The Last Frontier

Friday, April 29, 2011

Boys With Slingshots vs. Squirrels

Squirrel on the run
Boys trying to shoot a squirrel with their slingshot while the dog waits for a snack. 

My sons have been busy with their slingshots keeping squirrels out of our cache. I don’t think they’ve hit one yet, but at least they've kept the squirrels on the go. I think we might spend a little time over at The Slingshot Channel blog to see if we can pick up some pointers on good homemade slingshots. He has some neat videos on YouTube that have inspired my sons.

Boys with sling shots
Most years, the squirrels just run around doing their thing and leave our food alone. However, about every three or four years, we seem to get a particularly pushy bunch. They get into our cache and eat their way into 5-gallon buckets of grains, peanut butter, powdered milk and eggs. They eat through plastic totes and make nests with our clothes we’ve stored for the off season. Food (and clothing) is expensive enough in Alaska, but the cost of flying it out here in a chartered bush plane sometimes doubles the cost. When a squirrel, marten or other wild animal gets into our food supply or makes a nest with our winter coats, well . . . . things have gone too far.

Yes, I’ve heard the lame argument that “the poor little animals were there first, and they’re just doing what comes natural to them.” I’m not buying that one. We were here long before any of those animals that are getting into our cache (with properly stored food and clothing) were born. There are thousands of acres of natural food for the wild animals, and only one little cache that’s off limits. Needless to say, the squirrels have kept me busy lately, too, and have provided tasty snacks for the dogs!


  1. Down here we eat 'em. Are they too "piney" up there?

  2. Wait until they are old enough to handle an air rifle safely, then they will be bringing home the bac....squirrel.

  3. Hi George. Several reasons why we don't usually eat them. One of the dogs usually nabs them and runs before I can get to them. (I know, that's my fault for not training him better as a retriever.) Also, Alaska red squirrels are the scrawniest things! We don't have refrigeration to store them until I get enough to cook. Hardly worth messing with just one. If we didn't have any other meat, I certainly would, though.

  4. Hi Le Loup. I didn't see your comment at first. Yes! I was thinking the same thing! When we were in town, I looked for a pellet rifle for them, but couldn't find one they could handle. We settled for a little BB gun. Still closely supervised, though.

  5. I wrote you a long comment, but couldn't post it :-(
    I love your posts.

  6. I have a friend of mine who had rounded up a few 30 gal. metal barrels and put them in his cache and stored stuff in them. They sure can be pesky at times. I remember one time, 3 squirrels found a way into my cabin,what a time getting them out. Finally I bought a pellet gun and evicted them.

  7. We don't have those varmits but we have mice/voles etc by the thousands. Got a few cats and they have put the hurt on. Plus it will keep down the rattlesnakes because they have no holes to climb into! When my hubby was a kid they used to get a bounty for them but then that was the good ole'days! Around here in the Spring the farmers put out (on the late snow) poison cabbage...
    Have fun boys!

  8. Hi-

    Love to read your blog. I really admire the way you live, and recently ordered some things from Lehman's to be able to do laundry the low-tech way that you do. :-) Kist thought you might be interested in this website:
    These beautiful slingshots are made by a good friend, and are really well made. Just in case you're looking! Have a great day.

    Calina in New York

  9. The squirrels around here are also a nuisance. Some days I'd just like to get out my .22 and take care of them, but my neighbors wouldn't like that. The varmints (not my neighbors, the squirrels) totally stole everything I grew last year (or attempted to grow) in my garden. They are nothing but rats with furry tails. Blech.

  10. We are fighting chicken and duck eating coyotes......2 years ago it was racoons. Seems like there is always a critter being a pest.

  11. So good to see the kids enjoying themselves, great post!

  12. teresa from maineMay 4, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    I know packing several fabric softener sheets in boxes of clothes keeps the mice out - maybe it'd work with squirrels?

  13. My seven year old son just bought his first slingshot. He needs quite a bit of practice before he could shoot anything that might move, though. We don't have squirrels on our bit of the Range, but we do have an exploding bunny population. It would certainly be nice to cull it a little without using ammunition.

  14. OMG, I have to share my squirrels-in-the-suburbs tale with you...I know it's August and you wrote this in May, but this one takes the cake.

    We had a critter in our attic, right above our bedroom window. By the sound of it, I thought it was a raccoon (everything sounds REAL loud at 3am). So we called the animal trapper folks who serve our area, and the guy came out and climbed around the roof and peeked in the attic (it's so blown full of insulation foam, you can't walk in it...was like that when we bought the place). He said he was certain it was not a coon, and was probably a squirrel. Said we should sit outside the house and watch the entry hole (which he found) at dusk, and we'd probably see the critter. He was right...we watched it go in.

    So, once we confirmed that to him, he came back out and put a trap on our roof right by the entry hole. No bait in it, he said it would attract every squirrel around and we would likely not trap our squirrel.

    Here's the kicker: he said that if and when we trap our squirrel, if it was a lactating female, they would have to go in through our bedroom ceiling (which is vaulted and painted with a texturized finish, so the whole ceiling would need re-finishing afterward, and the brand new window is cutting into it all would be about a $5,000 - $7,000 repair job afterward)...go in through our bedroom ceiling to "rescue" the babies so they could then drive the mama squirrel and her family at least 10 miles away and release them together. It's the law. Oh, how I wished I could sit in my driveway with a rifle and just shoot the thing!!! Suburban gotta love it.

    PS: Squirrel was too smart for the trap, thank God! Now he/she/it is gone, and we're gonna try to close up that point in the window casing and hope he/she/it doesn't return for the winter. No way are we letting anyone carve up our house to "rescue" the little baby squirrels...good grief.


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