From killing or injuring livestock to decimating crops and negatively affecting the deer population, invasive varmints on your land can be a real nuisance, and it’s important to keep them in check. Predators such as coyotes, foxes and bobcats can put calves and young bucks at risk, while prairie dogs and groundhogs can create dangerous holes in the ground. By hunting or trapping varmints you can improve your land’s habitat, get great hunting practice, harvest fur or even maybe bring home something delicious to cook up for supper.
Hunting Varmints – Along with improving your land, hunting varmints provides a great way for hunters to keep their shooting skills sharp outside of deer season. Numerous firearm manufacturers make rifles designed specifically for varmint hunting, but vary in design and caliber for different game.
22 Long Rifle and 22 Magnum are ideal calibers for taking squirrels and rabbits at close range. For popping prairie dogs at long range, a fast-shooting round such as .17 Hornady Magnum or .17 Winchester Super Magnum are popular choices. Groundhogs and foxes are perfect targets for rounds such as .204 Ruger, and .223 Remington remains the gold standard for taking coyotes. For dangerous nuisance animals such feral hogs, a harder hitting round such as .308 Winchester, 30-’06 Springfield or .270 Winchester are great choices.
Trapping Varmints – If you own a plot of land in an area where hunting isn’t permissible, or perhaps you’d prefer to “relocate” a troublesome skunk or raccoon, humanely trapping a nuisance animal may be a good option. Unlike the lethal traps of old, modern cage traps capture the animal alive, where it can then be relocated to an area where it won’t cause a disturbance. This is most common in more suburban areas.
Although cage traps of various sizes can be purchased at most hardware stores, be sure to check with local laws and regulations to be ensure that it’s legal for you to trap the intended animal. When dealing with predatory animals or skunks it’s highly recommended that you consult a professional pest control service or your local wildlife department.
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