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


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Maybe I'm pushing it, but I needed to get out there

I know it's only been about two months since my back surgery, but I really needed to get back out in the woods. It's also important that I build my strength back so I'll be in shape for the September squirrel season.

(Top) I'm covered head to toe with Permethrin permeated clothing plus 40 DEET on all exposed areas. Bugs are bad here.
(Middle) My back surgery in case you think I made it up because I missed the shot.
(Bottom) My Henry .22 carbine.
This morning I was in the woods at 7:00 and I carried the Henry .22 Carbine with CCI MiniMags. Chuck shots are usually way too long for the 410, though there have been times that I've almost stumbled over them while rounding a bend in the path. There were two rabbits near the parking area when I arrived and a third when I left. I'm sure they'll be gone by the October hunting season. I rarely see a rabbit beyond the end of June. It must be because they are aggressively hunted by the large hawk population.

Along the way I came across a half dozen squirrels, but they are not legal to hunt until September first. Right now I just took note of their location. In 2016 went an entire year without seeing a woodchuck so my hopes of spotting one today weren't very high... until half way through the hunt I spotted a dark brown shape sticking out of the edge of the tall wet grass. "That's a chuck head!" It was about 60 yards away. There was no doubt. It's funny that so many times while I'm hunting I see things that I think might be a chuck until I get a closer look through the scope. But when I actually come across a chuck, I know it's a chuck and there is no doubt. That's exactly what happened this morning. I spotted the head, froze and slowly took steps to the side so I slipped out of sight. Within a few minutes it was up on its hind legs. There's nothing like seeing a chuck in that position. It's like a freak'n target!

The problem was that there were no trees close enough to brace myself against. When I lifted my rifle, my lower back begin to ache and I couldn't stop my arms from shaking. Damn! In a few weeks I see the neurologist again about this post-surgery upper body weakness But for now, I did my best to get on target and brace myself. Laying prone put the chuck out of sight. So did kneeling. I had no choice but to stand, and that was a lousy choice. Do I take my chances and try to slowly make it to a tree or do I take the shot and hope for the best?

Since the chuck was standing, I knew it was on alert. It wasn't sure it was in danger, but it wouldn't take much to send it running. Better to take my chances than to have it just slip away into the high grass. Especially since it's my first sighting in a year!

I held my breath, let half out and when the shaking seemed to put the crosshairs on target I took the shot. "CRACK!" I chuck kept standing! "Damn! Am I going to get a second chance?" No such luck. In seconds it slipped away into the grass. I waited it out for 20 minutes but it didn't reappear. I'm hoping I know know the location of the den. There are chucks here again. I'm encouraged, and I'll be at this spot again next weekend.

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