Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Squirrel Hunting 11/11/14

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As much as I like deer and turkey hunting, there is something special about squirrel hunting. I guess that I associate the good things of squirrel hunting to fishing. See, in deer hunting, your absolute best day involves shooting 1 deer. You best day fishing? Well, who knows? It could be catching 100 fish. Or maybe a massive sack and winning a tournament. Like fishing, there is usually plenty of action. 

I took off a little early this past Friday to meet up with my friend Neil and do some hunting. I got started a little before he did and managed to do some scouting. I was amazed at how active the squirrels were. I managed to get around 30 shots, bagging 2 before he got there. Like fishing, just because you get a hook in a fish doesn't mean you get it in the boat. One thing I have learned about squirrels is, if you don't get a head shot, you may not bag them....even if you punch several holes in them. You would think I would have learned my lesson, since I grew up hunting them. 

But then I got to thinking, due to my hunting habits as a kid, I didn't get a lot of action. See, growing up, we would go sit stationary and wait for the squirrels. And, when we did get a shot, we used a good Marlin with a terrible Tasco scope. The best I EVER did was 2 squirrels in one day. 

Last year, I put together a Ruger 10/22. Nothing special, other than I spent a good amount of money on it. You can read about the gun in my Ruger 10/22 Build

Because I had a better firearm, I was able to see the squirrels so much better with the 9 power, 40mm scope. I could find them at greater ranges and resolve them, which I couldn't do. 

I also tweaked my approach to hunting them by covering more ground. Basically, I would walk around until I found active ones. 

I was amazed how my production sky rocketed. I don't think I have been out for a long hunt without bagging 3-4 of them in an hour. 

So by the time Neil showed up, I had two in the bag and had missed (well, they got away but I know I hit them) several. I gave him my old Marlin and I used the Ruger. We found out pretty quick how useless that Marlin was compared to the Ruger, so I swapped off with him. We stumbled into an area with 5 or 6 active ones and he was able to bag one. 

Took them home and cleaned them up. 

Saturday, we went to a cookout/ball game party. After Auburn lost to TAMU, I was pretty down. I had these squirrel legs defrosting, so I decided to cook them up for my friends. 

I let them set in a marinade for 30 minutes as I heated up an iron skillet. A double egg bath/flour dusting and in the pan they went. They didn't last long. 

I will admit, it made me feel better.


Well, the  next day Griffin (5) said he wanted to go hunting. That was a surprise. He hasn't shown any real interest in sports or hunting/fishing. So, if he wanted to go...we were going. While I loved hunting as a kid, I was terrified of guns. I was amazed that he showed little to no fear as I fired several times at one  squirrel In fact, after I supplied a head-shot, the squirrel fell out of the tree and landed with a plop about 20 yards away, and Griffin thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen.

We went to retrieve the squirrel. I told him to kneel down and take a pic of it, which he did. I snapped this pic. right afterwards, he looked down and started screaming.

"It isn't dead! It isn't dead! It isn't dead!"

Of course, I stared laughing and yelling that it was. 

"NO! It's looking RIGHT AT ME!"