I own backyard chickens. We have a horse, three dogs, and a menagerie of animals. Somewhere, I have a hamster that escaped a cage and manages to turn up now and again.
I am also someone who has fired more than one gun. I grew up and took a “Hunter’s Safety” course, and my father owns a gun safe full of weapons, mostly antique or special items that are just showy pieces—in other words, not the kind of weapon you would equate with an AR-15. Still, I’ve been to a shooting range and I’ve fired an AR-15 at targets.
I am here to call gigantic bullshit on those who tell you this is a weapon of choice in taking out small animals. Complete and total bullshit. The reason why I know? Because before I had backyard chickens, I spent part of my youth dealing with a farm that raised chickens—and a whole lot more than the 15 I have in my backyard. We dealt with snakes, possums, and other critters and, uh, there were no AR-15s around for farmers to buy and they generally didn’t need them. Why? Because a chicken coop itself was hardened with nice strong walls or mesh wire, and when the coops were properly constructed, those creatures had no access. This was important because on a farm, you were concerned about the chickens, the eggs, and everything you were producing.
When I’ve fired an AR-15 at a range, it only took a few attempts to repeatedly get a nice cluster. As the target came back to me, I looked at the ground behind it and you could see the giant splash-through the bullets made. Seriously? A standard air-rifle, which will not kill a human for the most part, will decimate a prairie dog and seriously wound a raccoon, or any “small varmint.”
In fact, that is exactly what is recommended:
My approach toward raccoons had been in the context of pest control. There’s no doubt airguns are great for this application because airguns are quiet and effective and can be used in more populated areas — this is exactly the type of environment where you’ll often find raccoons.
Air guns will not (in general) kill a human. But if you love guns and hate raccoons, I guess there is a solution for you. So why, oh why, choose an AR-15? Why rely on a weapon you can’t use in any sort of even semi-populated area without risking a stray bullet, when you can buy an air gun to kill said small animals for a fraction of the cost of an AR-15?
We have got to start getting real about what happens next with gun laws in America. When we are more concerned about protecting chickens than children, something is seriously messed up.
That said (and apologies to my vegan friends), I now feel like a chicken salad for lunch.
What are you doing this weekend?