Veteran’s Day Hunt 11/11/14

Let me start off this entry by thanking the men and women on the United States armed forces for defending this country everyday.  It would be impossible for me to enjoy the hunting privileges I have without your constant sacrifice to ensure our country stays free.  There really isn't a way for me to express the gratitude I have for the job you do, and the time away from family.  Thank you......

 

Brad and I headed out to a new piece of property gained earlier this year.  Before opening day of squirrel season we took the time to recon the area, and the potential was there.  The wooded area is a mix of pines and scattered hardwoods, mainly white oaks.  We pulled in about sunrise, but with overcast conditions it seemed to set the time back about 30 minutes.  Wasn't long after we entered the woods we spotted the first movement.  Coming from the left of the property to our area to collect acorns in one of the three white oaks surrounding us.  I told Brad since he needed some confidence in shooting back to take this squirrel.  Brad had lost confidence in his suppressed rifle so he brought his CZ 453 Varmint rifle for this trip.  The squirrel caught us making our way over to its location.  It started to timber through some trees into a pine.  The squirrel set up on a branch that butted up against the trunk of the tree.  In classic, hunched, squirrel position it began to verbally scold us.  Brad steadied his rifle and shot.  You could hear the impact of the Eley Subsonic round, but the squirrel came racing down the tree.  Little did we know, but the squirrel had been hit in the vitals, which lead it to expire before reaching the ground.  Brad felt good about the one shot kill, and with confidence restored we started to scan for more squirrels.

11-11-14 Squirrel #1

While collecting Brad's squirrel, he spotted another one.  That squirrel did a very good job at hiding.  It bounced through a couple trees and we lost it.  We spooked one other squirrel that morning on the ground, and that squirrel may still be running today.

 

For the afternoon we chose another place we have access to.  While scanning an area to hunt we started to see movement.  We spotted one, no wait there's two, three, four.....  There ended up being six all together.  There was only one that was in a safe direction to shoot and I was up to bat.  I parallaxed down to 20 yards and settled into my stix for the shot.  I was not seated on the ground, sort of in a squat/kneel position.  All this to say I missed the squirrel.  I totally blew the 15 yard shot I had.  To me it seemed the shot was further, but after recounting my steps it wasn't.  From memory I didn't compensate for holdover at this distance.  My crosshairs should have been placed on the top edge of the head.  I sure hate missing those close ones.

I was able to redeem myself fairly quickly.  Another squirrel about 15 yards from this one scurried up a tree to assume a low seated position.  Not a safe shot.  I moved in slowly toward the tree and with in 10 yards the squirrel went up the tree.  This is what I needed for a safe shot.  I circled the tree slowly, glassing, and found my target.  Backed up to the trunk, the squirrel had tried to hide.  I sat down about 15 yards from the base of the tree and used my stix for the shot.  It was an extreme upward angle.  Knowing this, and ranging the shot I knew I needed to hold low.  Shot distance was 22.5 yards.  I held at the base of the squirrels jaw and squeezed a shot off.  "Wack," a well place head shot and the squirrel came plummeting out of the tree.

11-11-14 Squirrel #2

I think after seeing a fellow member of there squirrel unit go down, the crowd of five remaining squirrels dispersed.  We didn't get another shot at a squirrel until 20 minutes before sunset.  Brad got an opportunity to take a 31.5 yard shot at a squirrel, perched high in a sweetgum tree.  He anchored himself next to an oak and settled in for a shot.  The first shot missed and Brad cycled the bolt for a follow up shot.  The squirrel stayed in the same position.  The second shot also missed it's mark and Brad was aggravated he missed a great opportunity, twice.  In his defense he usually is a "vitals" shooter and was trying for  the head both times.  He did quote that he should have retired the rifle after the first shot of the day giving it a 100% success rate.

We expected to have more squirrels for the day, but it was a great day in the woods only taking two.

 

Shots fired by myself:  2

Squirrels taken:  1

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