Oct 4, 2014

Squirrel Hunting - Patuxent River State Park

Squirrel season has been open since early September. I held off from hunting them until this morning. Early-season squirrel hunting is difficult with all of the leaves on the trees; it's hard to get a clear line of sight through all of the foliage. But this morning, I could wait no longer. I took my Marlin, 17 caliber rifle and trecked over to Patuxent River State Park. It was a damp, rainy morning, and while I saw a lot of wildlife, I saw no squirrels. What I did see was a young hawk.  He, silently, glided through the forest and perched himself on a branch about 15 feet away from where I sat. I watched him clean himself for a few minutes, before he noticed me, and flew away.  I also saw a couple of doe that were bedded down in some dense brush.  Were they in season, and I had the right gun, I'm sure I could have taken one.  But the coolest part of this hunting trip was spotting an eastern box turtle. His shell was a perfect camouflage of yellow and brown but his bright orange head and legs stood right out.  This turtle was really awesome! I've found shells in the woods before, but never have I seen a live box turtle. He, of course, tucked into his shell when I knelt down to take a closer look at him.  What a cool looking turtle.  He has red eyes and orange stripes on his head and legs.  I picked him up for a closer examination and was amazed to see that, unlike the red-eared turtles I used to catch as a kid, he could totally encase himself inside his shell.  With his head pulled inside, his bottom shell shuts, similar to the cargo door on a C-130.  A little reading about box turtles, taught me that their bottom shell is hinged to allow for total protection.  Neat!  

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