It all started for me about as simple as could be. When I was just a little fellow, my dad placed a little single shot .22 Winchester rifle in my hands and after a lecture and warning that this little gun was no Daisy Red Rider and could hurt or kill you if mishandled, it’s a wonder I was brave enough to carry it to the woods. But I did and actually shot a few squirrels with the .22. That little gun was extra special to me and I still have it.
With squirrel season opening this coming weekend – it kicks off Saturday October 1 – I’ll be in the woods at daylight for the chance to relive my experiences I had with the little single shot .22, but it will remain in my gun cabinet; I’ll be packing a different firearm.
I have several choices for squirrel hunting and chances are for opening day, I’ll be packing my Remington 870 pump with my full choke tube screwed in and I’ll be shooting high brass #6 shot.
I’m sure some hunters will question my choice for opening day as they like to be more “sporting” and go with a .22. Rest assured, my later hunts will be with my .22 but on opening day, I want to be sure I have enough squirrels for a mulligan or new recipe a friend just gave me. The scattergun is more likely to bag more squirrels than the rifle.
Later in the season, I’ll be packing my little Remington Model 597. Once I get it zeroed in, this little gun will drive tacks and is lots of fun to shoot and if I use a tree trunk or low branch for a rest, it’s deadly on a squirrel sitting still whittling an acorn or hickory nut. However, if I miss on the first shot and the little rascal takes off through the trees, all bets are off.
Another option for hunting squirrels is one I discovered a couple of years ago. It’s a Winchester Model 1250 SS break barrel pellet rifle. Here’s what a web site for the sweet shooting little gun has to say…
“The black composite stock of the Model 1250SS features a comfortable thumbhole grip that gives you great wrist and hand support, making this adult-sized rifle quick to mount and easy to hold on target. A bull-barrel shroud offers a clean design with no open sights. Mounting grooves accept the 3 – 9 X 32 air rifle scope (included).
“For pest control, serious target practice and even small game hunting, this break-barrel rifle delivers up to 1250 fps velocity with alloy pellets. The Winchester Model 1250SS is suitable for adults and those 16 and older with adult supervision.”
I have shot squirrels with the pellet gun and if you get him on the first shot, it works beautifully. However, the main draw-back is noise and excessive movement needed to break the barrel open to insert another pellet, snap the barrel shut and get ready for a second shot. Likely as not, the squirrel is two trees over in a hole by the time you’re locked and loaded for a second shot. Even so, this little gun is really fun to shoot and delivers plenty of knock-down power to send a squirrel to the Promised Land.
I hunt squirrels for two basic reasons. Sneaking up on a squirrel is far more challenging than sitting in a deer stand and waiting for a deer to walk by. I commend dads who deserve a pat on the back for introducing their youngsters to hunting by taking them on a few squirrel hunts before crawling into a deer stand. By coaching a youngster how to sneak, when to stop, what to look for on a squirrel hunt, they’re adding greatly to his love for hunting.
My second reason? Squirrels make fine table fare and I love ‘em for that.
Glynn Harris Outdoor column is sponsored by D.C. Pawn in Minden