Thursday, April 07, 2005

My Own Private Vietnam

When I was a wee-one living in Hampton, Nh we always had bird feeders in the back yard. It was kind of cool getting to see all the various species of birds up close and in their element.

Even better was watching my retarded cat Bo (short for Bo Diddley) being continually dive-bombed by pissed off mourning doves after he would unsuccessfully try to catch one. It was funny as hell. They would line up and attack him one after the other. We also had a bird feeder that was attached to the outside of our kitchen window with suction cups. When a bird would land on it, Bo would sit on the counter trying to stalk the bird all nice and quiet with his tail twitching ever so slightly and then BAM!!! He would make his move by leaping at the bird and smashing headfirst into the glass. The best part about it always was that he would walk away acting all cool like he meant to do it. Good times.

Anyways, a couple of years ago I decided that it might be cool to get some bird feeders and put them on our back porch so the kids (and myself) could watch them in the winter.

I rigged up a couple of feeders, bought some seed and sat back waiting for the birds to arrive.

It didn't take long. Within a couple of days we had several different species of birds coming in on a regular basis. Everything was going fine until one morning after stumbling downstairs, I saw the ultimate scourge of all bird feeders....the dreaded grey squirrel.

At first, I figured that I would just bang on the glass doors and they would run away. I don't mind feeding them as long as they stay on the ground. No problem, right? Well, that lasted all of two hours before they realized that they weren't going to be hurt, so they would just stare at me for a second and then go back about their business of destroying my bird feeders.

I tried opening the door to spook them with my ghastly mug. That worked for a couple of days until they (once again) realized that nothing of harm was going to happen to them.

I tried yelling and screaming for a few more days until I realized that my neighbors must really think that I had gone insane. I can just hear them now...

"Honey, that crazy boy next door is outside in his underwear screaming at the trees again."

Something had to be done and it had to be done immediately.

Oh, I know! My son has a BB gun. I'll do like my grandfather used to do and shoot them in the ass a few times. That'll scare them away for sure! He said that worked for him. (He was probably trying to spare my feelings since I was so young and killed them every chance that he got)

Well, it wasn't until I had shot the same squirrel in the ass four times during one morning that I realized that something more drastic needed to be done.

Now, in my defense, I'm not a bad guy. I had tried to be nice to the squirrels. I even went so far as to put out seed just for them, but they would walk right over it (while sneering at it in contempt), jump on one of my feeders and start emptying it. They were openly mocking me now. I knew that they knew that I knew that they knew that I knew it. It was definitely a war of intellect and they were (obviously) winning handily.

I thought of when I was a child and my stepfather had put chicken wire on one of the feeders in our yard while attaching jumper cables to it. When a squirrel jumped on it, he hooked jumper cables up to a car battery. That was always good for a quick laugh, but it never hurt or deterred the little bastards. They just kept on coming right back.

One afternoon, while walking through the local sporting goods store with Daddy Cod and all the while lamenting about my troubles with the 7 tree-rats that had so rudely violated my bird feeders that morning, it struck me! Well, it didn't actually strike me, I tripped over the display in the aisle, but still...

A pellet gun! Yeah, that's it! I'll get a good quality spring piston, single cock pellet gun! Something with a little more oomph then Jr Cod's little pump-up one. A Beeman R9 to be precise. All the squirrel stopping power that you will ever need. I was done fucking around now.


Now, let me preface this next part for all you hippie-tree hugging-animal loving bastards out there. I have a hunting license and have been through all of the safety courses. Not only that, none of the squirrels went to waste. If you don't want to read about dead tree-rats, leave now and don't come back.


Now I was ready.

I broke the gun out as soon as I got home and went about sighting it in. I was immediately impressed with the weapon. I had never shot and/or seen a pellet gun with such accuracy! I was putting pellets through the same hole at 25 yards while free standing. That's damn good for a pellet gun.... and for me as well.

Damn, I couldn't wait until the next morning....

Well, morning broke and I was ready for the little pricks. Unfortunately, they were ready for me as well. It was almost like they knew what was coming. Why would they immediately scatter now at my sight when before I could bellow like a elephant with his nuts caught in a thorn bush and they would just stare at me? Did they have a spy in the Cod God's household? I'll have to question the kids later.

After a few long distance shots that just hit ass-fur, I knew that I needed a new strategy if I were to rectify the situation.


One freezing cold morning after the kids had gone off to school and I had run off a minimum of 12 rats-with-fluffy-tails, I had an epiphany! I'd leave one of the windows open upstairs and whenever I saw one through the glass doors, I would silently creep upstairs into on of the bedrooms and off him.

Let's just say that it worked like a charm. They were going down quicker than Starr Jones' husband in a men's room. The old freezer at the Cod mansion was filling up quite quickly. I think that my best day was 7 "eliminated".

Of course, there were a few hiccups along the way. Like the time that I dropped one, went outside to pick it up and my cute neighbor was out back walking her dog. She saw me, gave me a big smile and a enthusiastic "Hi!".... until I turned around and she saw the dead squirrel in my hand. They moved out shortly after that.

That first winter I bagged 36 of the little tree rats, but, and there is always a but, there was one that I could just never seem to get.

Call me Captain Ahab because this one was my white whale.

I ended up nick-naming him "diamond" due to the patch of brown hair on his back that formed a perfect diamond. It really was a cool looking patch, but I think that it gave him superpowers or something. Several times I had clear shots at him and for some reason or another, I would always miss. I remember one time in particular when I had him dead to rites (for lack of a better term) at about 30 feet and I missed him completely! It wasn't even close and I couldn't believe it! Not only that, but he didn't immediately
run away so I took another shot....another miss. What the hell was going on? I had never once missed from that range, much less twice. It had to have been some sort of mystical beast. Maybe the ghost of squirrels past coming back to haunt me? What made it even more galling for me was that he was from the original batch of squirrels that had taunted me for months before I had bought the pellet gun (now affectionately known as "The Equalizer") and he was the only one still eating me out of house and home.

Well, one morning he was a little too cocky for his own good. He was yet again sitting there on the railing of my porch while eating my bird seed laughing at me with his eyes. He saw me pick up the gun and aim at him but it's like he knew I was going to miss again. But this time I didn't. I have to tell you, I almost felt like throwing a party to celebrate or marching around with his head on a stick but my therapist electro-shocked that thought right out of my head at "Anti-Squirrel Therapy".

After that, I kept the squirrel population under control but I never had the determination of that first year. In fact, this year I only had to bag 2, and one was by accident. Maybe I'm getting soft, I don't know.

What I have now is a multi-step process for the little shits...

Step 1- bang on the glass and scare them away.... they get 3 of those

Step 2- have Emmy-Cod open the door and yell at them....they get 3 of those as well

Step 3- the pellet gun comes out, but only to shoot them in the never draws any blood and I have found that it is a good deterrent.... they also get three of those...sometimes more

Step 4- as The Loudmouths song about the Tunnel Rats says...."Aim for the head!"...but lately I don't feel like going out there, picking them up and having to deal with them, so I usually just keep referring back to Step 3

I know, I'm a pussy....but, oh well. If they were seagulls, there would be NO MERCY!!!

Quickly...On a related note, when some of my neighbors found out what I was doing they were outraged, just plain outraged! How could you hurt such a cute little creature? That was until they were kept up at night by the squirrels chewing through their walls. Then they were offering to buy me more pellets for the gun and offering me bottles of booze for every one that I killed.

Just thought that I'd mention it.


At 7:28 PM, Blogger B-Face said...

I was at Daddy Cod's compound one day when he spotted a limb-rat out on one of Granny-Cod's bird feeders. He opted to let me take the shot, perhaps to test my mettle and see if I'd changed that much since I was a wee-face. He gave me the bb-gun (keep in mind this was a deterrent shot, not intended for elimination, hence the bb-gun) and told me that it pulls SEVERELY to the right, and that's more and more exaggerated the further away you are from the target. This thing was like 40 feet away. I eased it up....reeeeeal slow, and POW! Hit him right on his butt. The thing disappeared into the woods. Daddy-Cod was so impressed he gave me a bottle of whiskey. He flat-out could not believe I made the shot with such an inferior weapon. I wisely opted not to attempt to repeat the feat, nor to tell him I was absolutely guessing at the pull of the gun, and that it was ENTIRELY luck That I was even within 8 feet of the vermin. I left quickly with my bottle of bourbon, snickering. Always quit while you're ahead, folks. It works in the backwoods of NH just as well as it does at the poker tables of Las Vegas.

Speaking of luck, Cod, tell your story of the baseball game in the Driscoll's field with your brand-new aluminum bat.

At 9:13 PM, Blogger Wheel Gun Bob said...

A message to all: Put on The Doors "The End" and have it playing while you read this blog.

At 11:50 PM, Blogger B-Face said...


At 12:49 AM, Blogger Phydeauxs99 said...

A tale of epic proportion. Clever anologies. I laughed. I cried. I got some popcorn.

Any way. Clever story. I had the same problems with squirrels. I eventually put up owl perches in my trees.

Owls equal no squirrels. Seeing an owl get a squirrel is quite amusing.

I also had my friend bring his hawk. yes i have a friend with a hunting falcon. He is odd but.

In closing, good story.

At 2:48 PM, Blogger The Cod God said...

Funny that you should mention falconry. I just saw a show about it last night. It looks pretty damn cool. I would like to see it in person...especially when they knock other birds out of the air.

I do have an owl decoy that goes in tandem with my crow decoys but if I ever put it out the neighborhood hoodlums would make off with it.

Then I would have to hunt them down and that would be opening a whole other can of worms.
Their parents usually frown on me crawling across their roof in full camo at 2am for a $10 plastic owl.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger The Cod God said...

Bob, I'm not going crazy. My shrink says so.

Although, he was caught a bit off guard when I recently showed up clothed in squirrel skins from head to toe and had painted whiskers on my face.

Hey, everyone falls off the wagon every now and then.



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