Yesterday afternoon, I went out to hunt ground squirrels and cottontails at a friend's 8 acre place. My friend, a spry 80-year-old gent who grew up on a farm in Nebraska, said he's been shooting at the ground squirrels with his 20 gauge this week. (He got 5.) So I expected things would be pretty skittish around the place. But still it was good to be out. Plus, I'd just renewed my hunting license so I figured I might as well try to get something for my $50. As we were walking along the back of the property chatting, a ground squirrel popped up from behind a small rise about 35 yards away. Then his head popped down. I was carrying my R9 but didn't think I'd get a shot because the GS was moving quickly and only occasionally showing its head. But then it popped its head up again and ran forward over the small hill towards us exposing itself and shortening the distance to about 30 yards. I instantly cocked the R9 as the squirrel came to a brief stop presenting a right side profile. I knew I'd only have time for a quick offhand standing shot and held a little low to account for the pellet's POI rise at 30 yards. Thwock! The FTS slammed into its ribs and I saw the squirrel leap in the air kicking, then race off over the little hill and out of sight. "You got him but he ran off," my friend drily observed. "Yeah, but he'll die quickly," I told him. "That was a solid hit and I'm pretty sure it went through and through." My friend looked a little dubious but was glad I'd hit it. They dig under his house, garage and sheds and drive him nuts. I scouted around looking for the squirrel not expecting much because I figured it made it down its hole. But then I spotted it near the back fence, lying on its back in some bushes deader 'n a doornail. I found the .177 pellet had exited hard out the left side and the squirrel had bled out almost entirely from the exit wound. Not much else was stirring around the place the rest of the afternoon, probably because of my friend's shotgun use earlier in the week. I did spot one large cottontail at one point and I stalked it, but it was smarter than I was and made it into the sagebrush. I waited a good half hour and saw it moving around in there from time to time but couldn't get a clear shot. So I left it for another day. Have a great Independence Day everyone!