No squirrels on video this week
3 in the bag this morning with the Henry Golden Boy .22. Brass Stacker harnessed rifle sling.
For the past couple of years I've been squirrel hunting almost exclusively with a Henry .22 Carbine. That rifle proved itself to be an excellent small game rifle, but this year I decided it was time to change things up and get a new rifle. I stayed with a .22 because the .17HMR proved to do too much damage to squirrel meat. Ammo variety is limited and it's relatively costly. It's rare that a MiniMag isn't enough to drop a squirrel, and at 50 yards the .22 shoots flat enough. This season I went with a long, beautiful, 'Golden Boy' with a bright brass receiver. Over the years the Golden Boy has proven itself to be an excellent rifle, but I've never owned one in .22 caliber. I couldn't wait to get out there today with this rifle.
The night I picked up the rifle I looked around the house for a scope and a set of rings so I could get set up and ready to hunt at sunrise Saturday. Most Henry's use a Picatinny scope mount formed into the alloy receiver, which is smaller than the Weaver cantilever mount required for the Golden Boys. The only mount I had was designed for a rifle that retained its iron sights so both the scope and the iron sights could be used. The scope is required to sit high on the rifle, which would work for Saturday's hunt, but I'd need to change the rings out with a lower set at some point.
With my LaserLite green laser I was able to get the scope 'on paper' in a matter of minutes. If you don't have a laser, it really is a 'must have'. It will get you set up quickly in a pinch and save you a lot of time and ammo at the range. It's well worth the small investment. Red lasers are much cheaper than green, so buy a red if you don't have the cash. Both are just as bright but the human eye can pick up green much better than red. A green laser can be used to sight in during the day without the use of a reflector. It's a nice option, but not necessary. To dial in my scope, I simply open my basement door after dark, point the rifle with the laser in the muzzle at a tree around 50 yards away. Then dial in the crosshairs on the dot. It literally takes only seconds. That should get me really close.
This morning I was the only one in the woods at sunrise, so I took a bit of a detour away from my hunting area, set up a piece of paper against a safe backstop (a big fallen tree) and took a shot. Windage was dead on, but I hit about 2" high. A quick twist of the scope's elevation dial and the next shot was dead on. I was good to go.
Today was much like last weekend's hunt. I don't think I've had a month like this for at least 5 years. I'm guessing it has to do with the mild winter. I'm seeing squirrels in areas where they never hung out before, and they're in groups of three or four! They are mating or fighting, chasing each other around tree trunks so preoccupied that they didn't even care that I'm there!
I started out this morning's hunt by dropping a squirrel with a single shot to the head. I moved on and checked out the area where I had so much action last weekend, but this morning it was dead. That really wasn't a surprise since squirrels are always on the move. Another hunter appeared to my left and a dog with a cowbell came running down the path. I need to get deeper into the woods.
It wasn't long until I had a repeat of last weekend. 4 squirrels were fighting and taring around the trunks of some low trees. This is a squirrel hunter's dream. The squirrels were so preoccupied that they could care less that I was starting to shoot at them! I positioned myself behind a tree for support, aimed at a tree to my right and dropped the first one. The remaining three ran left, and continued the chase around the trunks of some other trees. They were moving so fast that it was difficult to get one in my crosshairs. CRACK! Another down. Now the remaining two were starting to figure that something was up. They went into hiding behind the back of the tree. One poked it's head out and CRACK!, the squirrel dropped. The remaining squirrel ran right and I let it go. Retrieving the squirrels wasn't going to be as much fun. First, it wasn't easy to remember which trees they fell from. They were about 30 yards apart and surrounded with briars. I ended up getting torn up retrieving them, and one I simply couldn't find.
It was now 9:30, feeding time was about over and 3 squirrels are enough to clean. I hit the main path and returned to my car. Unlike last weekend, I decided to gut the squirrels at home. I now have a freezer full of squirrels so I think it's time to bring a crock pot full of squirrel stew to work to freak out my fellow employees. It's something I've promised to do all season, but I don't think anyone actually believed it would happen. In the past I've given fried squirrel and squirrel stew to people at work who showed interest, and later discovered that they were afraid to eat it. I wonder how they'll react if it becomes a public challenge?
This afternoon I went to WalMart and picked up a perfect set of rings for about $9. Hey, I'm cheap and if it works, it's good enough for me. Why spend $25 on a set of rings at Cabela's if a $9 set from WalMart does the job as well?
If you haven't been taking your kids squirrel hunting this year, why not? Get out there. Until next weekend. Shoot straight and stay safe.