Prince Charles 'declared war on Britain's three-million strong grey squirrel population yesterday', according to an article in today's Daily Mail newspaper, who saw fit to give it a whole page's worth of coverage. Well, I've been saying that for years - and I know plenty of other airgunners who concur with the Prince's views!
Of course, there's the usual 'but they're cute and nice' claims from the RSPCA and bushy-tail lovers - but I'm pleased to say that, for once, the journalism was pretty unbiased. It laid out the case extremely well, citing the ever-increasing numbers of this pest as being a major reason for the extinction of our native red squirrel.
Tree-rats - as we airgunners prefer to call them - do untold damage in the wild, raiding songbirds' nests (for eggs and chicks) and killing young saplings. They strip the bark to wear away their ever-growing molars and to line their own nests with.
But the Mail also pointed out that the grey squirrel - which is not an indigenous critter to these shores, having been introduced from the Americas in the late Nineteenth Century) - causes untold havoc in the city. There are reports of them eating through lofts, cables... you name it, they've ruined it.
So, with HRH's full backing, I'll be taking a lightweight carbine - either the Prestige Kub or Brocock Concept - into the woods this weekend for a spot of grey-bashing... and I suspect there will be plenty of other airgunners straining to train their sights through the summer foliage to pick out the flick of a grey-brown tail, too.
Unless you shoot in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire or Bedfordshire that is. Apparently, you've got a strain of aggressive 'black' squirrels to contend with. (Better use a scope with an IR reticle then!)
So as long as it's not red, the squirrel is now officially Britain's no. 1 pest species - and you've been ordered by none other than the future King of England to exterminate them!