Grey Squirrel Cull

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Wander

Nomad
Jan 6, 2017
416
400
Here There & Everywhere
A timely thread.
We've had a problem in the garden with a particularly determined squirrel for some time.
I tried trapping it but all it ever did was move around the trap.
I bought an air pistol to shoot the thing - couldn't get close enough to get a decent shot.

Then this morning, on a whim, I set the trap with some chestnuts I collected yesterday.
I thought no more of it and went and had a bath.
I came down and decided to load up the bird table.

And there I saw t - the squirrel. In the trap!

My original intention, on capturing it, was to shoot the thing at point blank range.
But I saw him in there and I couldn't. I wanted to, and God only knows he deserved it after all the damage he'd caused. But I just couldn't.

So I took him for a drive a few miles down the road and set him free in some woods.
Yeah, I know that what I did was actually illegal - if you trap a grey squirrel you are legally obliged to kill it. But I couldn't.
I think it was just the 'up close and personal' nature of it, because I've taken a few pot shots from a distance at the thing.

I'd be glad to see less of the things, but not sure it'd be me who pulls the trigger.
 

slowworm

Native
May 8, 2008
1,035
129
Devon
The theory is that squirrels damage trees and the eventual wound that is left creates a hole that is suitable for bird nesting rather than the squirrel digging the actual hole. This can be from stripping bark from tree limbs that then die, fall off and rip a hole in the trunk or from early trunk damage that heals badly as the tree grows and eventually rots away to leave a hole. If they kill a tree that then stands as dead wood they're enabling woodpeckers to find a suitable rotting tree to dig out their nests in. All theory as I said as it's probably very hard to point to a tree and say what originally caused the damage that lead to a hole being created.
I've been thinking about this, especially as I've been cutting back yet another badly squirrel damaged tree today, and I'm not sure how much help greys are. From my experience squirrel damage is fairly easy to spot and I don't recall seeing any holes caused by it. The bark often tends to grow back and if the tree is lucky it carries on growing but with deformed timber. Usually the squirrels round here damage the trees each year and that causes the tree to become stunted and sometimes die. Branches do indeed fall but I've not seen any create holes in the trunks. Greys will often target younger trees preventing the tree getting to a decent size to provide good nesting habitat for birds I'd have thought.

At the end of the day though the birds got on fairly well before greys were introduced.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,298
1,391
McBride, BC
Most of our woodpecker species are really territorial. Food and nesting opportunities are non-starters. And, huge territories.
All that means is that they were useless against Mountain Pine Beetle infestations.

Instead of "cull," why not use the word "crop?" Local extirpation does not solve your problem at all.
So, come up with a list of "squirrel" products and go to market.
Paleo wood carving tools from their teeth.

Squirrel hair makes some very good quality watercolor paint brushes, judging by the price.
Where is the hair coming from for the brushes in this day and time?
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,505
1,629
S. Lanarkshire
Yes, it's an island; So is Hawaii (and yours is a much, much, much bigger island) If a species is prolific enough, it'll continue no matter what (they're still trying to control the invasive brown tree snakes in Hawaii)
Grey squirrels aren't snakes though; they're not known for being anything but active. Even in Winter they don't 'hibernate' for long. There is the other point too, we are an urbanised country, we can isolate pockets of woodlands, of the squirrels, and slowly clear them out. We don't really do jungles, and the grey squirrel much prefers suburbia when it gets the chance.

M
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,298
1,391
McBride, BC
Their mobility is unquestioned. If you knock them down in one district, that just opens up more and unoccupied territory.
Put a financial bounty on the tails. Never worry about bag limits or population sizes. Find uses for them.

I watched it happen in the city. The neighbors had an endless supply of squirrels. Maybe a month squirrel-free at times?
Like you have the British version of the cane toads!
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,505
1,629
S. Lanarkshire
They only breed twice in each year. Get them at the right time and you stop the population recovering and it can be slowly decimated (literally).
If the reservoir populations are culled, then those in less favourable (food and climate wise) areas where they breed in fewer numbers anyway, will clear out in time too.
But, and it's an enormous but, the reservoir areas where they breed in more than replacement sized litters, is in suburbia.

M
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,257
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Britain or Europe will never get rid of the unwanted species. Too many people will be against an extermination.

Look on the Japsnese knotweed problem. It can be exterminated by spraying and cutting. Yes, it will take a weekly effort for a couple of years. But it can be done.
Yet it is spreading.
 
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,257
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Doing that is old fashined ethics. Do not waste.

I wonder if Red Squirrels taste similar?

And rats?

No, I am not trolling. I have tried most meats that exist in Europe you can think of. Plus most African game. Except insects, rats, elephant, rhino.

I must have a forefather that was Chinese.
 

Adze

Native
Oct 9, 2009
1,874
0
Cumbria
www.adamhughes.net
I must have a forefather that was Chinese.
More likely French ;)

Red squirrels are a 'least concern' species according to the IUCN. Local genetic diversity notwithstanding, there's nothing wrong with eating them, just ensure your personal harvest is a sustainable one. In the UK the sustainable harvest of reds would be a zero harvest.
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,413
883
63
Florida
They only breed twice in each year. Get them at the right time and you stop the population recovering and it can be slowly decimated (literally).
If the reservoir populations are culled, then those in less favourable (food and climate wise) areas where they breed in fewer numbers anyway, will clear out in time too.
But, and it's an enormous but, the reservoir areas where they breed in more than replacement sized litters, is in suburbia.

M
Yeah, they're mostly active here too; and yeah, their hibernation is really more of a few days nap. All that said, their breeding is best described as voracious! Maybe you can stop the population from recovering, but you're gonna have to a lot better than "decimating" them. Harvesting one out of every 10 isn't really much of a kill at all.
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,413
883
63
Florida
Doing that is old fashined ethics. Do not waste.

I wonder if Red Squirrels taste similar?

And rats?

No, I am not trolling. I have tried most meats that exist in Europe you can think of. Plus most African game. Except insects, rats, elephant, rhino.

I must have a forefather that was Chinese.
I can't speak for the species you're trying to compare it too, but from the different species of squirrels I've tried here, they all taste similar but different (if that makes sense) Larger Fox Squirrels (no longer legal to hunt) used to be a similar taste to their smaller Grey cousins but definitely meatier and tougher. Kinda like comparing rabbits to hares.
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,413
883
63
Florida
Their mobility is unquestioned. If you knock them down in one district, that just opens up more and unoccupied territory.
Put a financial bounty on the tails. Never worry about bag limits or population sizes. Find uses for them....
The fishing lure company, Mepps, has been paying for squirrel tails since before I was born. They used to use the hair for fly tying. Not sure if they still do or not.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,505
1,629
S. Lanarkshire
Yeah, they're mostly active here too; and yeah, their hibernation is really more of a few days nap. All that said, their breeding is best described as voracious! Maybe you can stop the population from recovering, but you're gonna have to a lot better than "decimating" them. Harvesting one out of every 10 isn't really much of a kill at all.
Litters of two at a time are common enough here. In suburbia three seems to be more prevalent.
One in ten take out, time after time after time, reduces numbers pretty effectively. It needs to be a determined, consistent effort though.
Alan posted a short video recently of our local woodlands, we have an enormous variety of deciduous trees.
http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=147164&highlight=Alan,+home
In Winter the leaves fall and the greys are easily spotted.
We still have reds here, not many but they are still here. If the greys are culled, then the reds have more chance of raising offspring.
On the whole I think we'd prefer the reds.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,505
1,629
S. Lanarkshire
If i see ten squirrels i'm not leaving nine of em!!! :lmao:
Practical man :D

It was the 'decimate' bit. BR once got on a rant to me about it being a horrendously offensive word, since it literally meant that one man in ten in a regiment that lost a battle was killed for not winning. In it's modern meaning though, it does slowly reduce numbers very effectively of pest species :)

M