squirrel & Brussels sprouts questions

I have two garden issues right now that I would appreciate some help with:
1) Although I didn't see a single squirrel outdoors last year, it appears that a squirrel has moved into the area this Spring. We have only a few trees in the area, but evidently that is enough for this one. I have horrible nightmares about squirrels, mostly from the fact that they utterly destroyed my sweet corn harvest when I grew sweet corn about 10 years ago. I hadn't grown sweet corn since, mostly because I couldn't stand the thought of seeing the ears forming, only to see each stalk cut off and a tiny bit of the plant at the base munched in the mornings. Guess what I'm growing again this year? Yep, sweet corn! Although there are farm fields just a block away, this IS a 200 house development, and neighbors are pretty close. We are in the city limits, otherwise I would go out and buy a .22 rifle with a scope and take care of the critter pronto. I just caught the thing eating one of my 8 (now 5, actually) peaches. It took about 8 bites out of the rather green peach, then tried to bury the rest. Oh, and I had 19 pears on my tree in the front yard 10 days ago. Guess how many now? Only 9 left - and it looks like something bit off the stems. If I had adult trees, I could probably live with the loss of a few. However, these are small trees that I planted just last year, and the loss of "a few" will be my entire crop. That would mean that all of my watering, weeding, fertilizing, mulching - probably 80 man hours of work this season alone - would become a complete waste of my time if this rodent gets its way. My sweet corn is more than waist high now, and I'm sure it is only a matter of time if I don't do SOMETHING......
2) I also planted some Brussels Sprouts seeds way back in something like March, and got them transplanted a bit late, at the end of May. The plants look great, and have grown to be almost waist high, and sturdy looking. I've successfully warded off attacks by several waves of Cabbage Moth loopers. The trouble is, there are no "sprouts" forming. I'm only seeing loose leaflets down there, instead of compact sprouts. They get plenty of light, with no shade from trees or anything. They are mulched with straw, and I water them heavily once or twice a week, as needed. In May and June I used a 12-12-12 granular fertilizer around the plants as they were growing rapidly, but have not fertilized them since then. Any ideas on why they might not be forming the sprouts? Do they need colder weather or something?
Thanks so much!
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Buy an air rifle, some of the new ones are capable of taking out even a coyote.
Be patient with the sprouts, they take a long season.

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Some of the new ones can take down a buffalo--<g> http://www.bigboreairguns.com/07bisonhunt.htm
I have no problem killing them [squirrels] at around 100 ft with my single shot break action .177 pellet rifle. Use hollow point pellets- Mine is a Crosman Quest- < $100. Anything in the 800-1000fps range will get the job done without making a lot of noise. [that first shot will sound like a 22LR- but as the oil gets cleaned out, it is pretty quiet]
OTOH-- A couple box traps from Harbor Freight are cheaper & they are on duty 24/7. Bait with peanut butter- put trap and all in a garbage can full of water for an hour or so.
Jim
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On 8/8/2011 11:00 AM, Ohioguy wrote:

I've got a bad squirrel problem and a wife that does not like me to harm them. Back when I was growing corn, there was only one year they got at it but I never had a problem with brussel sprouts. The biggest snap rat trap will sometimes kill a squirrel. I've also popped a few with bow and arrow.
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Ohioguy wrote:

What about netting the plants?
D
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On Tue, 9 Aug 2011 08:02:47 +1000, "David Hare-Scott"
-snip-

The only 'netting' that will keep squirrels out would be a very secure cage of hardware cloth. They'll snip chicken wire in a second. They don't even think about nylon or plastic.
Water works, as long as it is over their head and they are in a cage.
Jim
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On 8/8/2011 8:32 PM, Jim Elbrecht wrote:

I second the trap too. I catch and release squirrels in the park but have only used trap when I have groundhog or raccoon problems and catch squirrels incidentally. I wish I had bought the biggest Hav-a-hart as mine is groundhog size but not big enough for mature raccoons.
You also need to check local laws. Around here you can catch and kill but are not supposed to release. Some places you are not allowed to trap.
Something else I learned was that it is a good idea to close the trap at night as you might have to deal with a trapped skunk. I have a couple of times and fortunately was able to open trap and release without getting sprayed.
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On Tue, 09 Aug 2011 07:45:04 -0400, Frank
-snip-

Harbor freight sells a set of 3 for about $30 every spring. I reinforced the big one with a piece of angle iron across the threshold- but otherwise they have been pretty reliable.

Good points- both.

I've trapped on and off for 40 years. Last year was the first time I caught a skunk. Glad it was in the live trap. I walked out with a blanket kept between my and the skunk- covered the trap- propped the door open- and stood back.
Mr. skunk stayed in so I went inside-- got my camera- set it up for motion detection and a movie, and went back inside.
A couple hours later, the skunk walked slowly out of the trap- on to the next meal. They are the most docile animal I've ever seen. I caught his brother the next night & repeated the story.
Another 100 nights or so of the trap being out there & I haven't caught another. They appear to be fast learners.
Jim
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On 8/9/2011 2:12 PM, Jim Elbrecht wrote:

My last skunk had 3 kids with her. With mom in the trap the kids were running all around it and jumping on it. Fortunately the trap was under my 10 ft. deck and I was able to reach down with a pole pruner and open the trap. She got out but they were in no hurry to leave. I regret not filming or videotaping.
They say skunks won't spray when confined and I've heard of folks covering the trap and transporting the animal to release but I would never take that chance.
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says...

I transport and release in a safe place away from traffic.
Skunks will spray when confined but IME they've been younger skunks.
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