By: Glynn Harris
It all started for me about as simple as could be. When I was just a little fellow, my dad placed a little single shot .22 Winchester rifle in my hands and after a lecture and warning that this little gun was no Daisy Red Rider and could hurt or kill you if mishandled, it’s a wonder I was brave enough to carry it to the woods. But I did and actually shot a few squirrels with the .22. That little gun was extra special to me and I still have it.
With squirrel season opening this past weekend – it kicked off Saturday October 3 – I was in the woods at daylight for the chance to relive my experiences I had with the little single shot .22, but it will remain in my gun cabinet; I packed a different firearm.
I have several choices for squirrel hunting and on opening day, I was packing my Remington 870 pump with my full choke tube screwed in and I’ll be shooting high brass #6 shot.
I’m sure some hunters will question my choice for opening day as they like to be more “sporting” and go with a .22. Rest assured, my later hunts will be with my .22 but on opening day, I want to be sure I have enough squirrels for a mulligan; the scattergun is more likely to bag more squirrels than the rifle.
Later in the season, I’ll be packing my little Remington Model 597. Once I get it zeroed in, this little gun will drive tacks and is lots of fun to shoot and if I use a tree trunk or low branch for a rest, it’s deadly on a squirrel sitting still whittling an acorn or hickory nut. However, if I miss on the first shot and the little rascal takes off through the trees, all bets are off.
Another option for hunting squirrels is one I discovered a couple of years ago. It’s a Winchester Model 1250 SS break barrel pellet rifle. Here’s what a web site for the sweet shooting little gun has to say…
“The black composite stock of the Model 1250SS features a comfortable thumbhole grip that gives you great wrist and hand support, making this adult-sized rifle quick to mount and easy to hold on target. A bull-barrel shroud offers a clean design with no open sights. Mounting grooves accept the 3 – 9 X 32 air rifle scope (included).
“For pest control, serious target practice and even small game hunting, this break-barrel rifle delivers up to 1250 fps velocity with alloy pellets. The Winchester Model 1250SS is suitable for adults and those 16 and older with adult supervision.”
I have shot squirrels with the pellet gun and if you get him on the first shot, it works beautifully. However, the main draw-back is noise and excessive movement needed to break the barrel open to insert another pellet, snap the barrel shut and get ready for a second shot. Likely as not, the squirrel is two trees over in a hole by the time you’re locked and loaded for a second shot. Even so, this little gun is really fun to shoot and delivers plenty of knock-down power to send a squirrel to the Promised Land.
I hunt squirrels for two basic reasons. Sneaking up on a squirrel is far more challenging than sitting in a deer stand and waiting for a deer to walk by. I commend dads who deserve a pat on the back for introducing their youngsters to hunting by taking them on a few squirrel hunts before crawling into a deer stand. By coaching a youngster how to sneak, when to stop, what to look for on a squirrel hunt, they’re adding greatly to his love for hunting.
My second reason? A young squirrel cut into quarters, dusted in seasoned flour and dropped into a skillet of hot oil or a couple of older squirrels cooked into a mulligan make for some mighty fine eating.
BUSSEY BRAKE – Bass fishing has been fair with a few reported caught on crank baits, spinners and Rogues around structure. Bream are fair on worms and crickets. No reports on crappie or catfish. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Bream and bass are fair; crappie are slow. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – The river is rising due to the release of water from Lake D’Arbonne and few fishermen have reported in. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – The lake level is about 4 feet down with the drawdown underway. Crappie have followed the water as it falls with best fishing being in the channel on shiners or jigs. Bass are also in the deeper holes in the channel with crank baits and soft plastics picking up a few. No report on bream but channel catfish continue to bite off the banks on cold worms and night crawlers. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Crappie fishing has been good this week around the submerged tops and stumps on shiners or jigs. Some bass are being caught around the banks but they are running small to medium size. Topwaters, spinners and soft plastics are picking up a few. Stripers have been best trolling white bucktails or spoons while the bream have slowed down. No report on catfish this week. For latest information, call Tim Loftin at Kel’s Cove at 927-2264.
CANEY LAKE – Crappie fishing has been fair around the deeper tops on shiners or jigs. Some bass are schooling and hitting topwater shad imitations with a few bigger fish caught around the channel drops on soft plastics and crank baits. A few bream are being caught on worms and crickets with no report this week on catfish. For latest information contact Bateaux on Caney Lake at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Crappie are fair on shiners or jigs. Catfishing has been good on blood bait. Bass have been fair while bream are slow. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318-878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – No report. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is falling and fishing has improved. Quite a few crappie have been caught on shiners or jigs. Fishing for bass and catfish are both improving with bream fishing being fair. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.
LAKE BRUIN – Fishing has been basically slow with a few crappie and bream reported.. For information, contact Carlos Gray at 318/766-0075.