Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Late December Squirrel Hunt!

Well the weather has been terrible the last three weeks. I haven't been able to get out to do anything. First it was extremely cold and blowing snow, then it was too windy, and now the weather has warmed up and the rains came to melt all the snow and ice. No ice fishing or atleast that is what I thought!

Snow Fog In A Near By Field

I finally gave up on the situation and decided that I would stop complaining and get out today no matter how bad it was. The rain stopped and I decided that I would grab my hat, boots, camera and head out. Then my oldest daughter Mackenzie said she would go with me. It was then I decided that we would grab the guns and do a little walk on the state park land to look for some unsuspecting squirrels! I knew that we probably wouldn't see anything, but what the heck, I sure wasn't going to see anything sitting at home complaining about it!

We got to the state park and got out at the parking area near the ridge that went between the two lakes. What did my wonderous eyes see? Four guys sitting on the sloppy ice doing some ice fishing! Man oh Man! I should have come out this morning, dang it!

Three Of The Four Guys I Saw On The Ice

I yelled to them, "How thick is the ice?" 3" of slop and 4" of solid clear ice! That would have been good enough for me! Well, we were here to hunt, so hunt we did.

I thought this would be a great time to scout for deer as well as looking for some small game. I also thought this would be a great time to let Mackenzie brush up on her field carrying techniques for carrying a long gun.

Mackenzie & The Rossi .22 Single Shot

You can never practice safety too much. Since there was some slippery trails and snow to trudge through, I knew I could use this as a teaching exercise for her, that is why I brought out the break action single shot Rossi I bought her for her birthday a year ago. It was a safe firearm for her to handle and it was light enough for her to carry it safely in the snow and slop. I decided on 'ol grandpap's side by side 16 gauge Stevens shotgun! I love that 'ol gun. It is the same one I took out for a December rabbit hunt last year.

Me & Grandpap's 16 ga Stevens Double Barrel

We made our way down the trail past the ice fisherman and into the woods. Then I allowed Mackenzie to load a single cartridge into the little .22 rifle. I loaded up the side by side and we discussed the proper carry technique for two people walking together. She rememebered her hunter's safety rules just fine. We no more than took 10 steps and two mallards flew right over head! Just my luck I thought, she picked them up immediately. It was nice that we at least saw some game right off the bat. About a minute later we heard voices laughing and carrying on. I knew that who ever this was coming towards us that they had scared off any game that might be in the area. Around the corner came four people hiking, we stopped and greeted them and then went on our way. I could still make a good time of it even if they had been loud coming through the woods. I didn't let on like anything was wrong, I didn't want to spoil it for Mackenzie.

It was hard to walk quietly through the snow and slop. We did the best we could making our way down and around the trails. It wasn't long until we ventured off the path up an oak ridge that boardered the lake. I could see the island where we had built our duck blind this last fall and took a photo of it.

A View Of The Duck Blind From The Back Side Of The Lake

We also saw where a deer had been through the area that morning since the rain had stopped. It looked like it was a big boy by the size of the tracks. We then headed back to the main trail to venture onward. Along the way I taught her the proper technique for falling down a hill while carrying a firearm. It wasn't by design though, I hit a slick spot and slid down safely as she laughed at me! Mackenzie called to me to look at a set of tracks she had found. There was a nice set of deer tracks in the mud and I told her good job at keeping her eyes alert for game signs.

Mackenzie's Deer Tracks She Spotted

We made our way to an area that had a good number of oaks in it and it was there that we found some nice sized squirrel nests. I told her we needed to post up in the area and wait to see if any popped their heads out. I didn't think we would see any but I wanted her to get the feel for sitting still for a while and looking for game.

Mackenzie Keeping A Watchful Eye Out For Squirrels

After about 20 minutes or so, we decided to head back to the parking area. I walked back through the oaks in a little bit different direction to see if we could see any signs of squirrels. It didn't take long until we could see some acorn casings on top of the small piles of snow left in the woods. I knew that they were from squirrels nibbling on the acorns recently. I told her that this was a good squirrel spot, and that we should have been out a lot earlier in the day.

The Single Shot & The Double Barrel

As we made our way back to the truck I heard a squirrel bark off in the distance, I told Mackenzie that he was laughing at us as we walked out! She thought that was funny and laughed at me. As we approached the area where the four guys were fishing at, I told her that we need to make sure that we didn't shoot any game in the direction of where the guys were fishing even though we couldn't see them. She understood why and said that if we saw anything we would have to let it go. As we approached the spot where they were at, we stopped and unloaded the firearms and made our way back to the truck. On our way out of the park we saw six deer off in a field so I stopped to take a couple of picutres.

The Six Deer We Saw On The Way Out

She told me thanks for taking her out hunting and that she had fun, that made my day! It didn't matter that we didn't see any squirrels, all that mattered was that she had fun! What a great day in the field!

Two Happy Hunters!

4 comments:

adak1974 said...

Mike,

Your camera is so sharp it's scary! What the heck are you shooting with?

Bob

Mike Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Adams said...

It is a Minolta Dimage Z-2, 4 mega pixel camera.

Anonymous said...

Mike, I love the way you get the hole faimly involved, that is great.