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Airguns, Jeep Trails, and Tassel Eared Squirrels.


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#1 VarmintAir

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 06:12 PM

I love going down roads I've never seen before. Today was designated as a day of exploration. I have a Forest Service map of an area that is about 10 miles from the house and covers about 400 square miles, and this is just a small part of the whole forest.In looking at the map, I noticed a jeep trail that I could pick up about 20 miles East of our place, that would allow me to work my way West, and come out on the highway about 10 miles from the house. That became todays project. I put the .22 cal. AA 410CRBSL carbine in the rig cause you just never know when the urge to hunt might strike.Creeping along those jeep trails is a fun way to learn the lay of the land and see what's out there. I found some really great looking spots that I intend to return to and hunt squirrels.About three o'clock I came to a nice looking natural park area. It was all meadow in the middle, about three hundred yards across, and surrounded with a lot of nice mature Ponderosa Pines. It had Tassel Eared Squirrel written all over it. Let's hunt.It only took a few minutes to get my gear and gun out and I was on the hunt. My plan was to hunt from the edge of the meadow to about 100 yards into the forest. As soon as I got into the woods, I could see field stripped pine cones laying on the forest floor. This was encouraging and my alert level went up a couple of notches. I had gone maybe 300 yards when I see a squirrel jump from the forest floor up onto an old downed pine log. He's busily working on a pine cone. I put the rangefinder on him and got a distance of 122 yards. I need to close the distance some, so I put a nice big pine tree between myself and the furball, and started the sneak. When I got up to the tree I was using as a shield, I slowly stuck just enough of my head around the trunk to shoot another range on him. This time he's at 63 yards. Perfect. I'm sighted in at 55 yards, I'll hold on the top of his head, allow for the breeze and we should have more fodder for the stir-fry. Well, it didn't quite work out that way. As soon as I put the Stoney Point bipod out by the side of the tree and rested the carbine on it he was gone. He launched off of that log and made a beeline to the nearest tree. They can race up those trees in a heart beat.I shot a quick range to the trunk, knowing that I probably won't have time to get a direct range on him, and the range to the trunk is going to be close enough. The trunk is 59 yards away. He of course, has placed himself on the far side of the tree, out of my sight. I want to take him before he gets into the crown of the tree. The tree crowns overlap, and once there, he can start going tree to tree and I'll lose him for surePatience is a virtue when hunting these guys. I just hung out by the tree I was setup by and waited. He eventually comes out about 60 feet up in a 90 foot pine. He's sitting on a limb in such a way that I cannot see his head, but I can see his right side kind of angling away to the left. It looks like a heart lung shot will do the trick. When the shot broke there was that loud THWACK that is the sweet sound of success.Down he came, and it was nothing but net. He didn't hit anything on the way to the ground. The furball bounced twice and just lay there. I think the pellet hit the spine on the way through. It exited by the left shoulder. It was starting to get late, and I had told my wife that I would be home by five, so I decided to come back another day and hunt this area again. I took a quick picture of the prize posed with the AA 410CRBSL and rangefinder, hiked back to my rig, put everything away, and headed for the old homestead.The serenity and solitude one experiences while slipping through the woods hunting tree squirrels, is one of life's great pleasures. Posted Image

#2 ShooterJohn

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 06:25 PM

That sounds like a fun day of exploring Cliff. Just getting out and looking around you find some really great places. It sounds like you found a couple to check out on future outings. Man-o-man those squirrels are big. Regular heavy weights compared to the size of the gun. Great story as usual and the picture is great too. :roflmao3[1]:

#3 VarmintAir

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 06:48 PM

Thanks John, it was a lot of bouncing around, but a lot of fun and I saw some great country. It took me all day to go 10 miles on that jeep trail, and only 15 minutes, once I hit the pavement, to go the 10 miles to the house. The AA 410CRBSL carbine is the perfect rifle for this type of hunting. I get 20 full power shots, it's light to carry and as accurate as anything going. You could probably hunt for a couple of days on one fill. The limit is five squirrels, and so far the best I've done is three. But then again, I haven't hunted a full day for them yet either. Throw in a few misses, or follow up shots, and you still have air to spare.The carbines are great little rifles.

#4 ShooterJohn

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 07:03 PM

I like the size of that carbine. Like you say easy to carry and 20 shots before filling is great. Of course I have my pygmy tank for those quick top offs.Are you driving a Jeep like a CJ or what sort of vehicle are you exploring in? I sure miss my old CJ5. Sold it to an old friend who trashed it unfortunately. My wife's uncle owns a Lexus dealership and they had a Jeep Rubicon I wanted but waited to long. But he said let him know and he'd trade for one for me. My F250 Ford 4x4 diesel is not something you want to take down a tight trail and my Expedition, well it's fine for getting to somewhere but not a real off road vehicle.

#5 Rimrock

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 07:09 PM

Thanks for another interesting story and picture.You live in some really interesting country. Enjoy it to the fullest.

#6 acousticmood

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 07:15 PM

That's a great story!

#7 VarmintAir

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 07:21 PM

I'm on my third Toyota 4Runner. (the first one was stolen and is now hauling bananas in Belize) :roflmao3[1]: I really like them. They are reliable as can be, big enough to haul all my stuff with room to spare, and are a pretty comfortable off road ride.

#8 ShooterJohn

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 07:27 PM

Hauling bananas in Belize! :roflmao3[1]: Sorry but that's funny. I can haul lots of stuff in my Expedition but it's a bit wide for the kind of offroading I'm used to. I've never of a Toyota, you never know though. Thanks.

#9 VarmintAir

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 07:38 PM

Hauling bananas in Belize! :roflmao3[1]: Sorry but that's funny. I can haul lots of stuff in my Expedition but it's a bit wide for the kind of offroading I'm used to. I've never of a Toyota, you never know though. Thanks.

Your Expedition wouldn't have any paint left on the sides if you had gone down the trail I was on today. I picked up a few light scratches, but they'll buff out. I try not to abuse my stuff but it does get used.

#10 RonB

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 04:06 AM

I had a 95 Jeep Wrangler with the 4.0 six cyclinder for 4 years and loved it! It was absolutely the funnest vehicle I have ever had. I bought it right and had a soft top, half doors, and a hard top with full doors.It was just a weekend/work vehicle as we had a new Ford explorer for the family. When I got divorced and had full custody of my daughters and our 110 lb German Shepherd, I found out it wasn't practical for the family. It was tough tryig to get two kids and groceries for the week in a Jeep.I bought a 2002 Dodge Ram Quad cab 4x4 with the 360 engine. It doesn't get the best milage and doesn't fit between the tres that well but, I can haul/pull anything and all six of us can fit.My wife just woke up and asked if I am looking at pictures of Arizona again.. :roflmao3[1]: Great description and pic Cliff!

#11 THE KNOT

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 05:47 AM

I have always had trucks on my 3rd jeep and 3 toyota extra cab pickups with a cap i now have a 96 cheeroke it's a sweet ride and great for all hunting needs tight powerful 4.0 high output gets everywhere with the back seat down all the gear is in there . Great tale cliff you make it real .




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