I finally was able to visit the lone permission I currently have to do some ground squirrel hunting. I got up early on Saturday morning, dressed in my camo, grabbed my .22 Marauder and got out in the field at around 6:15am. I set myself up in amongst the only sapling Black Walnut trees on the property that would allow for adequate cover and did my best to blend in with my surroundings. And so you all understand how difficult it is to hunt the squirrels on this particular property, there is very little cover to block any movement from the view of these squirrels. Besides the area I was hiding in, there is no natural cover tall enough to conceal an approach of any kind. Even crawling on one's belly would take an excruciating amount of time to cover even ten feet and the squirrels would most likely end up getting a visual on you due to the extreme alert nature of these particular ground squirrels. The reason I say they are "Alert" is because they have been hunted (at least every weekend) since I had last been there and had become extremely sensitive to any foreign movements in their surrounding areas and easily went into "panic mode". Anyway, due to the conditions, the closest shots presented to me that day were at 55 yards. The first squirrel (the smaller of the two in the photo) was at 55 yards and only it's head was above the entrance to it's burrow. I lined up the shot, allowing for distance and windage and very carefully eased back on the trigger. Bam! Right in the noggin. It flopped up out of it's burrow and onto the ground, twitched a couple of times and it was lights out!
A few other squirrels popped up at 100, 110 and 120 yards between scoring hits. I haven't quite figured out my holdover yet and even though my shots were straight, they were either just a few inches short or long. But as soon as I get those holdovers figured out, those squirrels will be in big trouble. Finally another squirrel presented a perfect side profile at 65 yards. I took aim and since I wasn't sure if I ranged him quite right, I brought the impact point down just about an inch and fired. Another hit! The squirrel went down and never twitched. The pellet went in around the shoulder and out the other side. It must have hit something vital because the squirrel dropped dead upon impact. Both shots on these squirrels were complete pass throughs, as I could see the pellets kick up a small cloud of dust behind the squirrels after impact. I am very impressed with the Benjamin Marauder. I was able to hunt a couple of other days there while I was in the area and shot (3) more ground squirrels (at 30, 45 and 65 yards) and (2) gophers (at 10 and 20 yards) but didn't get any photos of those. All ground squirrels and gophers I shot were immediately plastic bagged and fresh frozen (with fur on) and will be taken to help feed rehabilitating hawks and owls at a center that is near the hunting grounds. All in all, it was a good time and very challenging. I can't wait to get out again soon!