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Friday, June 5, 2009

Close encounter with a squirrel

I was sitting next to a big elm tree with some brush and camo cloth strung around me to make blind. It was a warm afternoon and I had my light coveralls open at the neck and I was sitting to the east and a little south of the big tree so I could stay in the shadows. My rifle was across my lap with the muzzle pointing towards the tree and about three feet from it. I had plenty of room to move around in case I needed to turn and shoot in any direction.

I had been sitting for a while waiting for a deer or turkey or pig to come along when I noticed a squirrel about 50 yards away playing in the grass. This wasn't one of the cute little things you see in city parks. This was what I call a fox squirrel. A good sized one. It was about the size of a house cat. This was an "I don't mess with native pecans or acorns because I can pick up a bois d-arc apple in my mouth and bound away with it" sized squirrel.

It was working it's way towards me on sort of a random path. It was still early enough in the year that the squirrel hadn't gotten serious about packing calories away for winter so it was mostly must playing. 30 yards, 20 yards, 10 yards. The it was 10 feet from the tree I was sitting next to.

I was enjoying the show. I also figured that if any game came within sight they would see the squirrel playing and hopefully not notice me.

Then the squirrel starts climbing the tree I'm sitting next to. It was a big tree. At the base the trunk was big enough that two men could barely reach around it and touch fingers on either side.

Then I see the squirrel at just about eye level on the side of the tree. It's looking at me, then the muzzle of my rifle and flicked it's tail.

I knew what it was thinking. I thought it would be a great story to tell about the time I sat so still that the squirrel climbed a tree and then jumped on the muzzle of my rifle barrel.

Then I thought "What is wrong with me? If that critter jumps onto my rifle he may end up inside my coveralls." I really didn't want to be on the news that evening and decided I had to do something quick. I turned my head a little to face directly at the threat and I exhaled loudly.

He raised his head and looked me over from head to toe, probably trying to figure out why that tree stump was blowing at him and why it smelled like peanut butter and jelly. Then it decided that it had business to attend to up in the top of the tree and left me in peace.

I didnt' bring home a deer or turkey or pig that day but I still had fun.

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