I live on almost a quarter acre lot in a lovely area in Northern California. The weather is mostly mild, and we have a long growing season. We have a bunch of fruit trees, and the neighbor feeds the squirrels, birds, possums, raccoons, skunks, and most unfortunately Rattus Rattus, aka the black rat, ship rat, roof rat, and house rat.
Rattus Rattus is an import, and probably came over on sailing ships from Europe. These rats carry Bubonic Plague via rat fleas, and can pass on other rather nasty diseases, including: typhus, Weil’s disease, toxoplasmosis, trichinosis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Corynebacterium kutsheri, Bacillus piliformis, Pasteurella pneumotropica, and Streptobacillus moniliformis, etc.
I don’t want these rats in my house, or in my yard, and making my family and animals sick. And so I’ve made it my mission to keep that population down. I’ve used normal snap traps placed under my house, and outside the house to take out quite a few. But with the neighbors feeding them, and their yard being so overgrown with a perfect habitat of English Ivy and numerous trees, bushes and undergrowth, and the fact I have fruit trees, they are fat, healthy, and making babies like crazy. I’ve set up three feeding stations for the rats to turn my airgun hobby into an airgun rat hunting hobby and mission of elimination.
Some rat feeding and shooting considerations.
1. I have to have a safe back drop. I can not shoot into my neighbor’s yard.
I sight in my rifle carefully, and place any feeding stations so that a tree, wall or the feeding station itself, keeps me from shooting beyond my property.
2. I put lead dust collectors, (LDCs) or moderators on my airguns so as to reduce the chance of disturbing any of my neighbors.
3. I’ve place Arlo Pro Surveillance cameras at the feeding / killing stations so I can see when the rats are active. I can manually check any camera from my computer or smart phone, and I get email notifications that a camera has detected motion.
4. Most of the rat activity has been at dark between 9pm and 5am (summer time). The rats are on to me though, and now most activity is after midnight and 4am.
5. I bait the traps most often with peanut butter, though I have also had success using black oil sunflower seeds.
6. I am now experimenting with offering the rats water, as we have been in a crazy 108 degree heat wave. So far I am having limited luck, as the heat appears to have completely shut down my feeding stations.
7. I have set up battery powered red L.E.D. lights above the feeding stations, and they work well most of the night to illuminate the Rodents so I can get a reasonable bead on their location.
Rat Hunting Airgun
My current favorite airgun for rat hunting is my .25 Cal Eun Jin Sumatra Carbine. It’s overkill, but I love the ergonomics of it, and even with the power turned way down, if it connects with a rat, it is not usually going to get up. Video shows rats getting knocked back hard, sometimes just rolling over dead with x’s on their eyes. Other times they’ll roll off the feeding station and twitch or bounce around. They are dead though and this activity is the central nervous system shutting down. I don’t like to torture any live creature, and so my goal is to just put their lights out as painlessly as possible. All of the shots so far have been complete pass throughs. With the rifle making 46+ FPE on lower power, this makes sense.
I have been using a UTG Leapers 3×12 compact scope with illuminated cross hairs. Most of the time though it’s overkill to turn the illumination on. And often it makes it harder to see my quarry.
I just recently purchased a month old SWFA Super Sniper 10×42 scope. I seldom change magnification settings of any of my scopes, and I thought I’d try out one that was a fixed focal length, and eliminate a lot of extra features and complexities.
This particular scope is quite a bit longer than the UTG Compact I normally use, but seems to be around the same weight. It came with Warne scope rings, which I think are perhaps a pain to set up, at least compared to the quick release UTG Rings I have on many of my airguns.
The SWFA Super Sniper 10×42 scope is bright, and has good contrast. The reticle is SUPER FINE, and this can be a problem in the low light conditions I normally shoot in. I’m not sure I’ll keep this as the main scope for ratting.
I also recently purchased a BSA TMD 4-14X44 FFP Hunting Riflescope. It is a First Focal Plane, Glass Mil Dot Reticle, and to me quite interesting. It is huge, and I’m currently testing on my new to me first generation Benjamin Marauder .25 tuned by Travis Whitney.
Some keywords: Air Rifle Pesting, Rat Shooting with Bait, Rat Killing Station, Rat Feeding Station, Airgun Rat Pesting.