Yesterday, Jenni and I took steps to go further down the rabbit hole of gunniness. Neither of us have ever been hunting. I dispatched an errant rabbit once, but that was about the extent of my animal harvesting experience. The rabbit got hit with a 25-grain .22 CB Cap. The slug went in in front of the left shoulder and exited behind the right. The lungs were liquified and death instantaneous.
We had been scouting squirrel activity in a particular Sooper Sekrit location for months. Yesterday, Jenni and I woke up early (for a Saturday), gathered guns and ammo, swung by Academy to pick up our Resident Annual Hunting Licenses and continued on to said location. It was easily below freezing and the tree rats were not very active. Our boots and socks proved not to be sufficient insulation. However, I had some chemical toe warmers in my BOB that we employed. It ALWAYS pays to be prepared.
We saw only three or four large squirrels in the trees, but didn’t have much of a shot at any of them. Until one large female approached us towards noon. Jenni nearly got her several times with no success. It was not that she took a missing shot either. It was that the squirrel moved into a less shootable position before the trigger broke. It was when I had her sighted in that she stretched out and presented her left side, as though she heard a noise coming from that direction. I cracked the shot off. The animal sprung two feet straight up and collapsed into the brush below.
“Nice!” said Jenni. When we collected the game, we could not immediately see the injury. She looked so pristine in fact, that I put another shot into the base of her skull from point blank just to be sure. It wasn’t until we started skinning her that the initial shot was obvious. The shot went in just in front of the left shoulder and stopped at the lower rib cage on the right side. Lungs were liquified, death instantaneous. I don’t know why people complain about having to chase small game after the shot. Just destroy the lungs so you don’t have to worry about it! 😛 Honestly, if every hunting shot I take is so ideal, I’ll be shocked and feel very lucky.
The shot was at approximately 40-yards with a Winchester M69A (.22-lr bolt action), with a 26-inch barrel and a Lyman micrometer peep sight. I was shooting CCI .22 CB Caps again. This combination is so whisper quiet that hearing protection is laughably unnecessary. In fact, this is quickly becoming my hunting caliber of choice. It’s quiet, it’ accurate, and it’s devastatingly deadly. The animal was about 24-inches long from nose to the tip of the tail.
We skinned and processed it into meat before the carcass was cold, saving the heart (still intact), liver, and kidneys. I’m drying the tail as a trophy, Jenni is tanning the pelt, and I placed the head and paws on my brother’s front porch as a prank. He didn’t appreciate my humor, so I cleaned it up later because I felt bad.
*I wish we had been able to take ten squirrels each, but it was not meant to be on this trip.
*Now, I want to shoot something bigger. I can’t wait until DanielS comes for our feral hog shoot. I hope I get a 500-lb sow! -But, not with .22 Short.
*While Jenni was sighting the animal in, she commented that her heart was racing. I had to smile, as I completely understood the sentiment.
*I now understand why some people devote their entire lives, every second of their free time in fact, to hunting. It is that gratifying.
*Although we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, I can understand how this is definitely not for everyone.
*Never eaten squirrel before, but there’s enough meat in the freezer from this one that it should make a lovely little dinner for the three of us.
*The toe warmers made the trip. Next time, I want a thermos of something hot to sip on as well. Spiced cider would have been a life saver.
*I now realize that I want to carry all kinds of meat packaging material, para cord, folding utility knives with those hook blades instead of the trapezoidal utility blades, latex gloves, hand wipes, and a shock and weather-proof digital camera.