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Virgil's Farm, WV
Dad, Dave, Virgil, me
Mid 60s to Mid 70s, Light winds

The call from Dad at 4:30 am - "You up yet?" The season begins. We met at Virgil's at 6:30 ready to go. Got started from the house as the morning sun was coming up. My plan was to work to Virgil's tree stand below the pond, drop over the hill, and check out the big hollows for opening day of bow season.

As I cut from the main field on the old road I heard the Mr. Squirrel call on the knob to the right. I eased along, slow and quiet, and made my way to a big freshly fallen log 15 yards off of the road. I sat down, took off my backpack and waited. I saw a gray squirrel working its way down from the top of the knob up in the trees. It finally settled in my vision about 15 yards away and 15 feet up in a tree. I carefully laid the 1100 with the full choke short barrel on it and squeezed the trigger. Head shot with a couple of twitches and the 1995 hunting season was on!

I left the first squirrel where it lay and waited for more action. Five minutes later I saw a second gray working down the hill in the treetops. It worked past me, quartering away as it went. I decided to be patient and have a cup of coffee. Sure enough, 10 minutes later, it worked back toward me on the ground. I had moved up to the first squirrel by this point, slow and quiet. The young gray popped over a fallen log 10 yards out with a nut in its mouth and I popped it, blowing it back another five yards. I retrieved both squirrels with a big grin, ready for more.

I circled around to the flat above the fallen tree and re-entered the woods from the pond side. I had sneaked no more than 5 yards into the tree line when I saw a gray 10 yards away and on the ground. I shot it and excitedly retrieved my quarry.

At this point I realized I was not making any progress toward my original goal of exploring the hollows below Virgil's tree stand. I pulled my blaze orange vest from my backpack, loaded the squirrels into the game pocket, left the backpack in the road and worked my way to the fence line. Fifteen yards into the tree line and a gray jumped on the side of a tree 10 yards away. A quick shot blew it back and down! Pocket number four and move on.

I crossed the fence, walked 10 yards, and a gray ran 15 yards out, left to right in a small clearing. Snap shot and number five down. Unbelievable!

Took twenty steps and a squirrel ran down a tree 40 yards out. Boom! Missed. I remember thinking, "There's number six." Wrong.

Decided to calm down and cut a big circle below last years' buck stand. After 10 minutes I heard a racket behind me and turned around to see two big fox squirrels coming my way, one chasing the other. Twenty yards out I fired and missed, the trailing squirrel jumped on the side of a tree and I nailed him. Checked my watch and it was 9:28. Sunrise was at 7:31. One hour and 57 minutes to a limit of squirrels.

I cleaned my limit, helped Virgil right a trailer the cows had tipped, had lunch and went out for an afternoon of bow hunting. I worked down the new logging road and saw four more squirrels. I was at full draw on one but he bolted before I could release.

It was a great day and, hopefully, an omen of great things to come. Dad and Dave killed three each and Virgil added two more for what was a great day of squirrel hunting.

  12 squirrels seen, 6 taken

  The Claypools.com