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Baiting rats – some hints and tips

What should you use for the best results? Mat Manning advises a reader.

rat with night vision

The Wraith’s sharp image quality enabled Mat to achieve precise pellet placement

Baiting rats

Q: I often use small heaps of bait to keep rats still while I use my airgun to control them around my friend’s farmyard — breadcrumbs and chicken feed work well. But it made me wonder whether it would be possible to use larger volumes of free offerings to lure the rodents out from areas where it is either difficult or unsafe to shoot them. Would this work? (Read more on ratting with an air rifle.)

A: I often use feeding stations for rat shooting, and it can work very well. As you suggest, it can be a very effective way to entice the rodents away from areas where it is tricky to target them. The hoppers I normally use for squirrel shooting work perfectly well — I load them with cut maize instead of peanuts. I usually leave them in situ for three or four nights, so the rats are well on to them when I return with my airgun. (Read the best air rifles for pest control.)

How to use an airgun for rat control

It may be messy but liquidised cat food is great for keeping fidgety rats exactly where you want them

How to use an airgun for rat control

If you don’t want the hassle of using cat food, small fishing pellets will keep rats still while you take aim

Shoot frequently

One important stipulation when baiting rats like this is that you need to shoot frequently. Otherwise, you could be making the problem worse by feeding and therefore attracting more rodents.