Looking Back 7, Part One:Nuisance Animals We've Had to Deal With Over the Years

| 7/27/2015 12:21:00 PM

Mosquito Mountain Montana HomesteadOur homestead adventure began with a war on pack rats and expanded from there. The property we purchased had a couple of existing buildings and after humans had abandoned them they became home for local wildlife. The most tenacious of these were the pack rats.

photo three

We used standard .22 cal. cartridges (on the right) when shooting outside but switched to .22 cal. shot-shells for indoor shooting (on the left with crimped tops).

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I'd seen pack rats and knew their propensity to defile everything that they came into contact with. We had no traps at the time so we used .22 caliber, rim fire shot-shells. The shot shells are loaded with a small amount of number 12 shot. The good things about them are that they have very little penetration and a very low chance of ricocheting so we felt safe firing them inside sheds and other places. The bad things about them are that they are close range only and they do not extract well from most 22 rifles. Thus we had to do some creative planning to hunt them.

I already mentioned a couple of the pack rats in the first installment of this series. Now I want to tell of our continuing efforts to eradicate these pests.

photo oneFirst we pulled all of the drywall and insulation from the shack on our property. This denied the pack rats places to hide and build nests. We had a few "shootouts" while working at the shack involving moving pack rats and handguns. One time a rat began running along the upper wall of the shack. Every time it got to a rafter it would duck under and around it then run over the wall's top plate to the next rafter. Each time it ran across a top plate my wife would fire at it with her .357 Magnum. After five shots she was out of ammo so I began shooting at it with my .44 Magnum. It made the mistake of stopping, and I got it with my second shot. Of course the sound was deafening inside the building and it took three days for the ringing to subside in my ears, but the rat was dead.

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