Previous Post
Next Post

I’m not a bird hunter. I don’t have anything against it, just haven’t had the opportunity to go. I’m sure it would be fun. In the mean time, I confine my shotgun use to trap fields. But while I’m no bird-shooting expert, I’m pretty sure that the tool of choice for downing our feathered friends is a scatter gun. You get a nice wide pattern at typical shooting distances making it a lot easier to hit what you’re aiming at when what you’re aiming at is a bird on the wing. I’m guessing Gilford Root isn’t a bird hunter either…

Root’s a farmer in Fremont Ohio and has an ornithological infestation problem. Bunches of bothersome black birds have been eating his crops. So farmer Root decided to exact some retribution with extreme prejudice. Only one problem: he chose the wrong tool.

Instead of using a smooth bore and birdshot, Root chose a .22 rifle as his weapon of choice. And he didn’t confine himself to shooting at birds on the ground.

…Root allegedly unloaded about 50 rounds into the skies over his land. But what goes up, must come down.

About 15 of those bullets rained down on two nearby buildings that send employees ducking for cover.

Fortunately, no one (not even a woman) was struck by one of the strays. I don’t know how many birds Root actually hit using his rifle, but my guess is the tally was a lot lower than if he’d been using a shotgun. The right tool for the right job and all that. Another benefit of using a shotgun: even using a twelve gauge, the shotfall area’s no more than 300 yards.

In the mean time, Root has plead not guilty to charges of discharging a firearm on prohibited property. If he doesn’t already have one, I’m hoping Mrs. Root breaks down and buys Gilford a nice 870 for Christmas this year, because all Santa’s likely to leave under the tree is a lump of coal.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Nothing wrong with a 22 rifle for shooting large birds, as long as they are on the ground or perched on something. When I was a kid we used to take grouse with a 22 pistol, but we never shot at them while they were flying.
    A shotgun is a lot better choice, however.

  2. Reminds me of reading about a group of folks talking a guy out of shooting a pesky woodpecker (a protected species) off his roof with a .22 rifle.

    I don’t care what you want to shoot pest birds with, so long as you know that the projectiles are going to safe backstop. It’s sort of hard ensure that when shooting handgun or rifle up into the air, though.

  3. I love shooting turkeys with a .22 LR – even though I only rarely get the opportunity anymore. Turkey are abundent in my cousin’s grape vineyards but he lives a long way from me. A headshot on a turkey at 50-100 yards is not that difficult with a properly scoped and dialed bolt gun. Way better than picking shotgun pellets out of te meat.

    • You can’t do that in Virginia. Turkey are considered “big” game and so you are limited to shotguns or a rifle of no less then 23 caliber. That effectively limits you to a shotgun. You hit the bird in the body with a 243 and you no longer have a bird to eat.

  4. When I was a kid, I would pick cattle egrets and the occasional heron (eating our good fishing perch…) out of the air with a .22 with no complications, as we lived in the middle of Nowhere, Texas, 15 miles from anything. And I was a crack shot, so no worries about bullets not getting caught by birds.

  5. Back when I worked commercial hog farms we tended to have problems with Sparrows getting in the barns and eating the feed and spreading disease. We used 22 rifles with shot shells. Those little pellets wouldn’t damage the roof or anything inside the barn. I got pretty good at hitting them on the wing with the 22 shot shell. Not as versatile as the 870 but a lot cheaper. My granddaddy would also shoot blackbirds with a 22 rifle and shot shells. He just had to let the city know he was doing it.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here