A blog by Bob Rich. Squirrel Hunting, Henry Rifles, Reloading, Range Shooting and More!

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

First chuck of the season

I really don't like to miss, and I haven't forgotten that shot I blew last weekend. Some things I can't let slide, like being outwitted by a chuck, so last night I packed up my Jeep with the intention of going directly into the woods after work. The weather wasn't promising, being cloudy and having rained during the afternoon. Determined to redeem myself, I ignoring the prediction of thunderstorms and arrived at the parking lot about 4:45.
As I pulled into the lot, a big chuck tore across my path and disappeared into the brush. "Alright!" I thought. It doesn't get better than this when beginning a chuck hunt. I quickly parked, changed clothes and put on my gear. The temperature was around 72 degrees and the humidity was gone. There was even an occasional cool breeze. Perfect.

This time I was going to be ready. I had my left hand under the receiver while my right thumb was on the hammer. I started the hunt without applying bug spray or lighting my thermacell, and within minutes I was being swarmed with hundreds of biting mosquitoes. I threw down my pack and quickly doused myself with DEET and lit the cell. They didn't bother me much after that. I can't hunt while being distracted by bugs.

I walked the entire length of the WMA and saw nothing. My wrists were getting a bit stiff by this time, so I relaxed a little on the return trip. The sun broke for about 15 minutes, but I didn't see a thing all the way back... until I neared the final turn. This was my last chance for the day. "Get ready", I thought. Pulling back the hammer, I positioned my left hand under the receiver with the butt against my armpit. As I turned the corner I saw something brown beginning to move quickly down the path about 50 yards away. It wasn't weaving, but moving straight down the path. Knowing that any second it would break left into the brush, I stopped, calmly put the bead on it (which totally covered the animal) and squeezed. The rifle fired and the chuck began moving slower and from side to side, but it was so far I wasn't positive it was hit. Taking a few more steps, I stopped and fired again. This time it wasn't moving.

When I got to the chuck, it was not only dead, it was gutted. I am absolutely amazed by the amount of damage that tiny 17 caliber bullet is capable of. The chuck was small compared to others I've nailed in this area, which made the 50 yard shoot even better. As I proved on the range a couple weeks ago, the iron sights on the Henry Golden Boy are right on the money, which makes it harder to understand how I missed that chuck last Saturday. Oh well. The ice is finally broken and I hope this is the first of many successful chuck hunts to come this summer.



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