The term "varminter" may refer to a varmint hunter, or describe the hunting equipments (such as a varmint rifle) either specifically designed or coincidentally suitable for the practice of varmint hunting. Varmint hunters may hunt to exterminate a nuisance animal from their own property, to collect a bounty offered by another landowner or the government, or simply as a hobby.
Shorter blowguns and smaller bore darts were used for varmint hunting by pre-adolescent boys in traditional North American Cherokees villages. They used the blowguns to cut down on smaller raiding rodents such as rats, mice, chipmunks and other mammals that cut or gnaw into food caches, seed and vegetable stores, or that are attracted to the planted vegetables. While this custom gave the boys something to do around the village and kept them out of mischief, it also worked as an early form of pest control. Some food and skins were also obtained by the boys, who hunted squirrels with blowguns well into the 20th century.
Since varmint hunting is a form of pest control, and minimally regulated by law, the definition of what constitutes a varmint firearm tends to vary by regional pests. The definitive varmints are ground burrowing animals such as groundhogs and prairie dogs. These animals are small, alert and difficult to approach closely, and hunting them requires a long-range, highly accurate rifle. Because of this, models labelled "Varminter" will generally fit the following characteristics:
Remington 700 SPS: Has a 26" heavy contour barrel with standard features that include a hinged floorplate magazine, sling swivel studs, and a drilled and tapped receiver.
Ruger No. 1 Varminter single-shot rifle; equipped with scope base and rings for telescopic sight, available in high velocity calibers with extended heavy barrels. While the trigger is factory set and locked, the trigger does include sear engagement and overtravel adjustment screws, which can be adjusted by a gunsmith.
Hunting of varmint has typically been to reduce crop loss and to stop predation of livestock. This hunting, like all forms of harvest, has imposed an artificial selection pressure on the organisms being hunted. The selection pressure on varmints is likely for younger reproduction ages and quicker maturity. Varmint hunting is also potentially selecting for behavioral changes that are desired, animals avoiding human populated areas, crops, and livestock.
^Ovington, Ray (1965). The Compact Book of Small Game and Varmints. New York: J. Lowell Pratt & Company.
^Smith, Jim "Crow". 2017. "The Modern Blowgun." The Backwoodsman "The magazine for the twentieth century frontiersman specializing in trapping, woodslore, survival, gardening, muzzleloading & homesteading". Volume 38. September/October 2017. Pages 58-60.
^Tellman, Barbara. "Varmint control in Cochise County over the years." (2005).
^Allendorf, Fred W., and Jeffrey J. Hard. "Human-induced evolution caused by unnatural selection through harvest of wild animals." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106.Supplement 1 (2009): 9987-9994.