least not much in it. It also sounds like this is one of those situations where taking no action may be more comfortable or paletable, but no more 'right' than taking action. If that makes sense.
Perhaps remove yourself from the equation theoretically. Supposing you were unable to shoot, lost all your guns or had both arms in plaster casts. Would you then get someone in to do the cull?
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
9,256
2,060
McBride, BC
I don't like to see introduced animal species (without their native checks and balances) introduced into any established ecosystem. I read that your native squirrel is being replaced by this invasive nuisance. .22cal LR and harvest them in a sustained yield fashion for my table. No shotguns. Too noisy and pellets (lead?) flung all over and embedded in the trees. I'd take a little pride in marksmanship.
Plus, I've been trained for so very long to always consider the background to any shot. .22cal shorts are hard to find here and don't load properly. Each cold shot has to be a counter.

I would think a nice savory curry with a plum sauce could be a treat. We can argue about the wines at the table.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,109
4,455
Mid Wales
I don't like to see introduced animal species (without their native checks and balances) introduced into any established ecosystem. I read that your native squirrel is being replaced by this invasive nuisance. .22cal LR and harvest them in a sustained yield fashion for my table. No shotguns. Too noisy and pellets (lead?) flung all over and embedded in the trees. I'd take a little pride in marksmanship.
Plus, I've been trained for so very long to always consider the background to any shot. .22cal shorts are hard to find here and don't load properly. Each cold shot has to be a counter.

I would think a nice savory curry with a plum sauce could be a treat. We can argue about the wines at the table.

Or just have a few to compare ;)
 
  • Love
Reactions: Robson Valley

Hultafors Outdoor knife for Sale

We have a a number of Hultafors Outdoor Knives with Firesteels for sale.

You can see more details here in this thread OUTDOOR KNIVES The price is £27 posted to the UK. Pay via the paypal button below.