As I was getting my gun and gear out of my rig, I could hear this loud commotion going on up the canyon that I intended to hunt. The ravens, acorn woodpeckers, and other birds were going crazy.
Rather than rush up there to see what was going on, I decided to hunt my way in. I'd only gone about 30 yards when a squirrel jumps up on a downed old oak limb. I center his noggin up in the scope and put a pellet through his head.
When he starts rolling around in the grass, like brain shot squirrels do, another squirrel runs up on a near by mound and sits up, trying to figure out what's going on. I laser him and get 41 yards. I put the crosshair right on top of his head, "thunk", now he's also tumbling around in the grass.
I tie these two on my stringer and slip further into the canyon. The racket from the ravens and others is still going on.
As I come out from under a large oak tree, and head for the next one, something tells me to look up. The tree I'm heading for is about 25 yards away. The trunk on it rises up about twenty feet and then branches in two. The left side has broken off about 45 feet above the ground, and I can see that it's hollow.
Hanging on to the bark about forty feet up, is a ground squirrel holding very still, just watching me. I don't think I have ever seen a ground squirrel this far up in an oak tree before.
I slip a .20 caliber FTS pellet through his head and he drops to the ground about two feet from the base of the tree. I walk over to get a look at him, and while I'm standing there next to the tree, I can hear another squirrel running up the inside of it. It sounds a lot like when a squirrel gets in our attic. These old oaks are notorious for being hollow inside.
I look up, and looking straight down at me from the hollow opening in the broken trunk, 45 feet in the air, is a squirrel's head. I don't know about you guys, but I don't spend a lot of time shooting "straight up" in the air so I'm not too sure where to hold. I decide to hold like it's a point- blank shot.
I hold a little high, to allow for the height of the scope over the center line of the bore, and squeeze the trigger. The pellet goes right in the squirrels mouth and down he comes.
I know one thing, when looking for ground squirrels up in the oak trees, I have not been looking high enough. I add those two onto my stringer and slip on through the woods. Next, I spot a squirrel sitting up on a branch sticking out of a pile of deadfall. Laser says 55 yards. I split the difference between the crosshair and the first mil dot south of the crosshair, and send a pellet his way. It's a clean miss. I quickly reload, adjust my hold, and squeeze off another shot. There is a satisfying "thwack", and he tumbles off the branch stone dead.
What happened next was truly amazing, and a complete surprise. A weasel pops out of a hole in the ground about ten feet away from the squirrel. I think he could smell the blood. I've included a picture of the squirrel and the weasel at the end of this post. Look in the upper right hand corner of the picture, and you will see the weasel standing there looking right at me.
You can see his front legs, chest, black eyes, and the white spot on his forehead. Look to the left side of the picture at about 9 o'clock, and you can see a long grayish looking something, that is partially hidden behind an old piece of limb. That is the ground squirrel that I had just knocked off of an old deadfall branch. These two were a pretty good distance away, and I've had to crop and blow-up the picture to get them to show up. It's a bit fuzzy, but I think you can still make them out. I've never had anything like this happen before.
The ravens and other birds are still having a fit. I'm getting real close to the side draw where all of the action is, and as I come over a rise and can see into the draw, I see a beautiful Barn Owl sitting in an old oak tree. The beautiful heart shaped white face is a dead give away as to the type of owl. What a neat sight. As soon as it saw me it took off, weaving it's way through the oaks, with about a dozen ravens hot on it's tail. (no pun intended) I consider a sighting like that, one of "Nature's Treats".
A little further up the canyon I got a squirrel at 33 yards, and another behind it at 41 yards. I slowly worked my way up to them hoping to get another shot or two on the way. When I get there, I see some movement out of the corner of my left eye. Slowly turning my head in that direction, I see a doe laying in the shade of a small oak tree. The movement was her tail flicking at the flies that were pestering her. I lasered her and she was 19 yards away. I took her picture and moved on. Another nice "treat" for the day.
I added the two squirrels to my stringer, and started the down hill stroll back to my truck. When I get back to my rig for lunch, I need to unload my R9, so I started looking for a target of opportunity. No squirrels are showing themselves, so I decide to shoot at a knot on a log a lasered 42 yards away. When the pellet hits the knot, a squirrel comes out of nowhere, and jumps up on the log. It must have been in the grass behind it. Gawd I hate it when that happens. I load up another pellet, thunk, THWACK. Lunch time.
I had a bottle of Gatorade with lunch, and the orange lid kept calling out to me"target, target". I put some dirt in it for ballast, and set it out at 65 yards on it's side so that I was looking at the lid face on. I sat down in my folding camp chair, and using my Stoney Point bipod for a rest, commenced to shoot at it.
Putting the first mil dot directly on the lid was perfect. When I did my part the pellets consistently hit the lid. They would go through the lid and stay inside the bottle. At 65 yards they shoot clear through a ground squirrel's head.
The .20 cal. Beeman R9 is an excellent rifle for hunting ground squirrels with. Not too heavy, plenty of power, and incredibly accurate. You just can't ask for much more than that.
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