Tree squirrel season opens here at the the end of the month, so I want to be sure that I'm ready for the opener. This will be my fifth season of hunting these big Abert's Tree Squirrels that inhabit the Ponderosa Pine forests here in Northern Arizona.
As you would expect, the terrain varies quite a bit within the forest area. There are places that are relatively flat, with meadows, or parks as they are called around here, interspersed throughout the area. I like to hunt the edges of the parks, on back a couple of hundred yards into the forest.
Sometimes I'll come across a game trail, and then I'll hunt along, and to the sides of that for a couple of hours. One of the other things that adds a lot of fun to the hunts, is the fact that there are a couple of types of ground squirrels, and a chipmunk that also inhabit these forests, and it's fun to hunt them at the same time I'm after the Abert's Tree Squirrels.
There are also areas that are fairly steep, and thickly populated with Gambel's Oaks, as well as the Ponderosa Pines. I find that both the steep, or flat areas can produce squirrels, but I prefer different guns for the two different types of terrain.
In the Areas where the terrain is steep, and the fact that the shots there are rarely over 40/50 yards, I want a fairly light, fast handling gun along on those hunts. In those areas that I hunt, that are more open and flat, I prefer a gun that has a bit more weight, with plenty of power to take these big squirrels out to 70/80 yards.
My choices this year, are going to be my .22 cal, AA 410 CRBSL carbine, for the light gun, and my .22 cal Benjamin Marauder, for the longer range hunts. Both guns are superbly accurate, and I've used both to take Abert's squirrels with in the past.
In the Marauder, I'll be shooting the Beeman Kodiak 21 grain Pellets, and in the AA 410 CRBSL, I'll be shooting the 16 grain JSB Exact Jumbo's.
Both guns have 5-15x40mm Bushnell Legends, with mildot reticles, mounted on them. I run the scopes at 8x for all of my hunting.
Since I last shot them, I've done some scope and mount swapping on both guns, so I need to shoot them on paper, and make sure they are properly sighted in for the task at hand. I've gone from high mounts, to mediums on both guns, and prefer how the scopes come to my eye with the mediums.
With the CRBSL Carbine, I'll zero her at 40 yards, and with the Marauder, I'll zero her at 60 yards. Then shoot my over and unders with each gun. Note those on a card that I tape to the stock of each rifle, and I'll be ready for opening day.
The plan is to get both guns out into the forest next week, get the sight-in work taken care of, and just for the heck of it, since I just cleaned the barrels on both guns, try some of the H&N, Baracuda Green, non-lead pellets in them, and see how they shoot.
As usual, I've put camera mounts on both guns, with the idea of video taping some of the hunting action in real time.
Should be a lot of fun.