THE BLOG
04/04/2014 11:13 am ET | Updated Jun 04, 2014

Domestic Hunter... No Regrets!

I saluted my diminutive foe to the best of my ability. I thought of Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans where Chingachook and Hawk-eye said a prayer over their fallen prey as they prepared to butcher the large 10 point buck. The two 18th century hunters expressed their respect for the beast and the fine challenge it presented in the form of the chase. They went out of their way to say it was a hunt borne of necessity and the entire carcass would be utilized from meat to hide. They showed ample respect for the animal's essence. Personally, I found it difficult to reach their level of spirituality and I wouldn't be using the deceased for anything other than refuse. As I stood over the sink, the little bugger struggled in the glue trap. Its eyes panicky and, somehow, pleading. The bowl having filled with water, I told the little guy that I was sorry and that he was honorably elusive but he picked the wrong house. I submerged the side of the trap with the little mouse stuck to it completely under the water. There were some plaintive bubbles and it was over in a few seconds. I tried not to look at the tiny rodent corpse as I placed the whole trap in a plastic bag before throwing it in the garbage. I kept telling myself it was the humane thing to do. So, why did I feel so cruel?

I'm happy to report the guilt was gone, probably, within minutes. Possibly seconds. Maybe even before I finished washing my hands. It would certainly surface again the next time I would need to euthanize another vile little rodent trapped in my house but I know by now that the feeling is absolutely fleeting. I know there are many people who believe completely in the sanctity of all life and I respect their compassion. I can empathize with that position yet I draw the line at rodents that inhabit my home. I know first-hand that this is a sensitive issue as I wrote a story on this blog about a bat I killed (self-defense actually) in my home with a tennis racket (back-hand volley actually) from which I had some real hate comments including one gentleman who said he wanted to hit me in the head with a tennis racket (over-head smash actually).

A little background to this mundane yet, somehow, adrenaline pumping subject. My little family in my suburban home in the shadow of Manhattan really doesn't respond well to critters and creatures that aren't domesticated. Where I live leans towards a country setting. We have hawks, eagles, coyote, lots of deer, raccoons, opossum and, most definitely, mice. We've never had an infestation but, here and there, a mouse family sets up shop inside the house and my family gets very unhappy very quickly. A man of the world, I'm not that effected by little rodents. Big rodents are another story that I hope to never have to tell. However, the little fellows I explain away as just coming along with country living. It's something that happens and you just deal with it. Well, actually, I deal with it because my wife and children are mortified by their presence and pretty much demand that I take care of the situation with extreme prejudice.

A quick and essential word on traps. The classic, cartoon, cheese in the spring/snap traps work pretty well. They kill the mice dead if you know what I mean. However, they are a big pain-in-the-ass to set up (I lost a fingernail arming one that exploded on my pinky) and aren't fool-proof (see pinky story) and I've seen the bait eaten and removed without any death-inducing activation. Another option that I know a certain segment of the population prefers are the humane "traps" that literally do trap the little buggers alive so you can release them in the wild until they find their way back inside the house. Groovy, live and let live vibe aside, it's disgusting to hear the tiny vermin rattling around in the trap and knowing that you have to release the little jerk into the wild. I've been kept awake by that incessant, awful sound and once had an experience where, in hand, the trap opened and the disgusting tiny beast jumped out and touched the skin on my body. Not good.

Unfortunately, for better or worse, the glue traps are the finest of all. You can catch more than one mouse. They are amazingly effective as once the mouse is stuck it cannot unstick itself. And, I like to tell myself, the little guys get to enjoy their last moments in my house and on this earth enjoying a delectable and tiny dollop of peanut butter or Nutella with, perhaps, a chocolate chip cookie crumb or Rice Krispie that I used to lure them to their inevitable capture and subsequent death. I can't help it if they are blinded by their need to nibble and must pay the final price for not being aware of their surroundings.

The only down-side to the glue traps is the scene I described above. Where the act of somewhat passively capturing my tiny and invasive prey is followed by a cold-blooded mercy killing. You see, you can't remove the little suckers from the glue (not that I would ever try). And, to just throw them in the trash still alive seems, truly cruel if not sadistic. So, I choose drowning and I know there's something awful about that. Yet, if I'm honest, the only moment I have any thoughts about it beyond wanting to be done with the disgusting endeavor is when I'm face-to-snout with the minute animal and realize that I am the last thing they will see before a face full of watery death. Sorry guys!

It's been quiet for a few days on the vermin front. Like I said, once in a while the situation arises, you deal with it and then it's back to a peaceful, critter-free reality until the next time. I tell my wife that I will always hunt, find and kill the miniscule varmints and if not we can always call the exterminator.