View Full Version : nutria hunting

February 23, 2009, 10:39 PM
anybody here do it?
where, what do you use?

February 23, 2009, 10:42 PM
Looks to me like a good quality .22 LR would be about all you need.

February 23, 2009, 11:05 PM
A scoped .308 was the most effective.
An AK-47 was a lot of fun.
I've used a .22 LR but it isn't as much fun.
Once my Lab choked one to death.
But the most fun was with my Glock 21 with a light on it. It's hard to hit a 5 pound rat in the dark with a pistol, but its fun doing it. :)

February 24, 2009, 12:03 AM
I've read of a few people hunting them with airguns.

Smokey Joe
February 25, 2009, 12:23 PM
Where are nutria hunted? What do they look like? Anybody got a photo? Are they good to eat?

The Lab that choked one--I assume the Lab then choked it down his own throat! :)

"5 pound rat," well, squirrels are "tree rats" and those are eaten regularly. My mother-in-law's fried squirrel was just like fried chicken, only no breast meat.

So: Nutria stew? Frickaseed nutria? Nutria pot pies? BBQ'd nutria on the grill? Nutria noodle soup?

News Shooter
February 25, 2009, 12:30 PM
I've never hunted them, but I'm not sure about the .22.
I've seen nutrias the size of dobermans on the banks of the Colorado River

February 25, 2009, 12:32 PM

Photo linked from here: http://www.wlf.state.la.us

They don't look particularly appetizing.........:barf:

February 25, 2009, 12:39 PM
When I fur trapped the coulees of louisiana I just lumped the animals in the head with a maple club... First nutria I had took my dern club from me so I took my little pre-teen butt home and got the .410... Got me a single shot .22 rifle for christmas that year:D

February 25, 2009, 01:22 PM
I saw one a few days ago as I walked to the bank from work, right next to Wal-Mart in the ditch. I could have killed it with my pocket knife if I wanted to.

February 25, 2009, 02:00 PM
i had a kill permit to hunt beavers in my swamp. i just sat in my treestand with my 243, and that was ALOT of over kill for 40 to 60 pound beavers.

February 25, 2009, 05:38 PM
ive had several nutria dishes. its not bad, kinda like gamy chicken.

February 25, 2009, 05:55 PM
I can't stand those things. They're all over the place near the MS river banks. Come to think of it, if memory serves me right. The nutrea rats were so detrimental to the levee system that the Corps of Engineers introduced alligators :eek: to their environment in many areas (back in the 70's).

February 25, 2009, 08:13 PM
I use a .45 caliber airgun on them here in Oregon. Lotsa fun!


February 25, 2009, 08:15 PM
City where I used to work paid a guy $50/per to trap them. He had some special license from the state to do that type of work. He also had to haul the nasty things off to somewhere....

They were just destroying a park, between killing the plants and the cr*p everywhere, and it was in the city limits, so they wouldn't let us just shoot them....

February 25, 2009, 08:23 PM
Hey Dave,

Sent you a PM.

February 25, 2009, 08:36 PM
A few years ago I actually saw point of sale flyers for comercially harvested Nutria Rats at the LRA (Louisianna Restaurant Association) food show in New Orleans. I don't think it caught on. So if you want to dine on Nutria Rats you will have to kill your own.:barf:

February 25, 2009, 10:06 PM
theres several places around here that serve it. also the new orleans pd shoots them in the city.

February 25, 2009, 10:32 PM
I've never actually hunted them but have killed plenty with all sorts of guns. If I were really going after them I would probably use a .22mag or 17HMR. They are supposed to be real good to eat with a very high protein content. they have very good pelts in the winter. My great aunt wanted a mink coat, so my uncle killed a bunch of nutria and had a coat made. He also bought her the real thing and you really couldn't tell the difference in appearance or feel.

February 25, 2009, 11:17 PM
I see them around here. I live in a town where air rifles are legal to shoot in the city limits. Might have to go lookin for some nutria one of these days.

I read somewhere that there's a nutria scam. These fools convince the victims that nutria are viable fur bearers. They sell them a bunch of the rats for high$ and then split. As soon as they leave town the only customer you would have had is gone.

February 26, 2009, 08:16 AM
Is this meant as intentionally humorous? I sure hope so cuz that is of the biggest reasons for the over population...
The scammers followed the chinchilla guy into town basically and sold "nutria farms" to tons of folks promising high returns only nearing the profit margin of the "worm farmer". But seriously they were over hyped.

February 26, 2009, 11:38 AM

Are you saying I am not going to get rich with my worm farm??? Dang, there goes my retirement plan :p


February 26, 2009, 12:21 PM
For sometime the Jefferson Parish Sherrif's Department would patrol canals with .22's and kill nutria. This was done mostly at night and amounted to good marksmanship practice for the deputies.

The creatures are rather sluggish compared to otters and can be mistaken for for the slightly larger beavers when swimming. However, most beavers swim just a bit below the water surface and nutria swim on the surface. The glowing orange teeth and ratty tail are unmistakable.

February 26, 2009, 10:30 PM
A friend and I hunt them with air rifles. Their a real challenge to hunt with airguns. Very tasty too.


February 26, 2009, 10:37 PM
33, Them teeth are what I seen wrapped around my 1 1/4 inch maple club when I was a kid... First time I ever seen one too... Dad asked what I needed the .410 for... I told him I had no clue but I was figgerin' it was a muskrat the size of a bear cub or pit bull crossed to a beaver:o:eek:

February 26, 2009, 11:25 PM
Is this meant as intentionally humorous

No sir... What I'm saying is that this scam is still being worked. I just read about it online on a news site a week or two ago. Maybe they sell snake oil too?

February 26, 2009, 11:26 PM
Yea we have been charged twice. First time it got a hold of my friend after us both shooting it once with are gamos. While it was at his legs a hold of his pants, he was beating it with the but of the gun I made another shot and finished it off. All of this happened within maybe 10 seconds.

February 27, 2009, 11:25 AM
I was watching a show on comedy central called Insomniac with dave attell. He was in New Orleans and rode with some police officers in the back of a truck as they drove around canals with a spot light and .22s popping nutria. i was one of the most entertaining things ive ever seen.

February 27, 2009, 10:00 PM
Missed my calling... Shoulda been a cop in New Orleans.

February 27, 2009, 10:28 PM
It is actually in East Jefferson Parish by the Sheriff's Dept. immediately adjacent to New Orleans and not the N.O.P.D. Late Sheriff Harry Lee authorized deputies to fire on the nutria in the canals at certain times and for SWAT team practice (I'm aware of sniper night scopes being tested) due to the destruction and population explosion of the nutria causing havoc in the thickly populated urban/suburban parish. I'm not sure if his successor continues the tradition today.

February 27, 2009, 10:51 PM
I worked on a ranch back in the early 1980's in NW Oregon. It was designated as a pheasant reserve but they had a ferile cat problem. Ferile cats love to dine on pheasant eggs. My employer had some kind of permit that allowed ranch hands to reduce the cat population. The truck I used to drive had an old H&R .22 mag revolver under the front seat. I got good with that gun. I was 16 that summer.

My first day on the job the boss was showing me around and he hit the skids and whispered "I hope yer not squeemish". I saw the cat on the road but failed to see the .44 magnum he had grabbed on his way out the door until he was aiming. Let's just say I was awake and alert after that. It was a mess:eek: I doubt many kids today get the kind of education I got that summer.

I learned how to cuss and cuss right from that guy. I also learned what a hard days work means.

March 28, 2009, 02:24 AM
i saw a pack of nutria today down town, they live in a ditch between a strip mall and the main road. they were only 2' from the road. it was raining or i would have gotten out to get a better look. there were about 10 and looked to be the size of a large cotton tail.

if it wasnt down town i would have went home and got my marlin mod 60 and some aguila colbris, but there was too much traffic.

Hunter Dan
April 4, 2009, 09:52 PM
yep we got the rats in eastern north carolina too, theres no season on them you can hunt them any time nite or day, this farm pond on some land i deer hunt had a few in it. when i got finished with the killing spree i counted around 50 or so:) one was smart and tryed to get away so i ran it down and shoot it at close range :p the rugger 1022 with the 30 round mag is the trick:D still get a few out of there but that first day was a blast!! our river systems are being taken over by them:(

April 4, 2009, 10:23 PM
Back before Katrina me and the family wandered down towards New Orleans just because we'd never been there. Besides the great food in the city, the part of the trip we enjoyed the most was the swamp boat tour.

It may have all been stories for the tourists but ...

Our Cajun guide told us plenty of stories about the nutria. According to him, their fur was being used for the insides of pockets of fur coats. But when the fur coat market went south folks just turned the things loose. He said they were literally eating away the coast at a rate of several football fields a day. I guess it's good stuff grows fast down there. :)

He also gave us several recipes for cooking the things up. Said they were quite tasty and way cleaner than chickens. In fact, I could have done without his explanations of just how dirty chickens are. :eek:

True or not it sure was entertaining... :)

April 5, 2009, 08:04 AM
I've seen nutrias the size of dobermans on the banks of the Colorado River

That's a big rat.

April 5, 2009, 09:23 AM
Kerberos, That is pretty much what happened but it was way back in time... Possibly great depression times. Door to door salesmen and little classified ads in out door magazines touted them as an easy money product to farm. They were supposed to net far larger profit yields than the Chinchilla... I read alot of info on them in school as I was trapping them and trying to learn all I could as I do with all my prey.

April 5, 2009, 10:17 AM
A friends familly has about 500 acres and we notice that the rabbit population had declined.His dad who was the county vet said it was all the feral cats that were living down in the brush piles in the ravines.One afternoon we grabbed our scoped ar's,a .300 Win Mag,and some sandbags and made a day out of it.It was quite entertaining to see a cat hit with a light projectile coming out of that .300 mag.Our wives came back to see what we were doing and mine asked how could i shoot a cat?I said it was simple just put the crosshairs on it and squeeze.Between the cats and the wild dogs we stayed in practice.

April 5, 2009, 10:35 AM
MP, Where is the part about the nutrias?:rolleyes:
Yes I am kitty killer too! Love it...

April 6, 2009, 01:07 PM
Thanks, hotdogs, it's nice to get a real historical perspective. I remember the chinchilla craze but I don't remember nutria. Maybe no one wandered as far as east Tennessee selling that one.

April 6, 2009, 01:30 PM
Tabasco mogul didn't bring rodents here


By Martha Carr
East Jefferson bureau/The Times-Picayune

For decades, Tabasco hot sauce magnate E.A. McIlhenny has been single-handedly blamed for introducing nutria to Louisiana.

Legend has it that in 1937, McIlhenny brought 13 of the orange-tooth rodents from Argentina to his home on Avery Island, in an effort to diversify Louisiana's fur industry. Three years later, a hurricane blew down his nutria pen, and the fast-breeding rats escaped to begin reproducing and chomping through the state's fragile marshes.

Now, a historian for the McIlhenny family says the account -- perpetuated in part by McIlhenny himself -- is more folklore than fact.

The real story, according to McIlhenny's personal records, is that the self-taught biologist and businessman was neither the first to breed nor the first to release nutria in the state, and was just one of several nutria farmers experimenting with foreign fur-bearers in the 1930s and ‘40s.

"I had heard the traditional story about E.A. importing the nutria and figured since it was my job to be the family historian, it ought to be easy enough to prove," said Shane Bernard, who recently published his findings in the journal Louisiana History. "So I started looking through his files and began to notice, almost immediately, discrepancies with the story. What I found disputed things even the McIlhenny family itself had come to believe."

Scourge began in Abita

It was actually 1938 when McIlhenny, son of Tabasco inventor Edmund McIlhenny, bought his first clan of the giant swimming rats: 14 adults and six kits for $112.

And despite his own tale that he imported the rodents from Argentina, records show that McIlhenny bought the nutria from a farmer in St. Bernard Parish via a New Orleans fur dealer. Though the farmer's name was not in McIlhenny's records, a narrative account of the sale and the name of the dealer who facilitated the purchase, A. Bernstein, are detailed, Bernard said.

A second nutria farm, this one operated by Henry Conrad Brote in St. Tammany Parish, also appears to predate McIlhenny's colony, according to a letter from Brote's wife found in McIlhenny's records.

Brote was a merchant marine officer who imported 18 nutria from South America in 1933, according to his personal cargo logs, now housed at the Earl K. Long Library at the University of New Orleans. He and his wife, Susan, raised the rodents in brick pens with the hope of selling the animals to fur dealers. When they failed to make money, however, they released the nutria in 1937 into the wild near their home on the Abita River just outside Abita Springs, according to a letter Susan Brote sent McIlhenny in 1945 and a letter that her daughter, Pat Rittiner, wrote to The Times-Picayune in 1988.

A third nutria colony might have been present about the same time in St. James Parish. According to a trapping log housed at UNO's library, the Lutcher & Moore Cypress Lumber Co. recorded the sale of one nutria pelt on Jan. 5, 1941, to fur dealer Bob Itzkoff on Decatur Street in New Orleans. The nutria had been trapped by Louis Bezee on company land during the 1940-41 winter hunting season, the log shows.

Hurricane story hot air

History soon became muddled, however, because of McIlhenny's penchant for boasting that he was responsible for introducing the fur-bearer to Louisiana's thriving trapping industry. His assertion was even published in 1945, when The Times-Picayune printed a letter McIlhenny wrote to a member of the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce stating: "I originally brought 15 pairs of the animals from the Argentine . . . and have liberated probably 150 pairs of these animals in Iberia Parish since 1940."

The letter came as no surprise to Bernard.

"He was well-known on the island for his gift for spinning yarns," Bernard said. "I think he saw himself as an entertainer when relating his personal history. He took liberties in a good-natured way, and because the nutria became so successful, I think he was eager to take credit for their success."

McIlhenny did become a major contributor to the propagation of nutria in south Louisiana. In only two years, his colony of 20 animals grew to more than 500, prompting McIlhenny to begin selling adult nutria as breeding stock to fur farmers throughout the United States and Canada, records show.

In June 1940, McIlhenny recorded his first intentional release of nutria into the wild, a release that, contrary to folklore, had nothing to do with the hurricane that struck that year, Bernard said. McIlhenny wrote in a memo that he "liberated" 21 nutria, seven males and 14 females, on Avery Island for one reason: to bolster the fur industry. His records contain no documentation that the hurricane damaged the nutria pen or that any nutria escaped, Bernard said.

A year later McIlhenny's plan appeared to be working. Trappers reported capturing 41 nutria on the island, and the number would quickly boom to thousands by the end of the decade.

Changing fashions

During the next few years, McIlhenny continued to sell breeding stock and share in the fur profits from nutria trapped on his property. Then, in 1945, he decided to release his entire colony into the marshes on his land in Iberia and Vermilion parishes, Bernard said. The release likely included hundreds of full-grown nutria, Bernard said.

McIlhenny died in 1949, leaving behind the legend that he alone introduced nutria to Louisiana.

But the designation, however enviable at the time, would eventually tarnish the family history.

In the late 20th century, Louisiana trappers all but stopped hunting nutria because the price of the pelts plummeted. The overall fur market had bottomed out because of fashion changes, the anti-fur movement and global saturation of the market.

With no human predators, the nutria population exploded, and the voracious vegetarians began chewing their way through the grass of the state's coastal wetlands, marshes and drainage canals -- exacerbating the growing problem of Louisiana's disappearing coastline.

In Jefferson Parish, the nocturnal rats soon became Public Enemy No. 1, with officials scrambling for ways to control their numbers. Some measures seemed downright laughable: Sheriff Harry Lee assembled a team of sharpshooters to hunt nutria in drainage canals, and state officials started a campaign to encourage residents to begin eating more nutria meat.

But desperate times called for desperate measures.

Record finally set straight

As the controversy over nutria grew, newspapers and magazines continued to repeat the story of E.A. McIlhenny, to the consternation of his descendants.

Ned Simmons, McIlhenny's grandson and the president of Avery Island Inc., said he always suspected the story was not entirely accurate. So when Bernard approached him with a proposal to research the subject, he welcomed the idea.

"With any company like ours, myth, error and falsification gets woven into the story and gets repeated until it becomes fact," said Simmons, 74.

Simmons had no illusions that the research would clear his family of all association with the marsh-eating rodents. He readily admits his grandfather's role in bringing the species to the state. In fact, Avery Island is still full of nutria, he said.

The family's only hope was to clear up the misconception that McIlhenny was the first to import and release nutria into the Louisiana wild -- even if that's what McIlhenny wanted people to believe back then, Simmons said.

"I asked Shane to tell us the truth as you find it," Simmons said. "Our interest was not in anything but trying to set the record straight."
The door to door salesman part I stated could be wrong as I read this info...


April 6, 2009, 05:42 PM
I was driving all around Louisiana following Hurricane Andrew, doing relief work.
There were dead nutria all over the roads, the ditches were full of dead nutria.

I had never seen, or heard of them before.