Opening Day of 2012 Indiana Squirrel Season!
I've been living in the Midwest for about ten
years now, and have become a serious
squirrel hunting enthusiast in that time. Every
year I wait for the second or third week in
August to roll around, for the opening of the
season. And while I now have several farms
to hunt where the woods are full of these
bushytailed rodents, it has become a tradition
that my first hunt of the year is on public land
near Missinewa lake where I did my first
squirrel hunt on moving to Indiana. It took
me two or three trips before I finally started
scoring, with the primary species being the
big fox squirrels.
I only had a couple hours free to hunt, so I
woke up at 4:30 and made the one and a half
hour drive getting onsite just as the red glow
of the Eastern sky made its appearance. I
grabbed my daypack, camo gloves and face
mask, and the Evanix Rainstorm .22 I'd
chosen for the days outing, then headed off
to a stand of mast producing trees about a
quarter mile in.
I started off sitting at the base of a tree in an
area that had produced for me in the past. I
heard movement in the canopy above, but
besides the fact that it was still fairly dark, the
folliage was so thick that I couldn't see
anything. I sat and listened, then as daylight
started to creep up, started walking around
the tree. By this time the squirrel was actively
cutting, with shells raining down and
branches shaking. For a brief instance I had
a view of his head, and snapping the rifle up I
shot .... just as he moved. I heard him
crashing away though I didn't catch another
glimpse of him!
This time of year there is a lot of cover on the ground, but
most of the squirrel activity is in the trees.
But there's a lot of foliage above. The squirrels can't see you
as well, of course you have difficulty seeinbg them as well.
As you work through the woods, keep
an eye out for walnuts, acorns,
hazelnuts, etc on the ground, while
listening for the squirrels cutting,
gnawing and dropping them from above
(above). Then find a place to sit where
you can survey a large area and wait
for movement and falling debris to give
their location away (right)
I picked up my first squirrel of the morning, a 55 yard
head shot with the squirrel up high in the tree. From
directly beneath I could see nothing, but by walking
slowly and quietly away I obtained a better view of the
tree top. The way I carry my squirrels is a harness made
from three 4' lengths of twine with a slip knot at either
end. I double these over and tie of a loop, leaving six
slip knots which are tightened around the neck and used
to carry the squirrel (right).
A little further on I heard cutting along with a couple barks, so I stood by a tree and listened. Eventually I was
able to localize the squirrels position, and worked my way under that tree. But the leaves were so thick I
couldn't see anything other than shaking of the branches. I slowly walked back out, and at 55 yards could see
the bright orange of the fox squirrel high up, cutting down nuts that rained below. I lined up the shot and
squeezed the trigger, and with a quiet puff of air watched the squrrel drop to the ground, bouncing of the lower
limbs as he fell. I collected my first bushytail of the season and put him on my game carrier, before taking to the
A little further along I saw a squirrel on the ground running between trees, and took a knee while trying to line up
the moving target. But before a chance of a shot opened up, the squirrel bolted up a tree and disappeared. Over
the next twenty minutes I saw glimpses of him moving but only for a second at a time. Eventually he stopped in a
tunnel like opening through the branches, and using my bipod lined up for the shot with the crosshairs right on his
head. I squeezed the trigger, and a chunk of bark exploded a half inch over his head sending him for cover! I'd
guestimated the range at 50 yards where the gun is zeroed, but taking out my range finder (I know, should have
done that before the shot) saw that it was actually 32 yards. Well, you live and you learn.
It was pretty close to my time limit so I started the half hour walk back along a deer trail. A few minutes later
another squirrel jumped tree to tree above the trail, landing in a big oak tree. For the first time I had a wide open
shot as he sat in the fork of a tree watching me. I took my time and leaned against a tree trunk for stability. I
pulled the trigger and heard the pellet thump into the squirrels head, at which he collapsed into the fork of the
tree. I spent the next twenty minutes trying to shoot him out of that fork, but finally gave up. I hated to waste this
little game animal, but it happens sometimes. At least with squirrel hunting, I can get out on these short hunts
before work 2-3 times per week!
|The Evanix Rainstorm is one of my workhorse guns, I use it hard and the gun stands up to anything I
throw at it! It is very accurate, very powerful, cycles quickly, and over the last three season has
taken more squirrel, rabbit, and prairie dogs than I can keep track of. This gun represents agreat
value, with the performance all out of proportion to the cost.
My yearly ritual continues with the first trip of the new season.