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Grays and Fox squirrel up next!

Posted by on October 20, 2016

I took off last week on the next leg of my squirrel grand slam quest, to Southern Minnesota after grays squirrel and fox squirrel. A friend has a large tract of wooded land he uses for hunting, primarily deer and turkey. He hasn’t been out in a while, but has given me carte blanche access, and I decided to use it to go after squirrel, turkey, and coyote. There are also a couple of Wildlife Management Areas close by that I’ve been wanting to explore, so I decided to run and gun living out of my car. I didn’t want to waste time driving between the land and my house or hotels (both a couple hours away), and wanted mobility so didn’t want to set up a camp per se.

Working the a hardwood forest with the Compatto, had opportunities on both grays and fox squirrels.

Working the a hardwood forest with the Compatto, had opportunities on both grays and fox squirrels.

The Compatto was my gun of choice again, I have stacks of guns I need to test, but keep grabbing this one on my way out the door. I consider myself an average shot and a pretty good field shot, but this rifle takes me to a new level when I’m on the hunt. I was hammering squirrels out to 60 yards and 60 feet up, and had confidence every time I pulled the trigger a squirrel would be coming down.
I took a lot of shots sitting with my forearm rested on my knee, quite a few standing while leaning against a tree truck for added support, and a few kneeling. I’ve set he trigger up to break at 18 oz after a moderate take-up, and it breaks like a glass rod. Many of you know that I’ve said a sidelver is my preferred action in PCP rifles, but the bolt on the Compatto has such a good tactile response and is so smooth that I am completely happy with it.

Drays were all over the place, as well as a number of clearly used den trees. This was a squirrel hunters paradises!

Drays were all over the place, as well as a number of clearly used den trees. This was a squirrel hunters paradises!

I shot a lot of squirrels; 10 in two days with 5 grays and 5 fox squirrels. I could have shot that number in one day, the legal limit is 10 per day and I had the opportunity but I want a healthy population to hunt all season. The squirrels were big and healthy, and also pretty spooky which makes them that more challenging and fun to hunt. I noticed that the grays were more active in the morning and late afternoon, and the fox squirrels were out a lot more throughout the day.

First trio on the game carrier!

Not a bad mixed bag!

I’ve got several big game hunts scheduled throughout this year; deer, hogs, turkey, javalina, and exotics ….. and plenty of predator hunting as well. But I can honestly say that squirrel season is one of the highlights of my hunting year! If you haven’t gone out this year, grab your rifle and get yourself chasing bushytails! No matter where you live, odds are high there will be huntable populations in the vicinity.
Any gun putting out 12-25 fpe in .177-.25range can make a fine squirrel gun. The distance at which you can keep your groups inside of a quarter should set a maximum range for you. But here’s a hint, know what your gun is doing at close range as well. I’d say the majority of my misses have occurred at close range when I haven’t noted the 5 and 10-yard POI, so this is a basic part of my rifle preparation these days.

Love thiis hand pellet Tin, wish I'd gotten several more when they were available!

Love this hand pellet Tin, wish I’d gotten several more when they were available!

Here’s a link to the Video
In other News
I just wanted to give a shout out to the guys at AOA for another great job with this year’s Extreme Bench Rest. It was well attended, well organized, with some great guns and shooters. If you haven’t made it to one so far, you need to start planning for next year!

I have some cool hunts coming up; Deer and bear in Virginia, deer in Alabama, oryx in Texas, turkey in California, hogs in Texas and Florida, predators in Texas, Indiana, South Dakota, and Arizona and small game and randon coyote hunts all over the place. And I just got registered for SHOT Show, so there’s a lot happening!

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6 Responses to Grays and Fox squirrel up next!

  1. Wyeth Hecht

    Sounds like you had a good time. But what do you think of the dnr moving away from lead in walk in public hunting areas. Is this making it hard on air gunners?

  2. RidgeRunner

    Jim,

    Despite the plethora of air rifles available to you, your continued use of the Compatto is an endorsement that cannot be ignored. You have shown time and again how well it performs in various small game hunting environments.

    This is the information that I look for. Yes, knowing that the air rifle is accurate is of a necessity, however also knowing how well it performs in the field is of extreme importance. It is one thing to sit at a bench and put pellet after pellet in the same hole and is quite another to lug that air rifle through the woods and shoot that chattering bushy tail in the top of a hickory.

  3. Wyeth Hecht

    Jim, I went to the dnr web and found some info. It only seems to apply to shotguns.

  4. Sam

    Springers?

  5. Craig

    I enjoy your blog and appreciate seeing your hunting forays in our great state, keep up the nice work!
    On a related note, I haven’t noticed blaze orange on your person in the photos or videos of you hunting small game in Minnesota.(I may have missed it) The regulation in Minnesota states that while hunting small game the visible portion of at least one article of clothing above the waist must be blaze orange.. I have run across a number of small game hunters not following the regulation(at least until they encounter a conservation officer) and don’t want to see the mistake perpetuated. I assume you are wearing it and maybe removing it for production purposes. I thought it might be a good chance to note it and spread the word for those who may not have noticed the regulation.
    Here’s wishing you a safe and enjoyable “best season to be outdoors”!

    • Jim Chapman

      I have a blaze cap I wear when on the move, that I stash in my pack when stationary and sometimes forget to put back on when doing photos…, especially when I’m hunting private farms not open to other hunters. I am much more blaze conscious when hunting public land. But you are right, the laws are the laws and should be obeyed. As an aside, I find it interesting that I can be in an area hunting squirrel and am required to wear blaze, but if hunting turkey or coyote in the same area it’s not required.

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