Grey Squirrel Cull

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Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
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W.Sussex
Cute as they are, I'm happy to shoot them. As a youngster my next door neighbour and myself were paid by the tail for keeping numbers down in Hotham Park where they were generously fed daily by happy kids.

My nearest forest is Charlton, it's huge, and crop trees. The squirrels gnaw on the upper bark of the Beech trees creating weakness of the branch. While that isn't an immediate problem for the owners and the quality of the timber, it makes walking through the woods a bit dangerous as lower branches fail in rain and wind.

I'm all for survival of the fittest, but Greys are destructive, they can carry Squirrel Pox which is fatal to the Reds, and the bugger that made a home in my loft nearly caused a fire by chewing through cables. They're a blight, prettier than rats, but no better, I'm happy to see them seriously reduced in number.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,505
1,629
S. Lanarkshire
Oh, hard one.
Any cull is going to raise public hackles, especially in suburbia.

I can see good reasons for it, I personally would neither trap or shoot them, but would not interfere with a clean cull.
Half my neighbours would be up in arms (not literally, but the shouting/interference/ill feeling kind I mean) a few would welcome it, and the rest would be apathetic about it.

I think what would help would be if there were more open descriptions of them as vermin. Call them tree rats or the like.

To be honest, they're fun to see running around here. They do raid the bird feeders, and one neighbour's pear tree :rolleyes: and I hate hearing the blackbirds frantic calls when the squirrels herrie their nest, but on the whole they're interesting to spot.....but then, this is now suburbia really, and no longer county rural. Most urbanites don't really see wildlife much.
If it's promoted as making space for the red squirrels to recover, then it might sway more folks too.

Thon Andrew Tyler's spouting a load of mince though, isn't he?

M
 

woodstock

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 7, 2007
3,568
65
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off grid somewhere else
A friend and I were given permission to cull them for the FC. in West Lothian as they along with the magpies were eating the grow tips off the fir trees.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,298
1,391
McBride, BC
Are they introduced or not? One says introduced from the USA, another says they're indigenous.
If they are introduced feral animals and are superior competitors for your native red squirrels, I'm all for it. Tree rats.
Harvest them like a crop. The financial incentive is poorly thought out. Should be a bounty = so much per tail.
Spend my declining days blasting squirrels. A dream come true.

Ought to be rich enough to more than pay for ammo. What do you pay for a brick (500) of .22calLR?

In Saskatchewan, Canada, the bounties ranged from 2 cents to 5 cents in the old days for gopher tails (Richarson's Ground Squirrel.)
One of my summer farm jobs, grandpa paid me in bullets.

Their population has exploded, the bounty has been reindroduced at a much higher return.
Competitions all over the place. If you can't shoot more than 3,500 of them in a year, you have no chance of winning but the money is still good.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,257
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Having lived more than a decade in UK, I chime in.

Yes, I am pro cull. In fact I would love a total eradication of this species, so the Red Squirrel could come back.
If I still lived in UK, yes, I would be more than happy to help.
I would be happy to help in any European country, as the problem with the Eastern Grey Squirrel is Europe wide.

The Eastern Grey Squirrel is a foreign, introduced species that has pushed out the indigenous European Red Squirrel.
 

slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,035
129
Devon
I support culling them as they do so much damage. A couple of years back I started to select the decent young oaks in my woodland to try and prune them to produce some decent timber. Sadly the squirrels have stripped quite a few and have even killed a couple. I would also like to grow some sycamore as a replacement to the ash that might die out but the greys love them too much and kill the small trees off.

I do wonder if the people who don't like the idea of grey squirrel control have any idea how much damage they do.
 

sunndog

Full Member
May 23, 2014
3,444
405
derbyshire
Been actively trying to wipe them out for 20+ years
See robson's comment for details

22lr is out btw mate. Out of trees you're really talking shotgun or air rifle in this country
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,257
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
I recall from my youth that the Red Squirrel was disliked in Sweden as it was said they eat eggs and chicks of wild birds. Not sure if they or the Greys do that?

Any culling/extermination programme of the Greys has to be followed up with a reintroduction ( breeding?) of the Reds.
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,257
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Telegraph forgot to mention this is a part of an EU scheme to eradicate or to stop the spreading of invasive species, be it plants or animals.

Just thinking, what about spreading the animal that loves a Squirrel meal, the marten?
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,257
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
.22 LR single shot rifles were permit free for a long time in Sweden, well before the other guns needed permits. Reason was so the poor folks ( called 'statare', a kind of serfs) working the farms could shoot squirrel for the meat. But as Sweden is large and empty I guess they did not have to think about the residual flightpath?
They got the Red Squirrel of course. And Moose.

I think if this culling will be widely accepted, then the State should explain very carefully to the population the reasons.
Maybe start in the London parks, but then be very quick reintroducing the Reds.

Watching Squirrels is great fun, specially in the spring when the babies start learning.
 

starsailor

feisty celt
I went to a daylong talk/workshop thing last Friday on saving Scotland's red squirrels organised by these folk:

https://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/our-work/our-projects/saving-scotlands-red-squirrels/

Very worthwhile and interesting day. Grey squirrels were introduced to the UK in the late eighteen hundreds.

The problem faced by our reds in the south is now from the greys moving down from the central belt, with the influx from Cumbria having decreased.

There is a programme of trapping going on, but literally very few men on the ground to do it. Squirrel pox is a big problem, loss of habitat and the success of the greys' encroachment.

They will set traps on your land, and you can either dispatch them yourself, get someone in to do it, or they will send someone.

Ongoing research etc into some sort of contraceptive programmes.

So here, there is an ongoing cull; I'm more than happy to leave it to them to undertake it as they know what they're doing, I don't.

I've eaten it once and it was pretty awful............
 
Last edited:
Sep 13, 2017
2
0
Japan
Tons of grey squirrels back home in Minnesota (and a few reds). They’re great. I love to watch them running about. Would hunt them for food, but I think a cull is just an exercise in futility. You can’t turn back the clock.
 

Robbi

Full Member
Mar 1, 2009
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northern ireland

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
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W.Sussex
An air rifle in any calibre is perfect for squirrels, with decent zeroed optics. Much as I'm a fan of .410 and 12 bore, the quiet blip of a suppressed air rifle is better and cheaper.

I don't have any to shoot where I live, I sold my BSA Ultra a while ago. We've a massive Rookery opposite, they have been at Parliament this evening, voices raised and much chat. I'll not shoot them, I've got to really like them and their language and ways.
 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
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W.Sussex
Odd , I tried them and thought they were decent eating. Would be interested to hear if others could envisage them appearing on the menu.
I don't think they'll ever make it onto a pub or restaurant menu, there's a limit, and that limit is pigeon for me. Ben Law lives just a way from me, the bloke that built his sustainable house. He's been shooting the tree rats for years and eating them, but it's not exactly venison.

I quite fancy my favourite Larks Tongues in Aspic for breakfast now. :)