Journal Entry 10/19/2013

Rifle:  CZ 452 American 16" "Squirrel Whisperer"

Scope:  Clearidge Ultra XP 6-20x40AO

Ammo:  SK Subsonic HP 40 grain

Weather conditions for today haven't changed much from the opening day hunt, as the temperature was around 60 degrees, with overcast skies, and intermittent rain showers.  The squirrel movement was also prolonged till around lunch time due to these conditions.  I ran solo this morning.  I was working the still/stalking method, as it is just to leafy to hunt with the dogs right yet.  I pulled into Bill's property about 30 minutes before sunrise.  Just about sunrise and I saw  my first squirrel.  I was creeping down into a valley area when a mature male squirrel started giving me the "verbal business" chattering and barking, letting me know I had been spotted.  He was flapping his tail, which totally blew his cover. I deployed my Stoney Point Steady Stix, and plopped down for a anchored shot.  The way the squirrel was positioned on the tree, I had a  head shot that would penetrate into the body.  I left the parallax at 50 yards, which blurred the squirrel slightly, left the power at 6 and settled my crosshairs right on this ole boys nose.  I pressed the trigger to hear, "click" "thud", a series of sounds I'm getting used to when shooting suppressed.  Shot was right in the ole noggin'.  He came crashing to the forest floor with a loud thud.  I ranged the shot afterwards to be 25 yards.  Off to a good start.

1st squirrel 10-19-13

Well here's where the rain starts.  After standing in it for close to 20 minutes waiting on movement, I make my way back to my truck to take cover and stay dry.  I checked the radar to see that there would be a gap in the rain in 45 or so minutes.  My rifle was laying in the passenger seat, stix's laid up against the steering wheel, and I was loading the first picture up to Facebook, when a squirrel just outside my truck on a white oak started the same verbal tirade from the first victim.  I grabbed my rifle, stix, and rolled out of the truck like I was a member of the Squirrel S.W.A.T. team.  I caught sight of the mouthy female as she ascended a white oak tree.  I lost her once she made it to the top, so I started to make a circle around the group of trees I last saw her in.   About three quarters of the way through the circle I saw her in a white oak, sitting fairly low, hunched up against the trunk of the tree.  I had no trees close to me, so the stixs paid for themselves once again.  I parallaxed down to 25 yards, left the power at 6, and aimed on the lower jawbone based on my sight in work.  "Click, thud" once again, another head shot, number two in the bag.  I ranged this shot at 20 yards afterwards.

Squirrel #2 10-19-13

From here the rain was out of the picture, other than the occasional sprinkle.  With no more movement in this area I made my way towards the creek.  Before I could get there, I caught movement on a pine branch that mimicked a squirrel timbering through the trees.  Indeed it was, and it was headed toward a nest.  I made a quick dash for a more open area to post up on the nest, I assumed it was heading for.  Just before the squirrel made the nest, it made a fatal mistake.  Just as when hunting a groundhog, if you spook the groundhog it will run for it's den.  Just before it gets there, the groundhog will usually turn around to investigate what it was running from.  This is usually a bad idea for the groundhog.  It proved to be the same bad idea for this squirrel, as this female stopped just short of the nest.  I was settled in and ready.  I made a head shot and she came out of the tree, but wasn't finished completely.  As I walked up, I could tell she was disoriented and could see blood coming from her head, but she was still alive.  I parallaxed down to 10 yards and held just on the top of her head to finish her at about 12 yards.  I ranged the original shot at 30 yards.

Squirrel #3 10-19-13

After this squirrel I checked the area for others but had trouble locating any with all the leaves still on the trees.  When coming back to the front of the property I could hear a squirrel chattering.  I cupped my hands around my ears to help me locate exactly where the squirrel was calling from.  Before I could close in on the squirrel it made a series of moves, in the tree tops, that took it up to the front of the property.  The squirrel made it to the ground but hopped on the back of a tree and began a barking sequence.  So I sat down to get prepped for a shot.  To try to coax the squirrel to move, I pulled my barking squirrel call out of my Ribz pack and made a series of barking calls.  It moved the squirrel past the property line I was legally allowed to access.  As I sat there and watched it, I continued to call.  The squirrel came back to my side of the property and posted up on a large poplar.  The squirrel continued to bark and flap its tail.  I recovered and moved in quickly to get it to hide higher in the tree.  The squirrel had a different idea, jumping about 3 different trees before deciding to hide in one.  Once it figured out its position, I posted on the tree I was beside and rested those crosshairs right on the bean.  "Click, thud" another head shot, and I had silenced the loud mouth barker.

 After retrieving this squirrel I could see that it had to massive warble's in its skin.  Now I've shot squirrels with these nasty things before, but I'd never to this day seen one crawl out of the wound.  These are botfly larvae that are above the muscle but below the skin.  Supposedly it is not harmful to eat the meat of a squirrel that has a warble problem, but after witnessing such a nasty creature remove itself from the squirrel, I'd have second thoughts.  After skinning though there is no damage to the meat.  I boiled it and fed it to my dogs.  They had no objection to it.  Prepare yourself for some pictures.....

Warble in a squirrel 10-19-13

Warble size comparison with 22 LR

I did end up with one more squirrel.  I spent sometime talking with the land owner, and during our conversation a squirrel decided to start another barking montage.  I quickly retrieved my rifle and stix and made my way to its location.  It decided to hunker about midway up the trunk of a white oak.  I had a very clear shot that I would guess was 25 yards.  I parallaxed down to that range and powered up to around 10.  This was the first time I powered above 6 all day.  I settled the crosshairs again on the bean, and pressed through the shot.  Another suppressed head shot.

Squirrel #5 10-19-13

 

It turned out to be a great morning/noon time hunt.  I was very pleased with the ease it took to make all head shots today.  In my book that's impressive.  Also to not have a miss is very rewarding.  Thank the good Lord above for another day above ground, and another opportunity to hunt squirrels.

Squirrels taken:  5

Shots taken:  6

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