Using a squirrel distress call to coax out a wary squirrel, I get a surprise visitor
I received permission to hunt a little farm right outside of town, and got out to the woods a bit after day break. I worked my way back to an area in which I’d seen squirrels earlier in the year while on a pre-season scouting trip. There were several food trees and a big oak that looked like it might have a den, set in a flat area with undergrowth thinning in the early fall season. This was going to be a pleasant morning, it was a little overcast and about 60 degrees and I felt sure IÂ’d kick up a couple of bushytails before too long.
I was set up under a tree with a couple of thick vines running down in front of me, offering a little bit more cover and further breaking my outline. After about twenty minutes I saw the first squirrel of the morning up in the canopy moving around, but I could not get a clear shot before I lost him in the foliage. I waited another ten minutes and saw nothing, so decided to break out a call and give it a try. I am getting better with calling as every season passes, finding that when I know thereÂ’s a squirrel in the vicinity a call will sometimes bring him out. So I started with a few barks switching over to a distress squeal, then waited.
Not more than a minute after I laid the call down I caught motion out of the corner of my eye, and slowly turning saw a raccoon heading towards me at about thirty yards. He saw me move and veered off running at an angle that presented me with a quartering shot. I had just charged up my DAQ .25 Outlaw and knew I was getting around 45 Â– 50 fpe with the heavy field and trophy pointed hunting pellets, so quickly lined up the shot and fired. The coon stumbled, then headed for the closest tree. He started to climb but fell before starting again to shimmy up the back side of the tree. At about 25 feet up he moved partially around to my side of the trunk as he climbed. IÂ’d held my position and reloaded, and when his head came around the trunk, I had the scope cranked up to 9x and settled the crosshairs right on his head. I heard the thump of the pellet hit home and watched a little puff of fur as he dropped out of the tree, DOA.
I have had fox, coyote, and a few bobcats come in when IÂ’ve been calling with a rabbit distress call while predator hunting. IÂ’ve had coyote and feral housecats answer when using the squirrel distress call to lure in squirrel, and coyote come in when IÂ’ ve used a fawn distress call. This was the first time IÂ’d ever had a raccoon respond, and while it could have been coincidental it appeared like he was moving towards me with intent. As a matter of fact this is only one of a handful of times IÂ’d seen a raccoon moving about at this time of the morning. I felt the quartering shot was a good one to take, even though he was moving at a fairly good clip I had him lined right up and felt confident I would place the shot. I also felt that the DAQ Outlaw at 40 yards would deliver the power to put him down, as IÂ’d found this gun with the aforementioned pellets would go in one end and out the other of a squirrel. The first shot was a good lung shot and would have done the job, but the second (head) shot was decisive and put him down immediately. While this was an opportunistic kill, I felt pretty good about it. IÂ’ m generally not inclined to shoot a raccoon, as taking them over a garbage can at night just doesnÂ’t appeal to me (and I rather like the masked bandit). IÂ’m not being judgmental, thereÂ’s nothing wrong with any type of pest control, just some types of hunting appeal to me and some donÂ’t. But besides the fact that the landowner had asked me to cull some predators, heÂ’d had trouble with coyote/fox/raccoon and his poultry, getting this guy in daylight while coming in on call was very cool indeed.
I am really impressed by this prototype gun Dennis Quackenbush built for me, it is accurate, powerfull, and the compact dimensions make it a pleasure to carry. Originally IÂ’d had the gun built as a break down to take along when traveling, but IÂ’m finding that it is now the first gun grabbed when I head out to the squirrel woods. After snapping a few more pictures and skinning out the coon (IÂ’m building a hunting den/trophy room at home and may find a use for this mini rug) I packed up and headed home. I figured this was a good way to start and end my hunt; it is one that will stick in my mind to be sure.