Hunting Down Farmyard Pests With Technology


[Snypercat] makes no bones about the fact that she despises rats, and does everything in her power to keep them off her farm. We can’t blame her though – they spread disease, eat other animals’ food, and can get your farm shut down if there are too many running about. While most of us might hire an exterminator or set out a ton of traps, she chooses to take a far more hands-on approach, hunting down each and every one of those little buggers with an air rifle.

If you’ve ever gone rat hunting in the dark (and who hasn’t?), you know that it can be difficult to aim in the dead of night. Night vision scopes can be expensive, but [Snypercat] shows how you can make your own scope that gives you the added benefit of recording your kills along the way. She happened to have a Sony camcorder with built-in night vision capabilities, and with a bit of tweaking she was able to mount it on her rifle’s scope. An IR flashlight was mounted on the rifle as well, giving her enhanced visibility without spooking her prey.

Be sure to check out the pair of videos below to see how [Snypercat] attached the camcorder to the scope, along with how well it works in the field.

[via HackedGadgets]



66 thoughts on “Hunting Down Farmyard Pests With Technology

  1. A camera with a small viewfinder as opposed to a flip-out screen would be better, as the shooter won’t be illuminating their own face…the proof is in the pudding though.

    1. The saying actually goes: “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

      “The proverb literally says that you won’t know whether food has been cooked properly until you try it. Or, putting it figuratively, don’t assume that something is in order or believe what you are told, but judge the matter by testing it; it’s much the same philosophy as in seeing is believing and actions speak louder than words.”

  2. AWESOME. (Also: in before whiners who have a problem with somebody killing vermin.)

    Now I just need to get on with the City Council about that ten-cents-a-corpse bounty, and I’ll have a way to pass the time at night!

    1. Your “Cat” is self-powering? Mine must be broken then – it requires a significant amount of external resources in the form of food, litter, treats, and pants.

  3. This is so clever of her. She has such steady aim. Although the rats seem to pose for her. I wish I had thought of this. I could have had a lot of fun targeting and shooting rats too, while growing up in New York.

  4. Hate it when they twitch like that. Would prefer to use either a .22 pellet rifle or use a bolt rifle with CB caps – a very quiet .22 caliber cartridge that is roughly the same speed as a pellet rifle in projectile velocity, but heavier and more effective.

    Killing rats is necessary on a farm, and any other way (arrows, traps, etc) means you have to handle their dead bodies which is comprises a biohazard risk.

    Regarding the scope: there are a lot of cheap cameras out there that do IR, but what of those special “astronomy cameras” that are highly light sensitive and require no illuminator? Are any of those available for such a project?

  5. Whatever you do rats are always going to be pain, because they are always searching for weaknesses in defenses, so they can survive. The first order in the business of nuisance critter control is to shore up, and maintain your defenses so they go elsewhere. I live in a rural location, I’m not above dispatching nuisance cats racoons, skunks, so I care little about the demise of rats or the nature of that demise. This gal is one hell of a shot. I have a hard time getting a photo subject framed in the LCD of a digital camera, much less locating rats in one. Cats are OK, but nothing beats watching a rat terrier doing what it was breed to do.

  6. Did you notice, how their eyes are glowing ?
    So make it awesome : add video processing with rat face recognition then put stepper motor and you’ll get a nice automatic air rifle turret :D

  7. Lol! I was thinking on an automated turret. Maybe a program that can seek out and fire at the bright spots (eyes)! Although, then it gets complicated for rat verification… Lol! Lots of things shine at night with IR!

      1. I actually think an Arduino would be capable enough for that.

        If you use composite video you get the picture line by line with analog values of the picture brightness.

        Using the comparator in the Arduino would be enough to convert the analog signal to 1 bit to filter out high lights. The video experimenter shield helps you sort out all the different sync signals.

        To detect an eye one just look for a high light in the right size.
        When an eye is found it is an easy task to control the motors so the eye is in the center of the aim, and when it is… shoot!

        And add an ambient light sensor and IR filter to lessen the risk of accidents.
        And only use a thing like that in a closed space where nothing anyone care for will be… ever.

  8. I love these awesome homemade night-vision projects. I stumbled upon Snypercat’s videos just a few days ago while doing a little design research for my project.

    I’m actually in the process of building something very similar. The rats in my area are a real PITA. Instead of using a camcorder, I am mounting a low-lux b&w camera out of a security cam behind a cheap scope (UTG 4×32 – I chose this one for the short, 1.5″ eye-relief). I yanked a CRT viewfinder off a dead VHS camcorder and stuffed it in a “LH” 3/4″ conduit box. All I have to do is wait for the IR LED’s to arrive in the mail to assemble the spot light, then mount the box to the scope, and the scope to my rifle. Powering the whole shebang with two 9-volt batteries. Basically, I am mating two of the projects and finagling in my own changes as well.

    It worked in the dry run, so, hopefully, the whole thing goes together smoothly.

  9. Nice work.. if you really hate rats though you could move to Alberta – I’ve never seen a rat in Alberta at least not the rodent kind ;) “Played” with ’em on the streets of Seattle and Hong Kong but they’re pretty much non-existent in Alberta.

    Start at 1:20 min mark here:
    It’s worth watching the whole thing ( on the real high quality bluray extras of Ratatouille).

    We do have mice though… but they’re a bit harder target…

  10. One of my fondest memories,
    Is of sitting on top of a factory roof in South China (Shenzhen)
    With a group of engineers, air rifles, night scopes and a shit load of beer whilst hunting the massive rats hanging about in the open sewers below.
    The beer was paid for by selling the ‘beef’ rats to a local restaurant, anyone who watches mainland TV will know that this is a far more interesting way to pass time.

  11. pretty sure it’s a .30-06, seven lands and grooves, right-hand twist …(from Dirty Harry).

    Unfortunately the camcorder ruins the rifle ergonomics.

    This would be a moot exercise though if the rats don’t spook easily with visible light, and you can plink them with just a normal scope and a run-of-the-mill Fenix or Surefire.

  12. My kind of lady. I could definitely use on of those around here. I do like the idea of setting up sentry guns and targeting for the light that shines off their eyes. You’d make a fortune selling those.

  13. She needs to mount that sucker in her T-16 and head to Beggar’s Canyon!

    (I can’t believe I’m the first one here to make a “womp rats” reference! I’m not even a Star Wars fan-boy…)

  14. This kinda creeps me out. The video itself is a little eerie, but I can understand needing to kill farm pests.

    The part that worries me is the link to cruel mouse traps under the favorites of her youtube channel. Watching a mouse struggle in a trap that is designed to glue it in place so it starves to death seems more than a little sadistic. Is that there because our friendly hacker/hunter wants us to see the alternative?

    1. Actually that video appears to be a cautionary tale, speaking out AGAINST traps that cause unnecessary suffering. At the end of the video it says:
      “Please kill your mice fast and quick…REDNECK STYLE!!!”


    2. If you’ve ever seen an animal die of rat poison you might find sticky traps pretty tame by comparison. Rat poison breaks down cell walls so animals bleed to death internally. Not pretty to watch.

  15. VERY cool! Considering we’ve got racoons, coyotes and other “interesting” critters now running around (and making mayhem)here in NJ, I may have yet another project in the to-do list.

  16. I’m sorry if my first post was too rude for the new, PC HAD, but honestly you’re skirting the line of politeness vs. squelching differing opinion.

    What rubs me the wrong way about this “hack” isn’t just that it isn’t very impressive, rather that it comes off as something made by and for redneck morons (I’m sorry, I don’t know any constructive way to say this).

    Hailing from the country myself and having spent a great deal of my childhood in barns with horses and holsteins I have experience with barn pests (solution: barn cats for rats & voles, dogs for groundhogs). If you do have to shoot em’, fine, filming it and sharing it on the internet just makes you seem like an uneducated simpleton.

    Where I’m from hunters have respect for what they kill (no matter how small). Only visiting a*holes from the burbs and dumb as nails rednecks think it’s hilarious to kill things.

    I knew of some idiots who welded a spike to the front of their pickup and went “deer hunting”. Perhaps I should track them down and have them submit their “hack” to HAD?

    1. I did not see your first post but by judging by the way you come across in this one, you were likely just as big an a-hole there.

      I suppose I don’t follow the logic in your comment. It is fine to breed what would normally be considered indoor household pets to kill vermin for you and tell the world about it on a public forum, however you are an uneducated simpleton if you do the job yourself and film it in the process?

      I have no need to see animals snuffed out on film but I do think this is a clever use of the technology she had on hand. I would venture to guess that she respects the rats as much as they respect her farm. Nuisance animals like rats that spread disease and interfere with the raising of animals or crops have to be dealt with. I realize that deer can be a hassle at times, but nowhere near the scale of a rat infestation.

      I fail to see the logic in your comparing a purposeful elimination of disease-ridden, harmful pests to the senseless slaughter of a large, relatively harmless animal that is protected under hunting laws. Maybe its just me.

      1. I don’t mind the shooting, I mind turning it into entertainment. I suppose the concept of nuisance animals can be easily extended to include human beings who get some dumb kick out of “shootin’ things dead”. If I’m an a*hole for saying it I’ll take that any day.

      2. Oh, and sorry, cats and dogs are very much working animals. Cats have been guarding granaries/human food sources for thousands of years (this is actually how they came to be domesticated). I wasn’t really suggesting that anyone needed to “train” cats to hunt mice.

        Obviously many breeds of dogs are working dogs…

      3. @FDP, your cats you love so much? Yeah well a few escaped, killed the local birds around my area, killed the pets I had in my back yard. Well, killed most of ’em. Some it just mauled a bit.

        Filming this shows…
        A. How well the hack works.
        B. Her shooting skills. Does the fact that the target is a rat instead of a bit of dead tree bother you that much?

  17. I instantly remembered that I had an old camcorder in the basement when I read this in the morning. I rigged it up in about an hour with a modified pill bottle with the 1 quarter ( one eight maybe) turn. It snaps right on the scope pretty tight to. It messed up the ergonomics quite a bit, however, a butt stock extension would make it much better. Removed the ir filter just need some ir leds now. I was really surprised the pill bottle actually worked, let alone nicely. Snap on, snap off.

  18. while this is cool, being on hackaday, I expected that this nighttime chore had been turned into a videogame. the most complicated part of making it a videogame would be to automate the reloading process. everything else would be basically a CCTV setup and mapping to a joystick/keyboard. press ‘R’ to reload.. then you don’t get ate up by mosquitoes, which I didn’t see in the video anyway.

  19. Nice, we have cats, and sometimes they just need a little help. Heck, I’d probably say that cats killing them is the least humane. Haha, have you seen how much they toy with them first? Ouch.. Besides, I recommend using a flyback/neon sign transformer wired up to a h.fet sensor alarm, all wrapped up in a small cage/box (to keep out kitties). Very nice, even if it only stuns them until you come great them. :)

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