Oct 26, 2014

Squirrel Hunting - Frederick Watershed

What a beautiful day yesterday was.  Temperatures were in the low 60s and a steady wind blew the leaves all about.  I got out of bed late, but still made it to the Frederick Watershed by 9:30 to hunt squirrels and scout new deer hunting area.  The watershed is my favorite place to hunt because it's just so beautiful.  The terrain is rugged and features a lot of exposed rock with dense patches of mountain laurel strewn throughout it.  Yesterday morning, the sights I saw were absolutely stunning.  The forest was a whirling sea of yellow, orange and red leaves.  It was a beautifully noisy day in the woods, with the crunching of leaves underfoot and the sound of the leaves clipping branches on their way down to the forest floor.  I sat at the base of a tree to watch for movement over a valley below.  Twenty-five minutes later, I realized I had fallen asleep.  This isn't the first time this has happened; it's funny, but it's just so easy to do when you're comfortable in the woods and beauty is all around you.
I love finding stuff out in the woods.  Whether it be an old dumping ground full of old bottles and cans, an automobile, or even a unique or interesting tree.  This time I found a hunting blind/fort.  The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) prohibits leaving personal tree stands or blinds up, overnight on public land.  As a way around this, hunters build blinds out of natural materials.  I've come across several blinds while hunting the Watershed, and I take advantage of them (See this post for example).  Though this one was over the top.  However, based on what I found inside, I think that this may be more of a "fort" built by local kids, rather than a hunting blind.  Or maybe a hunting blind, overrun by local kids.  You decide.  
Whoever built this blind, used the existing rock cave to maximize the inside space.  They even built a fireplace and chimney into it!  There were random items stashed in the cracks and crevices of the rocks.  Among them I found an arrow and a recurve bow; it's string made of bailing twine.  I also found frying pans, a broken pair of binoculars, a handmade pipe (haha) and a bottle of rum.  
On this hunt, I carried my Rock Island Armory, Mig 22.  Although extremely accurate, I really need to mount a different scope on this rifle.  The length of pull (distance from the middle of the trigger to the end of the buttstock) on this rifle is so short that I cannot mount my current scope, far enough forward.  I am constantly having to back my eye away from the scope.  I'll have to do some shopping around to find a scope that can be mounted farther away from my eye.  It's important to note that the Mig 22 (pictured above) is a .22.  It is not an AR-15.  Although the similar in form, it is still just a semi-automatic, .22 rifle. (Like the Ruger 10/22 for example)  Some people see this rifle and I know that they think i'm some sort of nut-job hunting squirrels with an "assault weapon".  Please, do your homework folks.  THIS IS NOT AN AR-15.
As usual, my hunting trips turn into photo opportunities.  I took a couple of photos of a compass that Debbie bought for me last year.  We found this in an antique store in Gettysburg.  It was labeled as a World War I, US Army Aviator's compass, though I have a hard time believing this.  I don't think the US had much of an Army Air Corps during WWI.  I may be wrong.  But, to say that this compass was issued exclusively to pilots; I highly doubt.  I will have to do more research.  Regardless, this is an excellent compass, and coincidentally, is the same type my father carries in the woods.

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