Journal Entry 12/27/14 “Squirrel Rut Cubed”

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

 

Scope: Weaver V24 6-24x42AO

 

Ammo: Eley Subsonic HP 40gr.

 

Boy do we have a story to tell from this morning. If you've ever hunted deer, you've heard the term “Rut.” In deer terms it means that a female deer (doe) is being chased by a buck or bucks for breeding purposes. In that case you usually target the largest buck, and take a crack at him. Well we experienced our third squirrel “Rut” this morning. What's different about squirrel rut you ask? The answer is you shoot all the males in chase, and the female if you are lucky.  We weren't worried about damaging the numbers of the herd, seems there are always plenty of squirrels to breed. Being suppressed in this situation really helped us out, but before I get to talking about the “Rut” I have to talk about the first squirrel of the day.

 

We eased into a patch of hardwoods and took up positions about 20 yards from one another. After 15-20 minutes of waiting Brad spotted our first squirrel. His first shot struck a branch just in front of the squirrel. Brad quickly worked the bolt, and made contact with the second round. A second squirrel was spotted, but must have scurried away or hid very well. We then made our way to the spot that would contain our next nine, yes NINE squirrels.

12-27-14 Brad's morning opener

 

We eased over to a spot that we have hunted in previous years. Usually shaking vines and taking 2 to 3 squirrels out of this pretty large poplar tree. This time our approach was to stand off from the tree about 40 yards and observe. We weren't there long when Brad spotted some movement. As I moved toward Brad, my brother whistled, letting me know he had seen a squirrel. At that time, I spotted a squirrel on the other side of Brad. I decided to settle in on that squirrel. When I fired from my stix, at that time I thought I just plain missed. After review of the video, I hit a twig about 10 feet in front of my rifle. This squirrel disappeared, and our attention was turned to the giant poplar.

12-27-14 The tree of squirrel love 2

 

Brad decided to film, as I tried to settle in on one of the two squirrels we originally thought occupied the tree.  After firing a couple of rounds and missing my targets, my 10/22 started to fail to chamber rounds. I made the mistake of loading 10 rounds in the magazine and shooting a suppressor. The blow-back had somewhat gunked up the magazine. From now own I'll only run 5 in the mag.  Another problem I was having to overcome was going from a CZ with a 1.5-2.0 pound trigger to trigger pull of 5.8-6.0 pounds!  Once I educated myself on the trigger pull after the misses, the hits began to come on a more steady basis.  There were two reason I put this 10/22 back in the woods:

1. The “Squirrel Whisperer” is back at CZ-USA hopefully having the light primer strike issue resolved.

2. Because I outfitted the 10/22 with a 16.5 inch threaded FJ Feddersen barrel.

If you know 10/22 barrels, the name Feddersen should rank pretty high with the rest of the competitors for accuracy.  Even with the 6 pound trigger, off the bench, I shot a few groups that made me confident it was woods worthy.  I'm currently waiting on a 2.0 pound trigger group to return from Brimstone gunsmithing. I expect both my bench groups and field accuracy to increase.  For me a box stock 10/22 is accurate out to about 35 yards, which is certainly a viable squirrel option. However if it wont consistently shoot ½ inch groups at 50 yards, it won't make it in the squirrel woods with me. So the only 10/22's that make it on my list of options are tweaked and tuned to shoot to my accuracy standards. Back to the squirrel action....

 

Brad had been filming my misses and by the fourth or fifth, I saw him lower his camera and raise his rifle.  As he was doing this, I was panning down the main trunk in my scope.  About 8 feet above the base of the tree I spotted a squirrel sitting perfectly still.  This is the point I started making contact. The impact of the Eley subsonic launched this squirrel from its perch.  From here it's a bit unclear of how the remainder of squirrels came raining down. We did get some decent footage of a few that fell from this mighty poplar tree. I can tell you I only carried one magazine, which is a rule I know better than to break.  Brad also ran two magazines of 5 rounds each dry.  The erratic movement had us missing more than we were happy with.  We thought we were finished after taking two back to back.  That's when my brother decided to “ring a doorbell” (shake a vine) in the tree, and that produced another squirrel.  We took that one also. While collecting squirrels around the base of the tree, my brother jumped an injured one, that climbed the poplar, only to be brought back out by the “Grey Ghost.”  We finally rounded every squirrel up, the count was 8 mature males and one hot female.

12-27-14 The tree of squirrel love

 

What a trigger pulling good time.  I know this, I was sending Eley Subsonics at squirrels like they were 3 cent Federal bulk box rounds!  I prepped the squirrels to be carried out by slicing into one of there back feet and running a stick through it. My brother (our guide) had to jet to work on his truck so he carried them out for us.

12-27-14 Our hunting guide

We figured we had another 45 minutes of morning left to hunt. After checking the time we spent right at one hour at the poplar tree. We didn't end up walking very far before we decided to get a jump start on the skinning process. We took the same path back to the giant poplar. No sooner than we reached the area Brad says, “That lump looks like a squirrel?” I glassed the tree with my Leupold Yosemite's and sure enough squirrel number ten. The first shot Brad fired, we later ranged at 55 yards. It turned out to be a miss, as did the second. By the third, Brad made contact, but that was stunted by the squirrel not completely falling to the ground. Brad shot the vine holding the squirrel out and we collected number ten.

12-27-14 Tree of squirrel love #10

 

The afternoon started off with a 25 yard head shot on the edge of my brothers property from the 10/22. We then headed back to the same piece of property we had the excellent morning hunt on. It was getting late so we briskly walked through the woods. Wasn't too long and we had a couple of squirrels scurrying along the creek bottom. I headed down to the creek, Brad and my brother stayed up high. Brad caught movement and fired two rounds to knock his squirrel out. We then headed further down this patch of woods, following where the other squirrel had run to. Wasn't too long and my brother had a squirrel spotted on the side of a large sweetgum. I settled into my stix and Brad filmed. It was a 30-32 yard shot, that I placed right in the CPU. That's how our excellent day of squirrel hunting ended.

12-27-14 Afternoon squirrels

 

It's been years know since I limited out with eight squirrels. Brad didn't fair to shabby with a total of six. The weather was great, and we all enjoyed each others company. Another truly blessed day to spend in the squirrel woods.

 

Nate: 8

 

Brad: 6

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gerald Dickerson December 28, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Sounds like a fine day of hunting, one good thing about a semi is the fast follow up shot.

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Nate December 29, 2014 at 7:41 pm

When I wasn’t having a feed issue from blowback gumming up the mag, I was sure putting a pounding on them. Kinda fun to run a semi-auto after all the years of running bolts now.

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