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Ethics of Squirrel Head Shots

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by stevehgraham, May 11, 2018.

  1. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    For squirrel hunting, accuracy rules. :D And, no two rimfires like the same ammo, it seems.
     
  2. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    The segmented quiets will drop a squirrel quickly. Inside 25 yards they are almost too destructive.
     
  3. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    In reality, the heart/lung area of a squirrel is not any larger than the head. The head of of squirrel dictates that very few poorly placed shots will make it suffer any more or any longer than a poorly placed body shot. Unlike a deer's head, the mouth and nasal areas are very small and relatively close to the CNC and/or major blood vessels. IOWs, the kill area on the head is closer to the size of a 50 cent piece than a dime. Anyone that cannot hit a 50 cent piece @ 20 yards, is not going to hit a deer's chest @ 150. Period. Yet, who claims shooting at deer past that is unethical? Part of squirrel hunting is patience and waiting for a good shot opportunity. It's different than just squirrel shooting. My 9 year old grand-daughter can consistently hit golfballs at 25 yards with her little Cricket .22, with open sights. She's no Annie Oakley either. Hard for me to believe a grown man that claims the same cannot be done with a scoped .22 is beyond me.

    As I said, I grew up hunting squirrels. It was considered unethical not to shoot them in the head. We would hunt from sunrise to sunset many a Saturday or Sunday morning during hunting season. Those squirrels shot in the body would sour due to body fluids fermenting in the body cavity. Cold squirrels are hard to clean. Body shot squirrels were a real pain in the butt. Regardless of what you say, I disagree than no meat is ruined by a front shoulder shot. The front legs of a squirrel are about a 5th of the total meat. Even a clean hole thru them destroys any meat I want to eat. There is also those glands under the front legs that will be carried into the meat if shot into, tainting the taste. Same for gut shot(what poorly placed body shots become) squirrels. The meat is going to be tainted, even if one cleans the squirrel immediately.

    But ethics are different than what is legal. One's ethics are dictated by what they are taught, and by the ethics of their peers. Hunting is a prime example that not everyone's ethics are the same.
     
  4. stevehgraham

    stevehgraham Member

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    Facts are important. The brain is MUCH smaller than the chest cavity.
     
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  5. gspn

    gspn Member

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    This. I've been killing nuisance squirrels in my yard with a .177 pellet gun for a while. It's almost entirely head shots. At this point I've killed over 120. I actually keep a log of the activity that includes shot placement. 90% of my shots are head shots, and I can't recall a squirrel ever doing anything other than slumping off it's limb, or immediately twitching and flopping for 10 seconds.

    If you put the shot between their eye and ear, they'll be dead. I never shoot past 30 yards, I always shoot from a rest, and I know exactly how my rifle groups at those distances. The "rest" I'm shooting from is a three point stance. My stock is pushed into the windowsill, and both elbows are resting on my clothes dryer. It is as solid a stance as I can get. There is no wobble. Past 30 I can't guaranty the accuracy I need to do the job, so I just don't take those shots. This what I'm using for 30 yard shots. It's a Benjamin Marauder with a 4-16x scope. 30 yards max for me because with thousands of shots under my belt, I know that's my comfort zone for the very tiny target that represents a squirrels brain.



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  6. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Well stated. I started my hunting life hunting squirrels, too, and we have no closed seasons in my part of this great state. No counting how many of 'em I've shot with a .22 over my lifetime, but most of 'em were taken in my youth as I had nothing else to hunt. We didn't have deer OR hogs at the time where I grew up and I had no place to go to hunt anything else until I got into waterfowling.

    I'd only add to this post, I've never seen the need for hollow points or high velocity ammo on squirrel. A standard velocity CCI solid will even bowl over a swamp rabbit, let alone a squirrel. The only thing you gain with a HV load is a little more range and I cut 'em off at 50 yards regardless. Like I said earlier, shooting squirrel with a .22 is like hunting deer with a 155 howitzer. Even with a solid, shoot 'em in the front shoulder and you destroy a lot of meat which is not abundant on a squirrel anyway.
     
  7. stevehgraham

    stevehgraham Member

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    The holes my .22 made were tiny, and they were impossible to see in the fried results. They closed right up. Maybe if I had peeled the breading off and poked around with forceps, I would have noticed something.
     
  8. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    How big ARE those squirrel, 20 or 30 lbs?
     
  9. stevehgraham

    stevehgraham Member

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    Just reporting what I see. Maybe the next one will blow up.
     
  10. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    That's a fancy air rifle. I had a Benjamin .22 caliber pump up got for my 7th Christmas. I killed my first squirrels and my first rabbit with it. I still had it in the 80s when I got my first chronograph and it still worked. I shot it over the chrony and it clocked something over 400 fps. I killed squirrel quite dead out to 25 yards or so with it.

    Those fancy air guns have gotten expensive and I can't bring myself to get excited about 'em. But, I live out in the boonies now, no longer have to worry about shooting in town. Some folks really get into the air guns, I just prefer my rimfires. :D
     
  11. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Your words point to that old movie line..., "A man's got to know his limitations." [Clint Eastwood in Magnum Force, Warner Bros. 1973]

    I can hit that 50-cent piece at 20 yards, and shooting at a deer at more than 150 yards would be unethical...., for me. Not that the load and the accuracy of my flintlock couldn't reach out and deliver an accurate and quick, humane harvesting of the deer that far, and not that I couldn't see that far, but my sights are set in such a manner that I'd have to use too much hold-over to toss my round-ball that far. ;)

    So we're talking about brand X vs. Brand Y being effective on squirrels, but the most devastating ammo doesn't work if it misses or barely touches the target. So if the rifle doesn't shoot straight or (as pointed out), one cannot hit that 50 cent piece at 20 yards..., time to switch to shot, I think.

    LD
     
  12. gspn

    gspn Member

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    I got into airguns simply because when I went to buy a nice .22 a few years ago, rimfire ammo was non-existant. This was back when people were driving to a bunch of stores every day trying to find .22 ammo. I wasn't going to be doing any of that, so after some research I pulled the trigger on the Marauder. I've been exceptionally happy with it. I now also have a short .22 Marauder carbine I take with me when deer hunting. So many mornings I sit on a deer stand covered up by squirrels but only have my 7 mag. Now if the deer aren't moving but the squirrels are, I just switch to the pellet gun and get some meat for the pot. It's also so quiet that it doesn't spook anything in the area.

    Tons of fun.
     
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  13. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Thank GOD the .22 drought is over. :D I was only able to get .22 ammo in bulk during those dark times via internet sales and paying 20 bucks for shipping. Now, 20 bucks 'll buy me 500 rounds at wally world for the cheap stuff. LOL One good thing about that time, I bought whatever I could find regardless of brand. SO, now, I have nearly 10,000 rounds of assorted brand/loads and I've tested all my .22 rifles and handguns to find what they like best. I bought a new .22 handgun not long ago, a Heritage, and tried a variety in it. Actually, THAT gun seems to shoot better with .22 magnum which suits me since I kinda like .22 mag for putting down raccoons in my traps. Took one out today with it. :D

    What powers that cool lookin' air rifle? Is it one of those you have to have an expensive compressor and dive tanks for or is it a springer or CO2 gun. I can't keep up with the innovation in air guns now days even watching that TV show on Pursuit channel, "American Air Gunner". :D
     
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  14. gspn

    gspn Member

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    It uses 3,000 PSI of compressed air. I have a hand pump which I use as a backup, but my primary fill method is from a small carbon fiber tank. There's a fire extinguisher company in town that will fill it to 4,000 PSI for $15.

    10 shot rotary magazine and bolt action. It's so quiet that I've occasionally killed three squirrels in under 15 seconds with it, all within a few feet of each other.
     
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  15. roo_ster

    roo_ster Member

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    I think I've killed more squirrels with Aguila Super Colibri than anything else. Nice & quiet. Pretty much all at 10-25 yards. And all chest shots. Pretty much zero meat damage, unless you got a thing for squirrel ribs.
     
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  16. amd6547

    amd6547 Member

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    Well, I have to say, my grand dad spent his whole life hunting squirrel with a single shot 22.
    He didn't take head shots for one simple reason...
    He liked to fry the brains with scrambled eggs.
     
  17. stevehgraham

    stevehgraham Member

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    Today I read that some people think squirrel brains carry dementia, like mad cow disease.
     
  18. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    The people I know that eat them certainly are demented. Whether it's due to squirrel brains, I'm not sure.
     
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  19. stevehgraham

    stevehgraham Member

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    I'm not going out like that.
     
  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Squirrel brains? REALLY? Kinda like cracking a walnut for a meal the size of a BB, I'd think. LOL I had an aunt that liked venison brains. I never saw the appeal of THAT, either.
     
  21. Charliefrank

    Charliefrank Member

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    Waste of good brains. One deer brain will tan one deer hide. Brain tanned leather is the softest you'll ever feel
     
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  22. GunnyUSMC

    GunnyUSMC Member

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    Well, this topic is getting squirrelly.
     
  23. gspn

    gspn Member

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    I see what you did there. :rofl:
     
  24. entropy

    entropy Member

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    The chest cavity is not your target. your target (in thoraxic shots) is the aorta, which is much smaller than the chest cavity. Aim small, miss small. (I remember this from a certain movie, though I heard it long before that) Shooting squirrels is not long range sniping. reread the posts about waiting for the right shot. Patience, young paduwan.

    This is the 'secret to success'. that and knowing the anatomy of your target and the most effective shots on it.

    With the above quote, sage advice.
     
  25. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    The brain is smaller than the chest cavity, but hitting the chest cavity and missing the lung - about 30-50% bigger than the brain - and missing the heart - about 1/2-2/3 the size of the brain - is no better than hitting the head and missing the brain. Points only count if you hit something vital - not just the box they come in, whether head or chest cavity.

    There’s more stuff in the chest cavity to hit, but lung only shots on anything isn’t a fast death. While we convince ourselves to feel good about it, dying of a heart shot isn’t as humane as it might seem - brain function remains for minutes after the blood flow stops. Nothing more humane for instant and unperceived death than destroying the brain (aka, the super computer which would perceive the pain and panic of the impending death).

    Squirrels are small - gotta hit small to ethically kill small.
     
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