Opening Day 10/13/14

Rifle:  CZ 452 "Squirrel Whisperer"

Scope:  Clearidge Ultra XP 6-20x40 AO

Ammo:  Eley SS HP 40gr.

 

Well here we are again, ready to embark on another successful squirrel season. Doesn't seem to me that 7 months have passed that quickly, but both the calendar and the weather say it's time again. Brad and I set off to the same patch of woods that we started last season off in. We were in store for a treat.

 

Both of us were hunting suppressed this year, as Brad's suppressor came in just before the season started. We headed trough a field of fescue to the woodline, when a deer just inside the woodline came bounding out at us. She startled us, as we did her and then she ran carelessly through the field away from us. As I entered the woods I noticed rain falling out of a tree that was unusual. It was a squirrel and she was headed for a big white oak. Her curiosity caused her demise, as I raised my rifle, free-handed and took a shot at about 12 yards. The Eley subsonic I turned loose crushed her skull and she was dispatched immediately. Pretty good way to start the season off. Not too fast though, problems were just about to start for me.

 

Brad and I crept around in the woods for the next hour or so, in search of our next squirrel. We caught movement, high in an oak tree, but couldn't zero in on this squirrel. The mast crop in our neck of the woods this year is outstanding. White oak, red oak, and hickory nuts are in incredible abundance. When acorns would fall we couldn't tell if it was a squirrel or bird making it happen or if the nuts were turning a loose on there own.

Mast crop opening day 10-13-14

 

After a late hunt last year we found an old homestead in these woods. Multiple buildings to include a house and a few small shacks. This area was LOADED with squirrels. We found out later why the activity was so heavy in this area. As we approached this area we spotted 2 to 3 squirrels using a deadfall to travel on. We couldn't get them to stop moving, so no shots were taken. When we finally made it to the house, that's when we were able to devise a plan to start taking squirrels.

 

Brad took the first squirrel at 10 yards on the side of a poplar tree. The squirrel was chest shot so it didn't expire immediately. The next three shots at squirrels were mine, only problem was that all three shots were misfires. A suppressor creates blowback into your rifle chamber. I already knew this to be a problem during sight in, and cleaned my bolt and chamber area accordingly. However I was having a hard time chambering rounds. I had the rifle clean prior to season, but that didn't matter now that it was malfunctioning in the heat of battle. After the third misfire, Brad offered his rifle and at 12-15 yards I head shot a squirrel, with RWS Subsonic, that decided to rest in the middle of a chase.

 

I took one more squirrel with Brad's rifle that he spotted laying out on a tree branch. This squirrel was taking a squirrel nap so to speak. I deployed my shooting stix and took aim with Brad's rifle. The squirrel was ranged at 35 yards. For our rifles, with subsonic ammo, sighted in at 50 yards for zero, meant that at 35 yards we were going to hit ½ an inch high. I steadied the crosshairs, took my breath and started the trigger press. Clean head shot, and down came the squirrel. By this time it was getting close to noon and we decided to collect our quarry and head out for lunch. Prior to lunch though we bore swabbed my rifle, and cleaned the bolt to make sure it would function. I had Brad set up some squirrel head sized rocks at 35 yards and took shots from my stixs to make sure my CZ 452 was still on target. Indeed it was.

Opening Day 10-13-14 Morning

 

The afternoon had us right back at the shack. The first two squirrels were taken by Brad at the base of the house. One right after the other. What we found out when we collected these squirrels was that there was a hot female in the mix. Just like when deer are rutting, the squirrels were playing the same game. There was plenty of activity happening at the back of the house so I moved over to that position to take my next squirrel. I lined up the first shot and missed. Shot number two found it's mark at about 12 yards. It's a good thing to know where our rifles shoot at such close distances, because with the exception of 2 squirrels all were taken within 15 yards. Both our rifles shot about 1 inch low at that distance, so there is a fair amount of holdover at close range.

 

The last shot of the afternoon was taken by Brad. As I crept around the back of one of the houses, I caught sight of another squirrel napping on the edge of one of the rooftops. I called Brad over and he said he could take the shot. He had a steady rest from a fallen hickory tree. The squirrel was ranged at 25 yards. Brad missed, but it crossed the squirrels wires as he jumped off the roof. Brad readied for another shot while the squirrel was on the forest floor. I really couldn't tell if the second shot made contact, as the squirrel scurried trough the field into another patch of timber.

 Opening Day 10-13-14 Afternoon

As opening days go, this one was banner. Incredible activity, in a target rich environment, that allowed for a memorable hunt.

 

Squirrels taken by myself: 3

 

Shots taken: 4

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