I haven't hunted squirrels by myself in probably over 20 years. Opening day was coming, the kids were in school and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get out by myself and do a little hunting without worrying about the cameras. The night before opening day I was to say the least a little excited.
Morning came and my wife informed me that I had to take the two oldest kids to school. Dog gone it! I just knew something was going to screw up my plans. Well I got my stuff together anyway and figured I could still make it to the woods about a half hour later than I wanted too. I got my turkey vest out and put my Thermacell in the pouch along with a box of .22 mag cartridges. I told my daughter to grab my vest and put it in the truck while I put my boots on, BIG MISTAKE! We left for school and then I headed to the state park after dropping them off.
While driving near the park I watched four deer cross the road in front of me, I thought this is a good sign to see game moving. It was bright and sunny with the sun just over the horizon. The air was crisp and cool with dew still on the grassy surfaces. This was a perfect morning to be in the woods. As I pulled into the entrance to the park three more deer crossed in front of my truck! I passed the guard shack and noticed one truck parked in the little lot near the booth. I thought I would drive back to hit the oak ridge near the big lake. As I came to the intersection, the road leading to the lake had the gate shut! I couldn't believe it, it should have been open for the goose hunters! I turned and drove to the other small lake near the campgrounds. That gate was also locked and the hunter parking area still had the rocks in front of the entrance, but there was a vehicle parked on the side of the road. It had to be another hunter in the wood lot already in the woods, so I turned and headed back to the small parking area by the guard shack.
I wasn't going to let a few little problems keep me out of the woods on such a great day. I parked and got out of the truck, grabbed the .22 mag rifle and slipped the clip with 5 rounds into the gun. I then went to grab the turkey vest and that is when I noticed that my daughter had forgot to put my vest in the truck like I asked her! Still determined to hit the woods, I told myself that I would have to just put up with the mosquitoes! I locked the doors on the truck and hit the trail leading into the woods.
I started towards the trail and couldn't have taken more than 10 steps into the woods when I heard a whistle from someone. I looked ahead and to my right and saw hunter's orange! MAN! I just can't win! This guy was no more than 50 yards from the parking area! I turned around and headed towards a field that paralleled him. I had walked about a quarter mile in waist high grass getting soaking wet when I saw a squirrel busting across a nearby tree top. I slithered into the woods near where I saw him and hunkered down next to a tree. I started looking around and noticed that I was surrounded by quite a few huge oak trees. This looked good!
As I sat down the mosquitoes began to buzz, but I was determined! It was about 10 minutes later when the woods became alive with chatter and noises. The squirrels began to bark back and forth, then I could hear them chewing on acorns and the scraps were hitting the forest floor. I just knew that I was going to get a crack at a few of them. The problem was that it was still so green and the canopy was so thick I couldn't see anything. It was still nice to just sit and listen to them, hoping to get a glimpse of them.
About a half hour passed when I began to hear some shooting to the south of me. It wasn't long until I could see orange coming at me. This guy must not have seen me until the last minute because he came within about 20 yards of me before he acknowledged me. I got up and chatted with him for a few minutes and learned that he already had three in his bag! Then I saw more orange coming our way, he told me that it was his friend. They left and I walked back near where I was at before they came in, I began to hear something overhead so I studied the canopy again for about 10 minutes with no luck. About that same time I saw more orange coming my way. I thought can this get any worse?
As I was watching this other guy come near me, I heard a gun blast about 50 yards behind me! It scared the day lights out of me! I never saw anyone behind me or any orange flashes in the surrounding woods. It was then that I said enough is enough! I started heading out!
As I broke back into the field, I noticed a downed tree and a squirrel had jumped up on it! I drew down on it and flicked the safety off. I put the crosshairs on the side of the squirrel and squeezed the trigger, SNAP! What the heck? I racked another shell into the chamber, but by that time the critter had moved on! I looked for the ejected cartridge but couldn't locate it since I was in waist high grass, even after getting down on all fours plowing through the weeds. I'm assuming it was a bad primer in the round since we have never had any issues with that firearm.
Soaking wet I made my way back to the truck and headed home! With all the bad luck that morning, I still had a great time spending some time out in the woods by myself listening to the woods come alive! I wouldn't have had it any other way!