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Old October 18, 2013, 11:59 AM   #1
gaseousclay
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two fold question regarding shooting small game

I think it's common knowledge that shooting small game requires the use of a small game cartridge, something along the lines of a .22 caliber. I guess I was curious what some of you used to shoot pests like raccoons or possums and what would be considered appropriate? My father in-law is a farmer and as such he routinely has to set up traps because the raccoons eat the corn. He's used poison but he also uses his shotgun to take care of them. Would using a .22 winchester magnum be ideal for dispatching raccoons? A traditional .22LR doesn't seem like enough firepower for the slightly bigger critters out there, so I was curious what your thoughts were. The shotgun seems to work fine but was just wondering if there was an alternative.

My next question is with regard to hunting and eating small game. I know a lot of you go out and hunt small critters like rabbits and squirrels. How do you know if they're safe to eat? It's probably a lot safer to eat small game from outside the city than from inside the city. My neighborhood has a ton of rabbits - they're a nuisance and do nothing but destroy our garden and over-populate. I saw one rabbit in our yard that looked like it had some weird growth coming out of its ear. My first thought was to grab my .22LR and put it out of its misery, BUT, since it's illegal for me to shoot my gun within city limits this puts me at a disadvantage. I was more concerned about potential diseases that these animals may be carrying and whether or not they could make you violently ill. I probably wouldn't think twice about shooting and eating a rabbit from the country but it still gives me pause. Is there some rule of thumb that you guys abide by so as not to consume a rabid critter?
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Old October 18, 2013, 12:27 PM   #2
buck460XVR
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The .22 rimfire is very effective on small game. Most coon hunters I know use it as their primary gun. .22 mag and the newer .17s are good too, but are not necessary unless you go long range.


As for eating wild game, why should there be any difference between city rabbits and country rabbits? A rabbit/squirrel is a rabbit/squirrel regardless of where they live. I've heard urban deer shot within the city limits of large municipalities actually taste better than their big woods counterparts. Refrain from eating any animal that appears sickly before being killed and cook the meat thoroughly and you should be safe. Precautions when cleaning rabbits should be taken to avoid exposure to Tularemia, but odds are you are just as likely to contract it from a tick or deer fly.
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Old October 18, 2013, 12:50 PM   #3
jimbob86
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We used .22lr on coons and coyotes when I was growing up on the farm.

It worked.

Quote:
My next question is with regard to hunting and eating small game. I know a lot of you go out and hunt small critters like rabbits and squirrels. How do you know if they're safe to eat?
G-Pa always said to not eat rabbits before the first hard freeze: the ones that had "rabbit fever" (tularemia) would die from the cold, leaving only the healthy ones to hunt.

I was also cautioned to check for parasites while field dressing- rabbits that had worms (you'll know 'em when you see 'em!) were fed to the barn cats..... did not seem to hurt them a bit.

As for garden pest rabbits and squirrel: check local regs- there is no law against using archery equipment in our little 'burgh, even though pellet guns, slingshots, even thrown objects are unlawful ...... I use a 45lb draw weight longbow and judo-pointed arrows to dispatch rabbits ......

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Zwick...ain/744864.uts
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Old October 18, 2013, 07:32 PM   #4
std7mag
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What Jimbob said is true in lots of places.
Archery is not considered a firearm.

However...

While there may not be a specific city ordinance against it, there is the think of "criminal negligence".
While you don't mean to hurt someone, accidents do happen, and if someone gets struck by an errant arrow, there will be definite consequences!!
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Old October 18, 2013, 10:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
While there may not be a specific city ordinance against it, there is the think of "criminal negligence".
While you don't mean to hurt someone, accidents do happen, and if someone gets struck by an errant arrow, there will be definite consequences!!
Hence the "judo pointed arrows": dunno if you are familiar with these, but they snag on the grass and flip up, end over end and don't go more than a few feet (like 5) beyond the point of impact ...... and hit small game like a brick ... a hit on a cottontail in the head or chest is invariably a "one shot stop".
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Old October 19, 2013, 11:57 AM   #6
bshefa
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.22 LR has always been enough for coons and possums in my experience. I rarely shoot them at more than 50 yards though. I like to go bigger for coyotes as they are ususally further out and I have had more than a few run off after being shot with a .22LR.
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:38 PM   #7
mxsailor803
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I've used the .22lr for everything from snakes to 'gators. It's still a very capable round. I still use one of my .22's for coons and rabbits. It does the job, it ethical, and doesn't destroy much meat. If you wanted to step up just a bit, how about a .410? You can find one of the H&R single shots pretty cheap and it also works well on bigger coons that may be stuck in a tree.

Second part, IF, your local laws allow it, I would use one of these new pellet rifles. I mean, I killed squirrels with a old crossman CO2 pellet rifle and I know it wasn't running nearly as fast as these newer versions. The .177 or .22 cal would work great for small little pests in the city.
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Old October 20, 2013, 05:57 PM   #8
L_Killkenny
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IME, you are right the .22lr can be marginal on coon, fox, etc. Conditions dictate how much so though. We've shot 1000's outta trees over dogs with the little rimfire. That of coarse is a good bit different than a coon runnin loose on the ground without a dog in sight. The little rimfire requires solid head shots to anchor coon DRT. Something hard to get in many cases. Also IME the .22M is only slightly better at anchoring coon with body shots. It's still a rimfire, it's still small, it's in no way comparable to even the smallest centerfires. Our favorite medicine for coon callin is a 12ga and 4 buck. Light years ahead of any rimfire at anchoring critters.

That's all relevant IF you are wanting to keep the critter. Pest are a different matter. Fire away with whatever you got, .22lr's included.

In town? You're on your own.
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Old October 20, 2013, 09:30 PM   #9
TMW89
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The bigger rimfire cartridges will work fine for small game like you're saying.

Also, I live in city limits, and actually called my local PD. I asked them if it was OK to shoot my bow in my backyard, and they said it was fine as long as I was safe and had a good backdrop. I've shot a couple groundhogs that way.

If you're not a bow guy, then I suggest throwing rocks or spears as an alternative for the critters in the garden. Lol. Or maybe a slingshot? Air rifle?
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Old October 20, 2013, 10:21 PM   #10
jimbob86
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Quote:
I suggest throwing rocks or spears
I got a rabbit with my pocket knife once ....... he was playing "You can't see me." under one of my tomato plants one evening.... I took out my liner lock and got within 10 feet or so by walking as if I was going to pass by 5 feet to the left ..... and threw the knife overhand ..... stuck him 3" deep at the end of his ribs .... he ran off under some bushes ...... and I found him the next morning .....
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Old October 21, 2013, 08:09 PM   #11
TMW89
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And there you have it!
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