Sep 20, 2013

Squirrel hunting - Frederick Watershed

I was lucky enough to get a few hours of hunting in, today, at the Frederick Watershed.  This area is my primary deer hunting area but I always see squirrels here.  I took my Rock Island Armory Mig 22 again because it is just so much fun to shoot, and it's accurate as hell.  About an hour into the hunt, I heard a squirrel barking about 40 yards off of the trail I typically walk.  I stalked in and watched him for a while.  He slowly worked his way down the trunk of the tree and onto the ground where I watched him dig for a bit before squeezing off my first shot.  As luck would have it, he jumped just before I let the shot go and I hit him in the hind quarters.  I had to come in close and finish him with a second shot.  He was still mobile and climbed about 15 feet up a small tree, keeping the tree between him and I.  This is where I came up with an idea I hadn't used before; no matter where I walked, he kept on the other side of the tree.  So after a few moments of circling the tree, I grabbed a stick and tossed it on the other side of the tree.  When he scurried over to my side of the tree I popped him in the head.  One more squirrel for the freezer; this makes four this season already.  Stay tuned for the squirrel feast!  

Sep 19, 2013

Squirrel Hunting - Patuxent River State Park

Phil and his .17 caliber.
This week, after work,  I was lucky enough to get out squirrel hunting on Tuesday & Wednesday evening.  Both hunts were at the Patuxent River State Park.  I went alone the first night, and was joined by my buddy Phil on the second night.  I work with Phil; he’s an avid hunter and all-around good guy.  He kept an eye out for me, and grabbed up a decent .50 caliber muzzle loader for me to hunt deer with this season (Stay tuned).  At any rate, large plots of tall, old hickory trees make Patuxent Park an ideal habitat for grey squirrels.  Both evenings I entered the woods around 4:30pm which is just about feeding time.  Grey squirrels are active feeders around mid-morning and in the evening.  If you keep your eyes and ears open, and know what to look & listen for, you stand a good chance of honing in on their location. There are still a lot of leaves on the trees which works both with, and against you.  The leaves provide good coverage for the squirrels to hide behind but they also act as giant flags for activity.  In the treetops, the squirrels feed on the hickory nuts, leaping to and climbing out on to the smaller limbs, which dip and shake under the weight of their bodies.  You can usually see and hear this activity pretty easily.  Another good thing about the leaves is that, when the squirrels perch on a branch and “cut” their nuts (chew the exterior shell away), they drop the shavings down below.  You can zero in on their location by listening to the shavings drop down through the leaves.  This week, at times, there was so much feeding activity that it sounded as if it were raining.  Sometimes if you’re “a bit early for supper” and the squirrels aren’t out feeding yet, you can coax a few squirrels in by rubbing two quarters together.  This has worked well for me in the past.  The serrated edges of the coins mimic the cutting noise made when squirrels work the shell off of nuts.  You want to hold one quarter firmly and drag the edge of the other quarter over its serrations, as if you’re playing a washboard.  A lot of times squirrels will come to see who is eating nuts in their area. Tuesday night I sat and watched as many as eight squirrels crawl around in the upper branches cutting nuts, barking, and leaping from limb to limb.  The difficult part is keeping an eye on them and waiting for them to pass by an open area, where you can send a bullet to meet them. 

Tuesday night:       1 squirrel for the deep fryer.
Wednesday night:  2 squirrels for the deep fryer.
Above: Tuesday night I used my Marlin XT17 (left) and Wednesday I used my Rock Island Armory Mig 22(right).

Sep 14, 2013

Squirrel Hunting - Frederick Watershed

Its that time of year again:  Hunting Season.  I thought it'd never arrive!  So far, the only thing in season is squirrel, which I do enjoy hunting, so I took a rifle out that I haven't used for hunting before:  My Rock Island Armory Mig 22.  I got a late start this morning and left the house around 8:30, putting me at the Frederick Watershed around 9:30; later than I wanted, but still prime time for squirrels.  I crept into my usual spot and sat for a while.  I sat peacefully, enjoying the activity of the chipmunks and birds, yet there are still too many leaves on the trees to catch all the activity up above.  Nevertheless, it was a cool and breezy 57 degrees out so I didn't mind just relaxing in the woods on a beautiful morning.  After sitting in a few different spots, I got ancy and decided to go check out my deer sitting spot.  I searched around my deer spot for buck rubs and deer poop (Or as my father always called them "smart pills"... which begged the naive question:  "Do they really make you smart?" ... My father is a great guy.  Thank you for not letting me eat deer poop when I was little Dad)  After a few minutes of sitting where I usually do with my .30-30, I saw some activity far down in the valley below.  I zoomed in with my scope and had a squirrel in my cross hairs just long enough to estimate my holdover before he scurried out of sight.  It would have been a 125 yard shot, had he sat still long enough.  Still, I'm confident that I could have "rung his bell"; no problem.  Next time little buddy!

I, of course, couldn't leave without shooting some beer cans.  Check the video below; I'm going to go make a snack...I wonder if we have any smart pills in the pantry.

Sep 1, 2013


I woke up this morning at 7:00 and decided to get the road bike out and try to put in a few miles before that giant, blazing ball of fire sheds its oppressive heat down on my out-of-shape, fatty, self. The longer I lay in bed, the less chance I have of actually following through with the thought of riding. ... And, so it was, that I aired the tires on the road bike, dug a water bottle out of the closet, stretched my heavy legs and set out into the morning light. Shockingly enough, it was not as hellaciously painful as I thought it would have been. It was a downright awesome little jaunt. 8 miles in total, which is nothing really, but it is something to me these days. The lack of riding I did this summer marked an all-time low for me. I haven’t ridden this little since… before I started riding. And it shows. A lot. But, things can only get better from here. When you’re at rock bottom you can only go up right? Right. Progress.

Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch.