Springer Time in August:
Squirrel Hunt with the Benjamin Trail NP (NitroPiston)
Jim Chapman
As squirrel season got underway, I was
hitting the woods for a quick hunt in the
morning before work. On most mornings I
found myself stalking though the woods with
on of my high power PCPs, and was
shooting lots of squirrels. One morning as I
sat watching a den tree and waiting for the
action to start, I started thinking back over
the last decade of squirrel hunting since
moving to the Midwest. A lot of those hunts,
especially the earlier ones had been done
with one of my trusty springers, often an old
Beeman C1. But this year I’d not gone
out once with a springer, and I decided then
and there to fix this oversight the following
morning!

But which gun to use? I looked in my gun
room and there were several to choose from,
but finally I settled on a Crosman Benjamin
Trail NP in .22 caliber. The gun is light,
compact, accurate, moderately powerful, and
easily capable of laying out the 35 yards
bushytails I looked forward to encountering. I
also like the ergonomic thumbhole stock and
reckoned the digital camo would be spot on
in the still heavy foliage of early fall.

I worked my way into the woods as the first
rays of day started to filter through the trees
listening for nuts dropping out of the canopy
while watching for the telltale cuttings raining
down from above. I found an area that was
thick in mast producing trees with freshly
Figures
1. The trees have a lot of foliage at this time of year;
the good is that squirrels have a hard time seeing you
sneak up, the bad is that you have a heard time
spotting them in the trees!
2. Look for mast such as acorns, walnuts, hazelnuts
laying on the ground, or listen for the sound of
cuttings raining down around you to localize your
quarry.
3. When shooting a springer, use natural rest such as
a tree trunck to lightly brace against to steady your
shot.
4. Watch where the squirrel falls after your shot and
mark it with external reference, then sit and wait a
couple minutes as another squirrel may come along.
5. Here I kneel with gun, squirrel and a sense of
satisfaction coming from a good hunt.
dropped walnuts and acorns littering the ground. I stood leaning against a tree trunk until I saw a branch
shaking above, out of sequence with the light wind slipping through the leaves. After a couple of minutes
I saw the squirrel behind the disturbance and brought the gun up using the tree to lightly brace my
forward arm.

Dropping the crosshair a little under the squirrels head, I squeezed the trigger, which was followed by a
heavy thwack and the sound of my first squirrel of the morning bouncing through the limbs to ground. I
collected my game and placed him in a plastic bag, which I then slipped into my pack. Over the next
couple hours I worked my way through the stand of woods bordering the river, collecting a couple
more for the freezer along the way.

Noticing the time and realizing I had a conference call starting in an hour, I spent a quick five minutes
cleaning the three fat fox squirrels, slipping them in plastic bag and tossing them into the ice chest, and
racing home for a fast shower before work!