Opening Day 10/14/2013

Rifle: CZ 452 16” American with Gemtech Outback IID Suppressor

Scope: Clearidge Ultra XP 6-20x40AO

Ammo: SK Subsonic HP 40 grain

Finally it’s opening day again. The 8 month plus drought is over. For the past 7 or 8 days we’ve had overcast conditions, it will be nice to see the sun again. The morning started out with a light mist, with the temperature around 64 degrees and winds gusting between 10-20 mph. Brad and I arrived at our location about 10 minutes before first light. We made a plan based on recon we had from the landowner. The squirrels in the area were hitting the hickory trees heavily so that would be our first location.

We crept across a grassy field and into the timber, where it was still quite dark and very saturated. It made moving for us very quiet, but in turn the squirrels could also move with stealth. We weren’t expecting as much ground movement as we had but at least they were moving. We had two squirrels come past us on a fence row and move down into the hickory bottom, where we gave chase. Every time we were close to making a shot they would scamper off, or get lost in the ground cover. Gray squirrels won’t stay still for long, and I can see why a shotgun would be advantageous for early season.

Brad CZ 455

As we made it into the bottom I could hear a squirrel cutting a nut and started to move towards the sound. I actually was closer to the squirrel than I thought when I saw it. She was about 20 foot up an arm sized hickory tree, out on a branch, in the classic hunched eating position. Not being near a tree, nor wanting to move and blow the shot, I parallaxed down to 10 yards , 6 power, and free handed a head shot. Now, knowing what my rifle would do at 15 yards helped me be extra confident of my shot on this squirrel. I placed my crosshairs on top of the females head, based on my 15 yard groups at sight in, and had my first squirrel of the season. Brad also took a shot at a squirrel, that had been in my area. I alerted him that the squirrel was headed his way, but he missed the shot.  Those ground movers are tough to hit with a rifle.

From here we moved over to a 5 acre corn field surrounded by hardwoods. I was told earlier in the year that the squirrels were working the corn over and that was evident by the outside rows. Most of the cobs were devoid of the corn but still on the stalk. Walking into this area, Brad caught movement in a poplar tree. We thought it may be two squirrels, but we could only find one. I plopped down on the field edge and laid my rifle in my shooting sticks. The squirrel started down the tree but stopped and held that position. A quick parallax change to around 40 yards and magnification boost and I had my target in the crosshairs. When I broke the shot there was hardly a sound (being I was hunting suppressed). When the round made contact there was a loud thud, and the next thud was the squirrel hitting the ground. Another good sized, head shot, female.

As we made our way around the cornfield, we slipped into the timber, and caught sight of a squirrel going back and forth in one certain tree. Brad and I crept into position. Brad was up for this shot and I was rolling film. This squirrel was constructing a nest in the crotch of a water oak. She would come down with a poison ivy cutting, weave it in the nest and go back for more. Brad didn’t have much time to shoot as this squirrel didn’t slow down for much. After about the third trip I told Brad I would lip squeak the squirrel to get it to stop. The first two times there was a slight pause from the squirrel, looking in our direction. Brad came close to pulling the trigger both times. I needed to turn up the volume on the squeaks to hold the squirrel longer, so that’s what we did. Brad had an opportunity to shoot this time and the shot was a little off. The squirrel made a move like something out of the movie “The Matrix” and scurried to hide high up in a poplar tree. It took some dedication from Brad and I but we found the squirrel, and made plans for the shot.  The squirrel must have been 80 feet up in this tree.  It was very difficult finding a tree that allowed for a braced shot but once we did, Brad broke a clean shot, and the Eley subsonic found it’s mark in the bean at 50 plus yards.

CZ 452 Suppressed Opening Morning

We hunted from around 7am to almost 12pm due to the overcast, and squirrel movement. Activity usually will die off around 9:30am on most days.

The Afternoon

The activity was defiantly slower for the afternoon. We did run up on a few squirrels, but either lost them in the ground vegetation or in the extra leafy trees. Brad did make contact with one, twice on a stump about 30 yards away. I also took a 50 plus yard shot at one working acorns in a white oak tree. That shot cost me my 100% accuracy for the day, but if I would have made the hit it would have been quite a shot. I certainly would take it again. It’s all in the challenge, sometimes you miss and sometimes you are rewarded.

Steady Stix II

We certainly were tired, logging somewhere around 3-4 miles of foot traffic for the whole days hunt. Thankfully North Carolina passed suppressor hunting this year(House Bill 937). This rifle will see many more outings due to the amazing amount of stealth it brings to the table. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and hope it is as good as the last.

Squirrels Taken by myself:  2

Shots Taken: 3

 

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