The squirrel season will not open for another
month--August 15, to be exact--but Mr. Bushytail is starting to ripen now--there
are plenty of things to do to get ready.
First off, it is time to zero in the weapon you
will use on opening day--whether it be a hard-shooting scattergun or a
rifle of some description--a bow with flu-flu arrows, or even the old standby
slingshot (guffaw), or somewhere between. Finding good concentrations of
game can come closer to time to hunt. Squirrels travel.
It doesn’t really matter what you use. Go out
with confidence--if you go--and enjoy the hunt. But be prepared for the
outing with something that will bring down the game, whether it be the
hard-shooting shotgun or a slingshot. Don’t regret the misses.
That, the misses, brings back memories of a very
special “miss” many years ago when the late Jack Cain, one of my mentors,
and I were on a squirrel hunt along Weisman Hill in Scott County. Toward
the middle of the afternoon, when things were slow, we joined forces, and
inadvertently walked upon a fox squirrel on a white oak tree. The squirrel
heard us coming and went in a hole.
“Let’s just sit quietly . . . the squirrel will
come out soon.” I said, boy that I was.
“´Aw” Jack said, “He’ll be around next time
Jack, incidentally, was one of the best squirrel
hunters we knew. I own his rifle.
On we went.
Getting the weapon ready you will use on opening
day can be as simple as running a few rounds through it, if you are blessed
with a new weapon –or a new old one. All it requires is some shooting at
targets you can decipher. What you are trying to do is get the weapon to
shoot where you aim. Most new guns are well bore sighted. Old guns usually
shoot pretty true but you should know how both shoot.
Shooting in a new weapon--or a new old one--is
fairly easy. But this is no time for movement of the weapon so use a prop,
however steady you may be. Use a sand bag--a rolled up blanket or rug will
do the job--to make sure you don’t move. Make sure you rest the forearm--not
the barrel--on the rest. Whether it does or not is anybody’s guess but
the old-time shooters say resting the metal of the barrel touching anything
can sets up vibes in the barrel and cause the projectile to go awry.
With the Department of Natural Resources properties
and ranges under the sponsorship of the DNR offering some 40 ranges in
30 counties there can be no excuses about not having a place to shoot..
Add the places to safely shoot on private property
and there are literally hundreds of places to do light shooting.
In many cases hunters zeroing in their firearms
for the hunting seasons are welcomed by landowners with open arms. Some
even participate. It may be that the landowner will specify. But a landowner
must make the decisions.
The big issue is the safety factor for stock and
the people who live about. Be safe and you will make a hit with landowners.
ninth annual Indiana Chapter Sportsmen’s Banquet for the Ruffed Grouse
Society is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, August 26, at the Northside K.
of C., 2100 east 71st Street, Indianapolis. Cocktails and the raffle start
at 5 p. m., dinner at 7: 30 p.m. Tickets may be ordered through Karl Kovach,
8949 Keevers Drive, Indianapolis, IN, 46234 or by phone: (317-291-7411).