Eamonn Mahoney

Date: December 9, 2016

Passing on Family Tradition – Family, Friends and the Outdoors.

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Vermin are a nightmare to the gamekeeper or small holding. Anyone who has a few chickens around their garden will be more than aware of this. From the tiny mouse right up to the cunning fox and everything in between, vermin can cause major upset and headaches.

I use many different types of vermin control from mouse traps, bait boxes, live catch traps, snares, rifle and shotgun. I have two young sons Conor who is six years old and Daniel who is seven, who are keen to be out with our livestock and poultry, helping me feed and maintain them.

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We only have a few livestock on our small holding but vermin are a constant nuisance. I have been showing my boys the different types of vermin to watch out for and trying to teach them ways of identifying them and choosing the correct method required to deal with each case as, or preferably before, they arise.

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Simple tasks like laying out mouse and rat bait boxes and setting rat traps in breeze blocks {9” cavity blocks} so that small birds can’t fall victim to the traps is where I started with my two lads.

A couple of years back they witnessed the carnage a fox can do to poultry when our turkey poults were killed. That particular fox was lamp shy and proved to be very difficult to apprehend. But with the aid of the Nitesite Wolf I was able to call the problem fox in close enough to make a clean kill with the rifle.

It was a winters evening and it got dark early, so I was able to bring my older lad with me to my make shift hide and he was able to see first-hand how I deal with problem vermin. The next day I showed both lads the fox and they got their first real look, touch and smell of a wild fox albeit a dead one! Feral cats were also a large problem in our area for a while and live catch traps and humane dispatch was the only way I could clear the area of them.

Magpies and crows are a constant headache especially when it comes to my feed store, bulk bags on a dodgy trailer! I have caught and dispatched countless magpies using my homemade Larsen traps and also with my homemade ladder traps. Crows are the main culprit to fall fowl of the ladder trap and it is a very easy and effective trap to construct and allows for multiple birds to be caught at once.

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I enjoy having my lads out with me around the small holding and as they are getting bigger and older they are really getting into every aspect of the great outdoors, from bird watching, catching bugs, caring for our livestock and basically forming their own love for our countryside.

As the secretary of my local gun club I have introduced the lads to the rearing process of pheasants and brought them out almost every time to set bait traps to show them the vast array of vermin we have to manage and eradicate each year as a form of protection for our birds.

I’ve never try to push or force my views on my style of vermin control and all that is involved in our beloved country sports onto my two lads, but instead encourage them to form their own views and ideals on how vermin should be dealt with just as my own father did with me.

Every animal, vermin or not has a place within the food chain but it’s when they put our livestock and poultry at risk then it’s time to carryout a necessary measure of control.

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As Bill Jordan and Realtree say: Family, Friends and the Outdoors.

If you’re interested in pest control and like to learn more, please click here to read Eamonn’s step by step guide to building home made traps.

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