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Feeder ignored for 2 weeks, finally seeing a few but scarpering at 100 metres.

They seem to be reacting to other pressures from the keeping staff.

Did think I might be in with a long range shot at one stage only to be bumped by dog walkers. 🙃

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Hello to all you professionals , I checked my feeders again today 5 in total and only one had a little gone out of it ,I must admit I have not experienced so little activity before is this to do with having young or time of year ?,do I keep feeders topped up and wait for like someone said some young to appear ? I know these are daft questions probably but any help is good help Thanks .

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13 hours ago, Morkin said:

Hello to all you professionals , I checked my feeders again today 5 in total and only one had a little gone out of it ,I must admit I have not experienced so little activity before is this to do with having young or time of year ?,do I keep feeders topped up and wait for like someone said some young to appear ? I know these are daft questions probably but any help is good help Thanks .

There not daft questions,  lots of folks feeders have been quiet, the females are busy having young, the trees are just starting to bud and some areas still have natural food around.

What have you got in your feeders?

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I went into a wood this last week where I expected to shoot double figures and sat for three hours and did not see a single squirrel.  This is a wood of 40 acres and I am the only one to sort the squirrels and I only go there two or three times a year and my best day there was 19.  Things are a bit strange I must admit.  Things will pick up eventually.  I'm seeing nothing on trail cams either. 

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Morkin, I sympathise- I often have this problem and don’t have an answer.

Some woods attract greys straight away, some just don’t, even though there are greys about. The worst are the feeders that do well and then just stop, even if they haven’t been shot.

I use quality bait with maize, sunflower seeds and peanuts - (they always leave the wheat). Unfortunately, after a few weeks, if the feeder isn’t touched, the food goes mouldy because it’s so damp up here. It’s very frustrating.

Luckily, in the winter, I can shoot them using the thermal.

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It has been a year with very good natural food, combined with a focus on breeding it is often a difficult few months.

One tactic I utilise in March is to fire an air rifle pellet at a drey and see who pops their head out for a look, combined with a very stealth approach  this can be very productive compared to sitting on feeders. However with that said don't neglect the feeders and keep them topped up as they will be sort out by juvenile animals very soon.

Edited by Goldfish
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After some 6 months absence I am helping with the lambing at my permission.During a quieter moment I top up one of the feeders and sat concealed in the wood shed watching out for squirrels.Only saw two in an hour and both went straight past the feeder and skipped over the peanuts on the ground.Most odd as usually these squirrels take all the food they can.They appeared unusually cautious,tail waging etc.

No one else shoots over there and they have had pretty much the place to themselves since lockdown.....although that will change soon🤗

Good news though it was nice to see great tits and nuthatches enjoy the feeder.

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I've just been out preparing for the morning,  it was cold and wet this morning plus I was tired so straight to bed,  feels like I woke up in July!

I've put my brolley and net up ready so its quicker and quieter to get set in the morning,  I'll be in the wood for 6:30 ish, but its already light now, watch nothing show up!!

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Ok I did it, went and bought an Axion XQ38F yesterday. Only shone it down the road last night as had my Oxford jab yesterday and feeling a bit poorly been awake since 1:00am, I'm sure it will pass hopefully in the next few hours so I can get out in a bit and test it out.

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2 hours ago, powler said:

Ok I did it, went and bought an Axion XQ38F yesterday. Only shone it down the road last night as had my Oxford jab yesterday and feeling a bit poorly been awake since 1:00am, I'm sure it will pass hopefully in the next few hours so I can get out in a bit and test it out.

Its going to be a warm day, don't be disappointed once the tree's and air warm up,  your local park is a good place to start so you can watch the tame squirrels.

Hope your feeling better as the day goes on 👍

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2 hours ago, powler said:

Ok I did it, went and bought an Axion XQ38F yesterday. Only shone it down the road last night as had my Oxford jab yesterday and feeling a bit poorly been awake since 1:00am, I'm sure it will pass hopefully in the next few hours so I can get out in a bit and test it out.

Get well soon and well done, a game changer, spotting squirrels has never been so easy. I’ve lost count of the number of squirrels I’ve shot while the squirrel thought it was hiding.

As Mice says learn the settings and head to the park 👍

Edited by Goldfish
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I'd like to say the plan worked but I'd been in place for an hour before a squirrel showed up, although I was comfortable and more settled so I'm having in.

First squirrel arrived and was really twitchy,  changing direction tail going on top of the feeder lid, so I waited for it to settle and take a nut, only it didn't it vanished! It didn't go up it went left?

Two maybe three minutes later another bigger squirrel comes along, straight up onto the feeder,  bangs the lid, takes a nut and sits back, Pfft whack on the ground,  leg twitches and it's over.

I gave it an hour then got up to stretch,  moved the big lad and put some nuts on the ledge for the birds, then settled back thinking I'll have another twenty minutes watching the birds 🙂

About thirty minutes later 😇😇 another squirrel appeared,  but its hiding behind the feeder,  then pokes it's head out, I'm convinced it was the first squirrel again,  still acting strange but I didn't wait this time, Pfft crack down it goes,  does a flip flop and goes out of sight.

I got up to go and check it's dead and there was another squirrel behind me that didn't hang around.

The squirrel was dead about two metres from the feeder.

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Bits of twig to show the shot placement,  the bigger squirrel at the top was sat relaxed maybe thirty degrees off straight,  no exit wound and dropped like a brick. 

Second was absolutely side on and the pellet went clean through, it wasn't relaxed. Being critical I've hit a touch right and low, but how that squirrel went anywhere I don't know. 

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Exactly the same range and shooting position,  doesn't take much for things to work out differently. 

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They are tough little beasties which I am glad do not grow to labrador size.  I have whacked a few straight through the ribs behind the shoulder with a 22RF and they have scampered off tail erect for 15-20yrds before expiring.

Out this afternoon for an hour or two just to see if there has been any movement at the feeders.  Looks like a week of tidy weather here in the Midlands so plan to get out most mornings again.  I still have to try out my decoy.

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Well, went to one of my flip top feeders and it had not been toughed. Long walk there so stayed for 2 1/2 hrs but apart from a great show of nuthatches and a few great tits, nothing else.  Called at another fliptop on the way back and that was half empty so will have a look there Friday morning. Not expecting more than one or two as it is ten days since I topped that off.

I think I have just got the numbers down to almost zero in those locations, like my own 10 acres wood. Neme of the game.

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Another pair of males today from the feeder on the hill, and one was covered in ticks again,  be careful out there guys .

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All over behind his shoulders and around the throat. 

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Thats a right infestation of tics on the one grey, not noticed any in my neck of the woods but will keep me eyes open.

Been trying out the new thermal quite a good bit of kit took two with it making an impact first one was a runner sitting high up a tree. Two squirrels feeding on the edge of woodland in the ground, leaning on a fence I shot the first and the second ran into the trees, so by the time I delicately climbed over the barbed wire fence I had a problem of spotting him but the axion didn't, he was high up an Ash tree. 

To be honest I would of probably seen him with the naked eye as he broke the skyline but with the axion it was very quick and easy to spot.

The second squirrel that the axion came into play on was one doing the upside peeking around a tree trunk trick, this was on another Ash tree at about 50yds distance so I managed to side step behind more trees and the keeping them in between the Ash tree and myself get a lot closer, once close I could see the edge of his tail and also he didn't really have no were to go either directly up or down so I got right up on the tree, tried the throwing a stick the other side, then my hat tricks. He didn't come around but he climbed higher as he had no branches to jump to, this was thinner trunk so easy to see him, a load of 32g No5 and down he came. A great big male

I took a few photos using the thermal, photo quality is poor but they show it working first is awe on the right and a squirrel on the left at about 280/300yds, second a high seat warming up.

The one thing that I would improve on it is a rubber eyepiece as light seeping in around my eye makes using it more difficult in bright daylight.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, powler said:

Thats a right infestation of tics on the one grey, not noticed any in my neck of the woods but will keep me eyes open

It's just something to be aware of, some folk don't even think about ticks being on squirrels. 

Lad on the Agf found this.

Grey squirrels could act as an alternative host for ticks. Based on other studies of invasive species, they may either increase or decrease the number of infected ticks in the environment, an important risk factor for human infections.

The researchers tested 679 squirrels from across Scotland and the North of England in 2012 and 2013. They found that 
grey squirrels often carried ticks, and could be infected with all four of the Borrelia species found in the UK. Around 12% of the collected squirrels were infected, and surprisingly, the most frequent infection was a species usually found in birds."

 

Edited by Mice!
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2 hours ago, powler said:

spotting him but the axion didn't, he was high up an Ash tree

This is the benifit and curse, I had packed up Thursday morning,  everything away,  so gun bag, feed bag, game bag which doubles as my seat with padding in and rod bag for the brolley and sticks (travelling light 😭😭) then I had a quick scan before I left.

I hadn't been stealthy or quiet, I'd filled the feeder but at the top in the trees behind the feeder was another squirrel,  twenty minutes we played before it ran off out the tree at road runner speed.

Brilliant kit though, unless you're watching a pigeon or sheep that are actually beyond the trees but a good distance away looking like squirrel sized lumps 😅😅

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1 hour ago, Mice! said:

Brilliant kit though, unless you're watching a pigeon or sheep that are actually beyond the trees but a good distance away looking like squirrel sized lumps 😅😅

Yes had that a few times yesterday and also a hare lay up by some brambles which looked partly like charlie fox so had me stalking/creeping for some 150yds to get within shotty range, did get to 20yds from him.

 

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I had a report this morning from a lady who use to have Red Squirrels visiting her garden. She hadn’t seen them last year, but grey squirrels were harvesting her walnuts last autumn. I loaned her a live trap and we removed 4 Grey Squirrels. 
This morning she messaged to say she had seen Red Squirrels back in her garden over the last two days, and still no grey squirrels. That’s what it is all about.

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