Stop the Squirrel Pot Shots Please

Over this past Summer I have noticed more and more squirrels visiting our feeders showing up with nasty/raw wounds and punctures right above or behind their shoulders where you might expect a target shooter/sniper to aim and fire a B-B or pellet gun site to do the most damage. There are an increasing numbers of these squirrels now along with an amputee, one blinded in one eye, and one shot near an ear that is deformed with paralysis so this particular squirrel has a lop ear making him look like Yoda (Yes we call him Yoda). I know they are attacked or even eaten once in a while by other wild animals no matter how willy or fight aggressively among themselves, but this would only explain some amount of pervasive suffering here we see these days.

We feed Birds and Squirrels here alike all year round and love to watch their antics and notice their different personalities and varied looks. It has been a bleak year for acorns in our backyard ( mostly consisting of Oak Trees) for at least the past two years, so with the drought they appreciate the extra food offered and seem to mingle fine and behave with other birds and chipmunks after the same food source when feeding.

So I ask kindly to anyone taking pot shots at squirrels near the woods/slope between Western Ave and Williams St. to please find another inanimate object to test your skill at, life is tough enough for these animals and if you have to kill them for whatever reason, use a more humane caliber and better aim that will end it so they aren’t maimed for life or disabled trying to survive. Thank you

Comments | 12

  • Be nice to critters

    I remember a couple of decades ago when Cedar Street was lined with really big old trees. Lotsa oak trees and food for birds and squirrels. Their habitat has been decimated in that area since then, as has the amount of shade. It used to be a very cool, refreshing walk down that street with lots of birds and squirrels above.

    We also took to feeding them after a while. One was so friendly that she brought her baby over to me for a peanut.

    I agree that they need to fend for themselves in the wild, and that we humans shouldn’t be adding to their troubles by shooting at them or running them over with cars.

    We had a black squirrel around for a while this spring. Gorgeous little creature. I saw it flat in the road not long after I started seeing it in the yard. I still feel bad for the little thing.

    An aside – I love that thing squirrels do when they stand up and put their paws to their chest, like “me?, me?”

  • Squirrel Abuse

    Yes, that old neighborhood took out yet another big Maple this past summer, maybe posing a threat to house being in a state of decline but this definitely alters the nice shade that used to be provided for sidewalks.
    We had a large black squirrel here only once, but I believe he left his mark as there are a few off spring with very dark coloring, especially around their muzzles looking like they have a 5 o’clock shadow and kind of a smurky/sharky grin and chin. They are chill and less aggressive than some of the other squirrels who occasionally scrap and take chase scaling in a spiral up the large oaks after one another, but that’s what squirrels do to express their virility I guess! Unfortunately for them they can’t outrun a B-B shot or a speeding car!

  • Squirrel personalities

    Several years ago, we bottle-fed a pair of orphaned baby gray squirrels, un-nested after a bad storm. One didn’t make it (bad head injury) but the other recovered from a leg injury, grew and thrived. Never realized just how much personality squirrels had until this long-term exposure, and I’ve watched them with a different understanding ever since. Very expressive tail: we learned that the tail could represent fear, relaxation, excitement, aggression, etc. A favorite activity was to scale his humans in that same spiral, ending on a shoulder or, better yet, if allowed, top of the head.

    • Bushy Tails

      ….noticed tails also provide them protection and the warmth of a blanket from rain and snow when they ark it as a cover draping it over their backs to the tip of their nose., I have seen them fall asleep on a branch in this position with a layer of snow building up looking perfectly comfortable as they dose off. They flinch and twitch their tails signaling in more ways than meets the eye to state their emotion or intention I have yet to figure out and read all the meaning of with the exception of accompanying an obvious, long repetition of warning barks I don’t like the annoying sound of and I guess that’s their point .

  • Great Story

    It’s something I really look forward first thing in the early morning having my coffee, feeding them (they are waiting for me), then watching them park a seat perched on the railing gnawing on nut as they keep an eye on me through my kitchen window just a short distance away so I can see most of their detail. They are so different individually it’s hard not to give them a name that suits their personality or unique features!

  • Good workers, too!

    Our squirrels work for us. Free!

    We have a mix of red and gray squirrels here and they help us with our giant walnut trees. Every other year we get a bumper crop of walnuts covering the ground. Year one I tried to rake them up. Ugh!

    Next time I let the squirrels do the work for me. By spring, the yard was completely cleared and I didn’t have to lift a finger.

    They are out there now nibbling on the ones currently on the tree, letting them drop to the ground, then they scamper off and store them.

  • Walnut Trees

    Yes I have an affinity for Walnut Trees too, as a craftsman utilizing the striking tonal quality and workability of the valuable lumber if available or if hopefully standing still, gather the abundant rock hard nuts the trees have to offer when they cross my path. The nut meats can be stored in a mason jar to be used up later for desert recipes or even the shells can boiled to apply as a dye or stain for various applications.
    You are lucky to have Walnut trees of size that produce such vast quantities of nuts the squirrels seem to be able to chisel through the hard outer shell with their buckies finding it worth the effort to expose and get to the rich delicacy encapsulated inside.
    To have a such a grove possibly planted way back when, you are lucky as Vermont isn’t the optimum terrain for these trees to prosper ( prefer more westerly in location) and occur naturally in the wild as indigenous among our forests here in VT, and it is scarce to see them out there roaming on local nature trails. However once native Walnut trees have been planted and like where their at here they can reach amazing size in girth and crown span feeding armies of squirrels who go to the trouble to store a favorite cache and acquisition often in trunk hollows.
    When I owned rural land, there were Butternut tree groves close by the homestead on the property that put out equally desirable nuts of oblong shape rather then the round sphere of the Walnut. The Butternut, cousin to the Walnut, also produced incredible lumber although lighter in color and density was perfect for wood carving. As was handed down to me by my ancestors, I could crack the nuts on an antique wooden framed rectangle soap stone 2 inch block with a depression in it’s center to set the butternut to be split open with a 5 lb. hand sledge hammer and the odds were against you, but if you hit it just right you may be able to gather the whole nut meats intact rather than be left with the pulverized remains mixed with hard shell bits to painstakingly sort out later.
    Unfortunately all these Butternut trees I speak of that once existed and those in the state are gone or dying off and in general have been lost widespread throughout New England having succumbed to the lethal affliction of the Butternut canker producing blisters beneath the bark eventually rotting the tree to the point they can no longer function and this may take years and certainly shuts done their ability to produce nuts, another 21 century loss sad to say.

    • Black walnut trees

      From what we know, previous owners planted a small black walnut in the backyard in the 1950’s. Their dog, rumor has it, kept digging it up and they kept planting it. Finally it took.

      Now, at 70 years or so, it is a big and wonderful tree. It has also spawned some siblings that are pretty big, and each time there is a crop of walnuts we spend the next year digging up little walnut trees all over the place. If anyone wants a black walnut tree… let me know and it can be arranged. They can be transplanted pretty easily while they are a foot or so tall. After that, the roots are way down in the ground and they are hard to get out.

      Squirrels love them. Birds love them too. And we love the shade.

      The one downside is they are poison for some garden plants… like tomato. We’re still learning what does and doesn’t like walnuts nearby.

  • Nice

    Great you are transplanting seedlings or saplings to relocate and populate, maybe start a drive to line the streets of Brattleboro with these trees that don’t so easily die out, provide a fair amount of shade and can last a century.
    I raised about three dozen walnut trees once but they never amounted to much, grew so slow, and I do remember the strength of that tap root when they mean business to anchor home, seems like they’re headed for an aquifer way below somewhere. Interesting about how they detour non companions by emitting subterranean toxins to ward them off, creepy, maybe they strategically drop their hard nuts on unsuspecting garden plants too, watch out. !

  • Dodgers

    I’ve set myself a new challenge… how many suicidal squirrels can I avoid hitting with the car each season? You know the ones… they run out right as you are driving by.

    So far I’ve dodged 5 since starting this game.

  • Jumpers

    Every day I watch them jump from little branch to little branch in the treetops. So far they’ve all made it to the next tree, but sometimes I hold my breath as they fall.

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