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Grey squirrel management

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Interesting thread, and good on you squirrel removal guys.  Realistically though we need larger scale solutions.  The wood where my sawmill is based is over 3000 acres, even if you were nearer how could you clear an area of this size with shooting?  


It is always disappointing to me that Natural Resources Wales and the Woodland Trust who manage most of that 3000 acres do nothing about the squirrels at all.  Yet they plant tens of thousands of native broadleave trees every winter, almost all of which will be adversely affected by the grey squirrels whilst young.


Why do they not have more predators?  Of course I know the answer to that - because they were introduced to the UK relatively recently and predators have not yet evolved or adapted.

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1 hour ago, sime42 said:

Anyone know why the buggers do so much bark damaging? The Greys. A guy told me once that it was all to do with territorial behaviour and the fact that they have no natural predators in this country. Frustratingly I've forgotten the details of what he said.

Until recently I didn't realise that they attacked oak trees as well. I thought it was beech and sycamore that they preferred to go for. I was doing a light reduction and thin of an oak a few weeks back and when I got to the top loads of branches were screwed with squirrel damage.

From memory, I was told that they chew the bark to get at the phloem which is a sweet sap produced in the leaves and then transported through the phloem "tubes" under the bark

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8 hours ago, Big J said:

The problem:


View to a cull: is grey squirrel the ultimate sustainable meat? | Food |  The Guardian


The answer:


Pine marten guide: how to identify, what they eat and where to see in  Britain - Countryfile.com

Can you imagine the response from the game-keepers around our way Jon! According to a lot of them, everything kills and predates on pheasants 🙄


8 hours ago, daveatdave said:

good job that non of the anti hunting lot come on here there would be hundreds of posts condemning everyone   

That will be one of those "sweeping generalisations" then!

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I'm not sure bark damage is down to food, you could try feeding them and see if that makes a difference. I thought it was more down to single males marking territory/being bored.


They certainly do go for oaks, that's the biggest problem I have. Sycamore seems their favourite and then beech, hornbeam, oak etc.


I'm not convinced by pine martens. It's going to take a number of years before there's enough to make a difference down here in Devon for example and I have concerns about their impact on other endangered wildlife such as birds.


As for reducing their numbers in a 3000 acre wood, it would seem possible if there is a serious will to do something. One problem would be stopping public access for a while. A good method of control is putting out a feeding station for a while and then shooting as it's gets them down on the ground and in a safe place.

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What is the best air gun and sights to buy for despatching rabbits and grey squirrels

Any mate tbh. Best you can afford.


You don't have to break the bank to kit yourself out with a decent air rifle. Mat Manning tests out the best air rifles under £500.
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