Journal Entry 01/03/15

Rifle:  Houge/Feddersen 10/22 “Grey Ghost”

Ammo:  Eley Subsonic HP 40grain

Scope:  Weaver V24 6-24x42mm AO


We were expecting more rain than we actually had on this Saturday, but it wasn’t gonna stop us from getting in the woods.  Squirrels are very active in light rain or mist, and by the end of the day we had proven that.  The temperature was in the 50’s and there wasn’t much of a breeze.  With the ground being wet, it allowed us to move with stealth.  The downside to this was that the squirrels could move with the same stealth.  That meant our eyes had to be sharp.

Brad, my brother, and I hit the timber just before sunrise.  With the cloudy conditions the light took longer to brighten the area.  The first squirrel we spotted, or actually heard, was on our way to a patch of woods we wanted to start the hunt in.  The squirrel was alerted by our presence and came rushing down a pine tree, pine cone in tow.  Once to the forest floor, the squirrel ran away quickly.

Our patch of woods was just ahead on the right.  We slowly crept into the creek bottom and began to glass the area.  Around five minutes went by when Brad spotted a squirrel in a hardwood.  The background of the sky helped the squirrel stand out in the tree.  We watch for a few minutes.  I ranged the tree the squirrel was in and found it to be 88 yards away.  We decided to move in closer.  When we did the squirrel came down the trunk of the tree and disappeared.  We knew we hadn’t spooked it, and waited for it to come back, but no luck.

01-03-15 On the stalk

Our next move was creeping down the creek bank, deeper into this patch of woods.  Fifty or so yards later my brother motioned to me that he had spotted a squirrel just up in front of him.  Kevin came along as our guide so he was without a rifle.  Brad and I quickly, and quietly made our way over to him.  There ended up being two squirrels on the ground foraging.  I was up to bat to shoot, and eased up to a tree where I could balance my rifle.  One of the two squirrel gave me an open shot at 30 yards.  When Brad gave the clear that the squirrel was on film, I pressed through the obnoxiously heavy, Ruger factory trigger.  “Whapp,” was what they heard as the Eley subsonic struck its mark.  I immediately asked, “Where’s number two?”  We had all lost sight of it, so I went to collect my squirrel.

01-03-15 Squirrel 1

We then moved only 20 yards more before we heard the familiar sound of squirrels chasing each other on a pine tree.  There usually isn’t mistaking that sound.  Brad and I both took up a position to bag these two squirrels.  One came down the tree to the base and assumed the classic hunch back position.  I had one sapling blocking my crosshairs from the squirrels head.  I attempted to maneuver into position, and that’s when Brad’s rifle spoke.    The squirrel was down for the count.

01-03-15 Squirrel 2

Wondering where the other squirrel had gone, we glassed the tree but couldn’t see any sign of a squirrel.  Over the next few minutes we discussed the quick action that had just happened.  I then prepped the squirrels to go on my squirrel carrier.  Just after this was when the third squirrel couldn’t take anymore hiding.  The squirrel bailed from the original tree.  Stopping about three trees down in another pine.  We began to spread out to put this squirrel in that bag.  Brad had lost sight of the squirrel as he moved to counter the squirrels movement.  My brother knew just where the squirrel stopped.  He motioned me back to where he was filming at and showed me the squirrel in the viewfinder of the camera.  The squirrel had reached the top tufts of the pine tree, and had reversed position to head down.  When I glassed the squirrel in my scope I could see it eating something.  I guess it had some pine cone snacks in its pocket.  Just as I settled in for a shot the wind picked up.  This moved the tree top.  I just needed to be patient and allow the squirrel to come back to the crosshairs.  When it did, I was ready.  With an echoing thud, the Eley subsonic round struck right in the noggin, and down came the squirrel.

01-03-15 Squirrel 3

Over the next hour to hour and a half, we cruised the creek bottom.  We only jumped one squirrel that ran quickly to safety in its den.  We rang doorbell after doorbell with no success of pushing even one squirrel from its nest.   On the way back to the truck my brother happen to spot some fur high up in a pine tree.  Through a little glassing we saw that it was a coon taking a mid morning nap.

Another 50 yards through the woods and we started ringing doorbells on a field edge.  My brother drummed us up a little business and Brad was on target as the squirrel bailed from its nest.  His shot struck a twig in front of his muzzle, causing him to miss the squirrel.  The squirrel whipped to the back on the tree and began the dissent to the forest floor.  To bad for her I was tracking through my scope.  When she halted, I released a round to her bean.  This brought her crashing out of the tree, almost falling on my brother.  We added her to the squirrel carrier and headed to the trucks for a little lunch.

 01-03-15 Squirrel 4

The afternoon took us about 50 minutes east of our morning spot.  I decided to take my better Mountain Feist, Sassy along for the trip.  She’s no squirrel champion, nor does she have a pedigree, but I enjoy putting her in the woods.  Fact is, the best way to train a squirrel dog is to put them in the timber.  I’d love for her to range a little more, but she does well enough for me.

Sassy was quite eager to hit the woods for the first time this season.  After walking through what we deemed prime squirrel habitat, we were still empty handed.  Then we came to the area we had taken a squirrel at, earlier in the season.  I decided to ring a doorbell on a pine tree that looked promising.  It turned out to produce for us.  We rounded the tree where the squirrel stopped a couple of times trying to get Brad a shot, and me a camera angle.  We finally ended up on the same side of the tree the squirrel was in.  The squirrel was hugging the trunk tightly, about 70 feet up.  Brad’s first shot missed the mark, but he settled in for a second and made contact.  Sassy ran excitedly towards the tree but on the wrong side.  She then finally found the squirrel, almost coming to a point position as she found it.  She then began to bite the squirrel as all squirrel dogs do to assure its demise.  I forget who, but we decided to pull on the vine one more time before leaving the area.  It produced another squirrel.  There are times I’d put money on a nest and vine combination producing a squirrel and it turns up empty, and then there are times that you don’t even shoulder your rifle and they pile out of a nest like a clown car at the circus!

My turn to give this one a go.  The way the squirrel laid out on one of the pine branches gave me a less than favorable shot.  I basically had just an edge of the head to fire at.  When I broke the shot, I hit the branch the squirrel was on.  I then re-positioned myself to the other side of the tree for a better angle.  This time the squirrel wouldn’t be so lucky.  I placed my 10/22 in my shooting stix and prepped for the shot.  “Whapp” right in the head.  The squirrel came out so fast, Brad was almost hit by the squirrel on its dissent.  Sassy sailed in to mouth this one too.

01-03-15 Afternoon double

The fog pushed it’s way into the timber as light was fading fast.  We made our way back to the truck.  Sassy crawled up in her bed on the console of the truck and pretty much didn’t move until we arrived home.  The next day she was pretty stiff for a 7 year old squirrel dog, but had I asked her if she wanted to go squirrel hunting again, she’d have been right there beside me.


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2 thoughts on “Journal Entry 01/03/15

  1. season. I decided to ring a doorbell on a pine tree that looked promising. It turned
    – you mention this a few times. What is the technique for ringing their doorbell ?

    1. “Ringing a doorbell” is referring to shaking a vine attached to a nest to see if the squirrel is “home” so to say. It’s a trick we use often to get squirrels to flush from there nests.

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