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#1 VarmintAir

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 06:29 PM

It was an absolutely stunning Fall day in the Ponderosa's again today. Once again I was out after the wily Tassel Eared Squirrels. Two weeks ago I hunted with my AA 410CRBSL, last week it was the Discovery, and today it was my RWS Rapier two shot PCP. All are .22 caliber. I had recently mounted a Leupold 4X12X40 Vari-X-II scope on it and I needed to sight her in. This scope only parallax adjusts down to 25 yards, but since I rarely get shots under 30 yards, and the optics are very good, I thought I would put her on the Rapier and field test her today.I did a rough sight-in at 30 yards and then moved the target out to 50. Within a few shots she was printing in the center of the bullseye, and the groups were around half an inch. I brought the target back in to 25 yards and fired three shots, to see what my hold under would be at the midway point of my sight-in distance. It was one inch on the button.I was in an area that I hadn't hunted yet, but had seen a few weeks ago while out scouting around. It was mixed young and old growth pines, with lots of park like open areas. As soon as I got into the forest I started seeing squirrel sign, clipped pine needle clusters, and field stripped pine cones were everywhere.About 500 hundred yards into the woods I came across a well used game trail. It had lots of elk, and deer track going in both directions. I decided to hunt along this trail and see where it took me. I had only gone a couple of hundred yards when I saw a squirrel bolt up the side of a tree. He was around the back side, so I shot a quick range on the trunk and then using my binoculars, slowly started glassing the tree looking for any sign of him.I had been glassing for a few minutes when he popped out on a limb about 30 feet up the tree. He was sitting in plain view facing me. He had all four feet on the limb and he was kind of bent over like they do when they are scolding something. Only this guy wasn't making a sound. He was 47 yards away. I put the crosshairs between his eyes and squeezed off the shot.I couldn't believe it. He took off up the tree like it was a clean miss. My first thought was, "how in the he%) did you miss that sucker? I immediately grab my binos and started looking for him. Well, it turns out that he had only gone up about ten feet and was sitting with his back to me. I could see a part of him through a bunch of pine needles. As I was getting ready to try and slip a pellet through the needles, he started rocking back and forth, like he was about to lose his balance and fall off the limb.Sure enough, ten seconds later, down he comes. When I get over to him I discover that the pellet went just under his chin, through his lower throat area, and out the middle of his back. I thought I had missed him clean. Posted ImagePosted ImageI gathered him up, took a couple of pics, and continued hunting along the game trail. I had gone several hundred yards when something moving off to my left caught my attention. Upon closer examination, what I saw was the wind ruffling the hair on a squirrels tail. He was sitting in the shadows on a low limb. The rangefinder said 37 yards. If it hadn't been for the wind blowing this guys tail, I probably would have gone right by him. I held just a bit low on his head and squeezed off the shot.The THWACK of a well placed head shot was followed by him tumbling to the ground. Awesome! Two in the bag. Again I took a couple of pics gathered him up, and started a slow hunt back to my rig. I hunted about 100 yards away from, but parallel to the game trail on my way back. I didn't see another squirrel.Posted ImagePosted ImageI put my two trophy's in the cooler, grabbed a quick bite to eat, had a bottle of Gatorade, and headed out in the opposite direction from the earlier hunt. I hadn't seen anything for about a half an hour when I suddenly spotted a squirrel on the ground foraging around in the grass. I lasered him at 58 yards. I set the RWS on the Stoney Point bipod, allowed for a left to right wind and launched the pellet. It was a clean miss. I could see pine needles and dust kick up behind and to the right of him.He wasn't going to hang around for another shot and headed for the nearest tree. @#%$*&)%, I hate it when that happens. I was watching the tree he's in with my binoculars, when I see a squirrel run up a tree almost directly behind the one I'm watching. He goes up about twenty feet and walks out to the end of an old broken off branch. He's in plain view but 76 yards away. I guess I'm outside his danger zone, so he decides to stretch out on the limb in the shade and watch what I'm doing. Again I get the RWS settled on the Stoney Point, adjust the parallax ring, take a nice deep breath, let most of it out, put the tip of the post of the duplex crosshair on his head, and since I missed the previous shot to the right, I held a bit more into the wind and touched off the shot. YESSS! A RESOUNDING THWACK echoes back to me and he rolls off the limb. He's stone dead when he hits the ground on his back. I don't know what I would do without the Stoney Point bipod. I'm sure there are guys out there that could make that shot offhand, but I'm not one of them. I need all the help I can get. It's getting close to 4 o'clock, I'm a good half hour hike away from my vehicle, so I decide to end the day on a high. I pick up my long range trophy, shoot a couple of pics, and start hoofing it back to my rig. I stuck a pine needle into the entrance hole to show the exact point of pellet impact.As I had thought, for most of my hunting applications, I don't need a scope that parallax adjusts down to 10 yards. What a great day slipping through the woods in pursuit of the Tassel Eared Tree Squirrel. Airgun hunting is in a class all its own. It's some of the most rewarding hunting I have ever done, and I can't wait to go again. I'm thinking maybe Wednesday. Posted ImagePosted Image

#2 ShooterJohn

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 06:43 PM

Another great story and pictures Cliff. You make it look easier than it really is, but that's just experience. I agree about the scope parallax and I can't get inside of 20 yards of any animals but skunks. Those are some of the prettiest squirrels I've ever seen and I'm sure they stir fry up really well. It looks like you've landed in God's Country hunting that close to your home. But you may need to start importing squirrels as well as you're doing on them now. And you even missed once!

#3 Hookum

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 06:47 PM

VarmintAir Thats some fine shooting with a really NICE looking big boys toy. I almost felt like I was in the woods with you. Thanks

#4 VarmintAir

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 06:56 PM

Another great story and pictures Cliff. You make it look easier than it really is, but that's just experience. I agree about the scope parallax and I can't get inside of 20 yards of any animals but skunks. Those are some of the prettiest squirrels I've ever seen and I'm sure they stir fry up really well. It looks like you've landed in God's Country hunting that close to your home. But you may need to start importing squirrels as well as you're doing on them now. And you even missed once!

These guys don't make it easy. I see a lot that I never get a shot at. They are very, very, good at getting into the tops of these big pines and disappearing. When motivated, they can really cover some ground on the run too. It's very challenging, but I woudln't want it any other way.

#5 VarmintAir

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 06:59 PM

VarmintAir Thats some fine shooting with a really NICE looking big boys toy. I almost felt like I was in the woods with you. Thanks

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. My goal, in writing the story, is to try and give folks a bit of the feeling of being there. I don't know that I'm always successful, but it is fun trying.

#6 ShooterJohn

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 07:10 PM

The challenging part is what makes all of this fun. I mean I could grab a powder burner and there wouldn't be much to it. I just like the quiet and solace of pushing a small lead pellet on a gust of wind toward your intended target.Those squirrels are really something too. I just love the tassel ears they have what a strikingly beautiful trait.I took a number of different scopes out today to try on different airguns. I came to the same conclusion that you have about the parallax of different scopes. I don't need all of my airguns to focus down to 10 yards because I honestly never shoot them that close. Even inside the house I do 20+ yards. I'm finally getting a chance to head up to an old stomping ground this week. I can't wait to see what stumbles in front of me while I'm out there. If nothing else it will be a pleasure just to get out into the great outdoors, and shoot the breeze. :signgreatreport3kg:

#7 RonB

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 07:13 PM

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. My goal, in writing the story, is to try and give folks a bit of the feeling of being there. I don't know that I'm always successful, but it is fun trying.

You do make it real Cliff.You need to post more pictures of snow again so I can stop thinking about moving again :signgreatreport3kg:

#8 VarmintAir

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 07:20 PM

The challenging part is what makes all of this fun. I mean I could grab a powder burner and there wouldn't be much to it. I just like the quiet and solace of pushing a small lead pellet on a gust of wind toward your intended target.Those squirrels are really something too. I just love the tassel ears they have what a strikingly beautiful trait.I took a number of different scopes out today to try on different airguns. I came to the same conclusion that you have about the parallax of different scopes. I don't need all of my airguns to focus down to 10 yards because I honestly never shoot them that close. Even inside the house I do 20+ yards. I'm finally getting a chance to head up to an old stomping ground this week. I can't wait to see what stumbles in front of me while I'm out there. If nothing else it will be a pleasure just to get out into the great outdoors, and shoot the breeze. :signgreatreport3kg:

Up until I had seen these guys, I thought the all black ones were the most handsome, but I think these guys are something special to see. This would in no way be the same hunt if I were using a powder burner. The finesse of shot placement that is airgun hunting, is what is so challenging and fun. I'll keep doing it for as long as I'm able to get around the woods.I was selling all of my Leupold variables as I was getting rid of the powder burners they were on, when it hit me one day, "idiot, what the heck are you doing". I can't remember the last time I've had a shot under 30/35 yards at either ground squirrels or tree rats.I'm glad to hear you are going to get out. It's just good for a person to commune with nature. Especially if the communing includes hunting with an airgun. I find it very relaxing. I especially love the serenity and solitude.

#9 Steve C

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 07:25 PM

WONDERFUL story and pics. Thanks so much! This is the kind of thing is perfect reading for the winter in front of the fire. :-)

#10 Hookum

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 07:59 PM

Question. Just where do you find these tassel eared critters? All I ever see in northern Ca are large gray squrriels. After all the talk on this site and pictures of some very nice looking air guns I marched my wife over to look at some. She just smiled and said thats very nice, they sure expensive for a bb gun. Thats my wifes talk for go ahead dear. She then goes to the Cabelas catalog and starts to redecorate something at the cabin. Next season boys. I've never eaten squrriel. Are the gray squrriels ediable?

#11 ShooterJohn

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 08:02 PM

He's getting these in Arizona. They're called an Abert's Squirrel or Tassel-eared Squirrel (Sciurus aberti).Our California Grey Squirrels are excellent eating.

#12 Hookum

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 08:10 PM

Thanks SJ. I'm going to make it a point to try something new with the grandson. He's just about the right age to start hunting in the woods with PaPa.

#13 VarmintAir

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 09:19 PM

You do make it real Cliff.You need to post more pictures of snow again so I can stop thinking about moving again :smiley-innocent-halo-yellow:

It was gone in about four hours. It's been in the high fifties, low sixties since. Supposed to be like that for another week or two. If you need anything just leave a message with my secretary. I'll be in the field making calls. On furballs that is. :lol:

#14 Jeff

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 09:40 PM

GREAT shooting. Those are pretty squirrels. And I bet just as tasty as our huge greys!!

#15 Rimrock

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 10:18 PM

Another good un, Cliff. You missed? You actually missed? Really, that is some great shooting. I hope you have a successful day on Wednesday. Look for ward to another story.

#16 Bozsik

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 10:28 PM

Great story Cliff,Have you ever skinned and tanned any of those animals? The coat appears to be fairly long compared to Western Gray Squirrels.db

#17 Thumper Dunker

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 12:31 AM

Thats some real cool looking fuzzies . Good shooting.

#18 A17Shooter

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 06:41 PM

Great squirrel story & good shooting. :D




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