It’s apparently mouse hunting season

Every year about this time, my youngest son announces the need to reopen the mouse hunting season in his chicken coop. But this year, he’s got his sights on one mouse in particular.

As the weather starts getting colder each year, the mice start moving into the chicken coop. They have plenty of food, if they can dodge the chickens on the way to and from the feeder, and the straw keeps the little varmints warm and dry. By early January, they start becoming populous enough in the coop to attract my son’s attention. He’s the family chicken rancher, and he is very protective of his flock.

He’s offended by any mice in the coop, but this year, there’s one mouse in particular that has attracted Logan’s attention. This mouse would make the Boone and Crockett books, if they kept records for the species. It’s huge. I finally saw it the other day, and at first I thought it was a rat, or at least a ground squirrel. It’s so big, I don’t know if it would even fit in the mouse trap we use to keep the coop free of rodents. That trap is one of those live traps that doesn’t use bait – it simply has a tunnel the mice are naturally attracted to, but when they go in the tunnel, they’re flung into a catch pen until they can be dealt with more or less humanely.

Since this mouse won’t fit through that tunnel, Logan and I have decided we’re going to have to hunt it. The tricky thing is, we have to be careful of the 20-some chickens who also live in the coop. Since that giant mouse is never active when the chickens are outside during the day, we’re going to have to catch it as it weaves under and around the roosted birds at night.

We’ve contemplated trying to net it, but we’re pretty sure there would be unacceptable collateral damage. We even thought about turning the cat loose in there, but I am absolutely certain that would end badly for the chickens.

I think this is going to have to be a true mouse hunt. We’ll have to go in at night with the pellet gun, and maybe put out some mouse bait. Then we’ll have to wait, like we would for a whitetail under a tree stand. If nothing else, it’ll be good practice for next hunting season.

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