Stalking The Mighty Rodent: My Rat Hunting Trip
“Bob and I will illuminate the kill zone after we sneak around the corner, then just blast away,” Jim said. Â “They’re going to stream out the door pretty quickly. Â You’ll only have about eight seconds to fire.”
Eight seconds? Â That’s not much time to learn how to fire a pistol. Â Until then, I was picturing the classic video gameÂ Operation Wolf — targets would slowly move from left to right and we’d fire at our leisure while they flailed away. Eight seconds to fire off six shots? Â Our rat hunting trip was was going to be quick. Â Jim continued his lesson while we drove to the barn:
“It’s double-action, but you won’t hit anything if you use that. Â It’s too fast and you won’t be able to line up the sights.”
“The rat-shot sprays like a shotgun, so you don’t need to be dead-on, but this is close range, so you still need to be pretty accurate.”
“If you miss, you’ll just hit gravel or a board — it won’t matter. Â You won’t get near any of the pigs, and the rat-shot wouldn’t hurt them anyway. Â Well, maybe if you got in real close.”
Jim has a small pig pen and the rats invade it nightly. Â They eat the pigs’ feed and fatten up. Â Some nights, 20 will stream out. Â These regular hunting / pest control trips keep the rats scared and out of the pen. Â And it thins the population.
Up until the eight-second thing, I was gung-ho and ready to fire off a few shots at my long-time nemesis, the rat. Â I hate rats. Â They invaded our back courtyard in Chicago. Â They hung out in our dumpsters when we lived on Saint James. Â They creep me out. Â And now they were eating the pigs’ feed instead of letting the pigs turn it into bacon? Â Got to draw the line. Â Too much. Â But eight seconds?
“Jim, I’ve never shot a pistol before,” I said (and definitely not a .44 Magnum, I thought to myself). Â “And I’m not so sure my first shot should be at a target I’ve only got a second to hit.”
“Yeah, maybe I should be the shooter,” Jim agreed. Â So it was settled. Â Jim was the shooter, we’d sneak around the corner, illuminate the kill zone / doorway, and take care of these pesky rats.
And that’s pretty much how it happened. Â We snuck around the corner like ninjas after joking around and talking loudly and testing out the flashlights and loading the gun a few yards before we decided to start being stealthy. Â Rats were streaming out of the barn when we got around the corner — about 6-8 of them — and Bob and I illuminated them. Â Jim opened fired, fired five times, made us deaf, and we surveyed the damages.
“Well, one confirmed kill,” Jim said. Â He’d hit a big, fat one square. Â The rest, we decided, had limped into the brush to die slowly. Â “Real .44 ammo is a lot louder than that.”
One confirmed kill, no human casualties, and only temporary deafness — the trip was a success. Â We strategically retreated before the rats had a chance to regroup, reorganize, and overwhelm us.