6,782 Dead Squirrels

Here is the video of the sage rat count at the shoot in Unity, Oregon over the weekend. From what I understand, I only accounted for 35 dead rats; not very good at all. But, my 6X18X50mm Bushnell scope combined with my new Savage .17HMR did pretty good considering the conditions we had to work with.

The field that we drew was outside Ironside, Oregon, and there couldn’t have been more than 200 ground squirrels spread out over an area somewhere around 320 to 640 acres. The squirrels had been so shot up that you were lucky if you could get within 100 yards of them. I had 3 shots under 50 yards, with most shots being between 100 and 150 yards.

The longest confirmed kill I had was 256 yards. I was sitting at a bench rest about 30 feet above the field and the wind was about 10 mph across my line of fire. It took a couple of shots at a dirt clod to get the drift figured out, but once I had it, I dropped the squirrel with the first shot I fired at him.

The official count for our team was 98 sage rats, which is very depressing. Unfortunately, only 3 of our 6 shooters had 17 HMR’s. The rat shoot was rimfire only, so nobody could use their high speed center fire’s. That left 3 of the guys with nothing but .22 long rifle’s, and at least 60% of the squirrels they shot went down the hole and weren’t recoverable.

The squirrels shot with the 17′s dropped where they were hit. Usually, when you shoot a ground squirrel, it will flip, flop and drag itself down the nearest hole. That’s OK if you are just shooting them for the fun of it, or because some farmer is paying you to get rid of his rat population, but it sucks when you get scored on how many bodies you bring back.

The 17HMR, shooting the Hornady .17 grain Ballistic Tip V-Max Bullet, is so devastating that you loose almost no rats at all. I took shots with the 17 that I would never have taken with a 22, and I knew that the squirrel would still be there when I walked the 100+ yards to his hole. I even shot squirrels that were standing in their holes. The ballistic tip hit them so hard, that it snapped their spines and blew their guts a couple of feet away. As a matter of fact, most of the squirrels that I shot in their holes ended up folding in half so that they couldn’t be drug down the holes by their friends and family. (For the last supper of course. They are cannibalistic…)

But, I digress. Here is video of part of the rat count. This runs about 8 minutes long and there are some really good spots in it, so bear with the boring parts.

Double click on the play button to play this video.

5 Responses to “6,782 Dead Squirrels”

  1. dlaw says:

    This is completely disgusting.

    I’m not against varminting – or I wasn’t – but that is sick.

    Why in the world would you video a pickup truck being loaded with dead ground squirrels?

  2. I video taped it because no one else ever had…

    Yea, it’s pretty gross, huh? I really didn’t know how disgusting it was going to be, until I actually started filming it. The smell was so bad I almost puked a couple of times, and you’ll notice I didn’t film the second truck being filled with dead squirrels.

    You have to remember though, that if you can shoot 2 truckloads of squirrels in 8 hours, it’s called an infestation, not just varmint hunting. The team that won brought in 996 dear squirrels. That’s over 150 squirrels per shooter.


  3. benny says:

    my grand parents have a ranch in ironside

  4. MIKEY says:


  5. Chipmunker says:

    Man that is an infestation, i’m in maine, and i’m lucky if i can get a chipmunk or two a week, although some of that could be contributed to my air rifle.

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