John's Journal... Entry 215, Day 1
TRICKS IN THE TREETOPS
Stalk To Squirrels
Editor's Note: Regardless of how many years you've hunted squirrels, each season you tend to forget some of the basics. You even may refuse to learn any new skills, believing that you've always taken squirrels with the hunting tactics you use.
After a frustrating morning of squirrel hunting this past winter, I realized I needed to relearn the old skills and try new strategies each season to trick the treetop tricksters and also add more enjoyment to my squirrel hunting. I first saw a flicker of gray against the side of a hickory tree as I moved slowly and deliberately down an old woodsroad on a ridge between a gallberry thicket and a beautiful hardwood bottom. Instantly I looked for a tree to brace my Remington 543S bolt action with a Simmons .44 Magnum 3-9X riflescope mounted on it. I spotted a small poplar, straight as an arrow, that offered a suitable rest, less than two steps away. After moving beside the tree and bracing my rifle, I waited. In less than six heartbeats, a gray squirrel scurried out on a limb with a hickory nut in its mouth about 40-yards away and 40-feet high in the tree.
As the squirrel ate the nut, I zoomed my scope in from 3X to 9X to clearly and distinctly see the squirrel's head in the scope. Because I'd found a steady rest for my rifle, I prepared for a headshot. I touched the trigger, and the little rifle cracked-sounding like a bullwhip. When the squirrel tumbled out of the tree, I watched it hit the ground while I bolted my rifle. To my surprise, just as the squirrel hit the ground in some thick cover, it jumped back up and started scurrying up the tree. I mounted my rifle again. Once the bushytail stopped and laid flat against the trunk of the tree, I quickly put the crosshairs of my scope in the center of the squirrel's back, between its two front shoulders. When I squeezed the trigger again, the squirrel fell out of the tree. I bolted my rifle and walked toward the spot to where this super squirrel fell. I knew I'd shot accurately on the first shot, and I couldn't decide how that squirrel had gotten up and run back up the tree. When I picked up the squirrel, I saw that the bullet had landed exactly where I'd aimed on the second shot. Apparently I'd missed the first shot because I couldn't find a hair out of place on the squirrel's head. "But I know I didn't miss that squirrel on the first shot," I told myself.
moved around the tree to the spot in the brush where I'd seen the squirrel
fall and discovered the first squirrel I'd fired at laying there. Apparently
the tree had held two squirrels, and I'd bagged them both, although I
thought I'd only seen one squirrel. Loading both squirrels into my Mossy
Oak vest, I moved back to the road and continued to slowly stalk down
the woods road and bag more bushytails. I like to stalk down woods roads
when I hunt for squirrels since I . . .
TOMORROW: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION