Hi there! I was just looking at your two new posts highlighting the start of squirrel season, so I thought that I would keep you up-to-date with my recent hunt. I am fortunate enough to be in contact with a fellow who owns 75 acres in my town, and he is kind enough to let me hunt there as much as I like. It's a wonderful piece of land, most of which is situated on a large, sloping hill. This Monday I headed over there to start squirrel season off right.
Decked out in my camouflage suit and orange vest, and armed with my Winchester 99/22 Legacy (with 3-9 power scope), I hiked up into the woods around 3 pm. After two unsuccessful attempts to lure the squirrels to me with my call, I decided to get up and go after them. This was a winning strategy! After only walking for about 10 minutes I happened upon a squirrel. I fired one shot as he came to a stop near a branch, but missed! Luckily I was able to keep my eye on him as he crossed over two other trees. Then, as he came to a stop again, laying flat atop a branch, I took aim and fired. This time the shot was true and I soon heard the reassuring sound of something falling through the branches of a tall tree. Hitting the ground, it took the squirrel only about 10 seconds before it expired. I quickly snatched him by the tail and made my way to a point on the hill that overlooks the town (you can see for about 15-20 miles), and took a seat in some tall grass. The weather was just perfect! The sun was out, and there was a cool breeze that kept the heat down. As I looked at the squirrel I noticed that my shot had gone through his right eye and out the top of his head. Having to get home by 4:30 I packed my trophy into my vest's game pouch and ran took a 15 minute hike down the hill to my car. All in all, though it was a quick hunt, it was a wonderful one! I'll be leaving work early tomorrow and heading back to see if I can't flush out another couple of squirrels. I'll let you know how it goes. Also, what do you do with your squirrels? I attempted to field dress mine so that I could use the meat but that didn't work out. I ended up keeping the tail but burying the rest - leaving it as an easy meal for some local coyote or fox.
Fantastic Mat! I envy you having a private place like that to hunt. Thanks so much for the story and I'll post it for others to enjoy. Please keep me up to date and it would be great if you sent photos from time to time that I can post with your stories. Don't reveal your hunting spot because you have something good and you don't want guys out with 12 gauges walking through and blowing your squirrels away or kids with 10/20 scaring everything into hiding. I'm really glad you're having so much fun. Regarding what to do with them, in my 2008 hunting page I show how I made stew that came out quite good if I say so myself. My suggestion is to gut them in the field soon after they die before they cool off and rigamortis sets in. If you make a slit through the fir in the center of their back, you can stick your two index fingers in, pull in opposite directions and their fir will come off like a glove. If you wait for the squirrel to cool and they stiffen up, it becomes MUCH more difficult to pull off the fir. In that case I'm usually so tired after a long hunt that it isn't worth the trouble, and like you take the tail and leave them as a snack for the coyotes. Bring a pair of pliers so you can break the bones at the wrists and they will be much easier to remove. Then cut through the stomach and up through the ribs and pull out the guts. I carry a pair of non-Latex gloves that you can buy by the box at CVS so you can do your cleaning and continue hunting without having a mess on your hands (so to speak). Thanks for writing and stay in touch!