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Squirrel Doggin' 20-21

Jamie

Senior Member
3,575
110
Licking Co.
I just wasn't up to any hunting this weekend, and stayed home both days and did practically nothing besides shoot a few arrows and carry firewood. Nancy has been suffering a sinus infection since the middle of last week,, and was feeling like I might have gotten some of her cooties Got rested up good, back to it today, feeling fine, and cootie free. :D The dogs were rather out of sorts today, and they didn't really have a good showing. Slick ran hard like he always does, but would not stay on a tree. Lefty did nothing but follow Slick or me around and try to destroy my squirrels. Saw 10 squirrels total, shot at 5, killed them all. I walked away from two that Slick would not stay treed on, saw another up in a tree that the dogs missed, and two got away on a triple. This was the last squirrel I shot, and did not see the other squirrels until I was picking it up, but the dogs saw them both and took off after them. by the time I had dead rat in my vest, both of those squirrels had found a hole. Slick treed them all today, and we only went to handful of dens. I need to figure out why Slick will not stay on a tree when Lefty is present. I think Lefty must be the problem, and he is still favoring that front leg. he has a cut on his paw, and I think it's bothering him a good bit. I think Lefty is sitting out the rest of the week. Could have, and should have had a limit today. Still, any time I come home with more than a couple of squirrels in mid January, it's a pretty good day.

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Jamie

Senior Member
3,575
110
Licking Co.
needed a change of scenery The. Goof and I went up to Big Island wildlife area for the day. I have not been up there for two years. We did ok. the dogs hunted well. Slick got 7, including one double, Lefty got one, but it was the only one that got away. I guess he put on his sassy pants while we at lunch. he took off and treed about 400 yards away. I could barely hear him barking, but Slick, who was under my feet like Lefty usually is, tipped me off when he up and sprinted out of sight to see what Lefty had. I arrived at the tree to find two dogs staring up at a squirrel 15' up in a 4" tree. The Goof was talking on his phone instead of hunting, so I tried to get into position for a shot, but the squirrel bailed out to the ground. didn't make it far before Slick grabbed it up, but it got free and Lefty snapped it up immediately, and it got away from him, too and up a tree again. we found the squirrel again, and while The Goof was trying to get into position for a shot, squirrel timbered out to another tree and promptly came down the tree right toward Slick who was eagerly waiting. Squirrel went around to the side of tree opposite me and Slick stopped barking. Rat got into a big crack in the tree the went from the ground up about 5 feet. I swear Lefty would still have his head in that crack if I hadn't dragged him away from the tree. plenty of excitement for the one that got away, :LOL: nice day in the woods, and The Goof got himself a nice mess of rats for the freezer. Lefty totally exhausted by the end of the day. I thought I might have to carry him the last 100 yards back to the truck. Slick gimping badly on front paw, but was not having any problems until we were done and on the way home. he may have jammed it up jumping down off the tailgate to get into the truck. could not determine what is hurting him, but I'm having another look with a flashlight here shortly to see if he picked up a thorn or splinter. probably done for a day or two now.

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Slick 96
Lefty 44
 

Jamie

Senior Member
3,575
110
Licking Co.
Sometimes the best way to begin a story is to pose a question. as a preamble to this tale I'll ask "What didn't happen yesterday?"

The first thing that didn't happen was us getting mired in a half frozen slurry of cow shit and mud in the barn lot at the Gar Hole, which is good way to start any hunt. I guess that's about the only thing that didn't happen, lol. I did not have to do my impression of Mt Goat, either, thankfully. I suppose this begs another question. "What did happen?"

I've been on a great many squirrel hunts, some very remarkable, but yesterday's hunt will go down as historic, for me and the dogs, at least.

Despite his resistance to my help in solving his guns accuracy problem, we found the remedy in the form of CCI standard velocity ammo. I don't think I've ever seen a .22 rifle that would not cycle and shoot this ammunition pretty well, so it was worth I shot to at least try it. Problem solved, and proven repeatedly yesterday in the woods. When I'm hunting in a party, I prefer to not do any of the shooting because I do it all the time, and I can concentrate on handling the dogs and keeping our dead squirrels from being destroyed by a certain little brown dog. I'm always ready, as back up, to open fire on a wounded squirrel trying to escape, but otherwise, my rifle stays across my back. We got started early, and it took the dogs a few minutes and a few dens to get onto a tree that produced a target. Lefty got the first one, and Brock shot its eye out. This is the way we like to start a squirrel hunt. :) The next squirrel was found by Slick. It produced the most ideal shot anyone could ask for, and I must have jinxed Mason by telling him so as I summoned him to come and stand where I was for a true "gimme". He nicked this ones head, and it bailed out to the ground for an exciting ground chase for the dogs, who did tree it again, or so we thought. Brock was sure that he saw the squirrel run away from the tree that the dogs were on and not up it, so after a brief look up in the tree, the dogs started wandering around and got back on the trail, which led to a hole in a tree at ground level. Both dogs were quite sure the squirrel was in there, so we poked around with a stick a little to see if we could recover a body, but no such luck. I sent the dogs on again and they went right back to where that episode started. I was about to scold them for going back to an old tree when Brock spotted another squirrel. Seems like he missed and the squirrel started to timber out, but stopped on some skinny branches up high for a few seconds. none of us really had a shot, but I moved into a spot that I could shoot, and just as I was about to pull the trigger, the squirrel took a very daring leap to another tree, barely holding on upon landing, but did, and dashed into a leaf nest. This particular one had several vines going up to it, so I gave them a good shaking, and the rat came out and made a break for it. I don't recall how many shots were fired, but that one found a hole pretty fast. This is very exciting for the dogs, but shooters suffered a mild ego bruising. It's part of the game. Sometimes they just get away, sometimes we just miss.

We ended up 2 for 5 on the first drop. The action picked up nicely on our next stop, and the rest of the days shooting was first class. Best to get those bad shots out of the way early, I guess. ;) We hunted around in light snow on our second stop for a couple of hours of steady action, including a triple and a double. After covering the entire area, jumping two rabbits, finding a dead Red Tail hawk, playing lost and found with my gps receiver after the lanyard broke, unbeknownst to me, while I was fighting through bush honeysuckle to beat Lefty to a dead squirrel, we returned to the truck for a quick lunch and a break for our legs with 8 more squirrels. We did leave one hanging that rather "fell" into a leaf nest after being shot. This nest was already occupied, and the occupant burst out of his own abode only to take a bullet to the head, too. We could not shake the dead rat out of that nest even though there were some vines attached. I hate leaving them behind, but sometimes there is no getting them to the ground. So, we have 10 dead rats, three that got away on missed shots, and one left hanging, and the light snow continued to fall as we turn the dogs loose again where we started on this stop, hunting again what we already covered once a few hours ago. The dogs didn't do much the second time around, but did find two more for us, one of which the dogs ran down and killed as it was only grazed on the side of its head and made a run for it after bailing out of the tree. Twelve squirrels out of 16 is a pretty darn good take for the middle of January on a not great weather day. I think most sensible people would have been content with a two man limit under such a circumstance. Serious hunters, often being less than sensible, keep hunting. After some deliberation about what to do next, off we went to the Gar Hole, avoiding the barn lot, in favor of a parking place right next to the woods, lol.

The Dogs started off a little slow again, going to a couple of dens before dashing across a small field into an adjoining woods where Slick got on one immediately. I was bringing up the rear as we headed to the dogs, and just after I stepped across an old fence, I looked down to see a pair of antlers. I grabbed them up and made my way to the action. Brock shot out the squirrel when I got there, it seemed like a good photo op. Slick making sure this squirrel with his brains hanging out didn't try anything funny. :LOL:

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The next tree turned out to be a double, and those two both went to the bag with lethal head trauma. As we hunted our way back toward the truck the dogs went to a couple of dens before finding another squirrel. I had crossed a big deep ravine to get to the dogs on a den, and Brock and Mason did not, so were kind of far behind the dogs and me. The dogs had gotten out a little ways and Slick cut loose. I got there as fast as I could, and I spotted the squirrel quickly, so I moved around a bit to find a shot, and thought I had one. I hit the same small branch four times in a row, and had no other shot options. Brock was able to get a shot on this one when they arrived at the tree. Four in the bag with the truck in sight, snow picking up. We only needed two more to collect a three man limit of squirrels, so I sent the dogs off toward the only part of the woods we had not covered. Slick got us one fast, but it was up high in a large oak, and I was in the best position for a shot. Brock moved the squirrel for me a little and I made nice head shot. We collected this one and sent the dogs off again, and it only took Slick a few seconds to get on what turned out to be a den. As soon as I sent them on again Slick got on a tree and Lefty joined him. I was already in position and the squirrel offered itself up too nicely for me to wait as the snow was coming down pretty good and light was fading. I knocked the last one out with a slightly off neck/head shot. That made squirrel number 18. This is the first time I have ever been involved in a three man limit in one day with my dogs or anyone's. One thing is for certain, my dogs always seem to come up big in the "big games", and their performance was world class yesterday. It certainly helps to have brave friends who share the desire to stick it out this time of year. And that can shoot, too. :D Only one word comes to mind to describe yesterdays hunt; Epic.

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The dogs showed us 22 squirrels yesterday. We killed three greys, and two that got away on missed shots were grays, the rest fox squirrels. I completely lost count of which dog treed what, so I'm giving them equal credit when I update the counter. They both had career days, makes me very happy.

Thanks again, gentlemen, for another spectacular day in the squirrel woods.

Slick 107
Lefty 55
 
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brock ratcliff

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
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We enjoyed it immensely, Jamie. Thanks for making the trip again!

For the record, you quit picking on Lefty. That dog will always be me favorite. He came through when things got tough and showed Slick that perseverance wins every time. 😁. Honestly, both pups are amazing. You’re fortunate to have them as pets and hunting companions, they are fortunate to have an owner with the ability and willingness to take them until they are too worn to go.

On another note, any of you folks that have never met or hunted with Jamie need to take the opportunity. Jamie and I have known each other for years but had never hunted together until maybe four or five years ago. This squirrel chasing things is an absolute blast - good clean fun. The one or two days a year that we get together is a highlight of Mason and mine adventures each season. Jamie is about as good a dog handler as a person will likely come across and his dogs are class acts too, if there is such a thing. Point being, even if you’ve never met Jamie, take the opportunity to invite him and the pups for an outing. You will enjoy yourselves immensely.
 

giles

Village idiot and local whore
Supporting Member
31,681
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In a bar
We enjoyed it immensely, Jamie. Thanks for making the trip again!

For the record, you quit picking on Lefty. That dog will always be me favorite. He came through when things got tough and showed Slick that perseverance wins every time. 😁. Honestly, both pups are amazing. You’re fortunate to have them as pets and hunting companions, they are fortunate to have an owner with the ability and willingness to take them until they are too worn to go.

On another note, any of you folks that have never met or hunted with Jamie need to take the opportunity. Jamie and I have known each other for years but had never hunted together until maybe four or five years ago. This squirrel chasing things is an absolute blast - good clean fun. The one or two days a year that we get together is a highlight of Mason and mine adventures each season. Jamie is about as good a dog handler as a person will likely come across and his dogs are class acts too, if there is such a thing. Point being, even if you’ve never met Jamie, take the opportunity to invite him and the pups for an outing. You will enjoy yourselves immensely.
I couldn't agree more!
 
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Jamie

Senior Member
3,575
110
Licking Co.
We must have blown our wad on Sunday. It has been a pretty slow week of squirrel hunting. Headed up Mohican way on Wednesday and did not see a single squirrel in nearly three hours of hunting. went to a few dens, but that was it. Took the dogs out for a short hunt this morning, and in three stops, I saw two squirrels. Lefty treed one that timbered out to a hole as soon as I got there, Slick treed one, but neither dog would stay on the tree, and I was having problems finding a way to shoot, so I walked away from that one. I'm hopeful that some sunshine will bring them out of their holes tomorrow even though it's going to be much colder than it has been.

Slick 108
Lefty 56
 

Jamie

Senior Member
3,575
110
Licking Co.
we have had an amazing season. no complaints here. we have had some really big days this season. more than usual. there are always some off days, and honestly, I have as many squirrels as I care to eat now. easy to walk away from them when you have to jump up and down on the freezer door to get it closed. The dogs will surely put on a show for Isaac tomorrow if rats are out of their holes. they really like to perform for anyone new, make a liar out of me, lol. :D
 

Jamie

Senior Member
3,575
110
Licking Co.
We didn't hunt yesterday, but did make it out today despite Isaacs' fuel pump troubles. Anyone who will let their truck sit broken down while they go squirrel hunting is my kind of people. :)

Rats still not doing much again today. We cut it a little short since Isaac has a broken down truck to deal with, but we did cover some ground, and we did see three squirrels. Isaac knocked the first one out, the second one was a long walk to get to, and when we finally got there the dogs were still treed, but this squirrel ran down the tree, past the dogs and took off on the ground running right at us with the dogs right on its ass, but made it up a tree and straight into a hole just before it ran us over. I think that rat knew exactly where it was going when it made a run for it, lol. We took a pretty long walk to only see two squirrels in that woods. After a change of venue, Slick ran out some 400 yards and cut loose. it was another very long walk to catch up, but we he had one, and Isaac shot it out, too. That would be the last squirrel we would see. The dogs went to several dens, but squirrels just not out again today. Slick treed all three that we saw. Lefty didn't do anything at all today, including behave for a hero pic. That dog ain't right in the head, Very nice to meet you, Isaac. We'll do better next time, bud.

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Slick 111
Lefty 56
 

Isaacorps

Member
3,454
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Columbus
I had a blast, Jamie! It was great to finally see the dogs in action. Can’t control what the squirrels do but Slick tried like hell to get us some. Lefty, well, hope he enjoyed his walk 😂. I really appreciate the invitation and look forward to doing it again! Hopefully next time we won’t have vet appointments and POS broken down vehicles to contend with 🙄
 

Jamie

Senior Member
3,575
110
Licking Co.
The Goof and I went out for a few hours today and saw more squirrels than I've seen in over a week. Saw 8, killed 5. The dogs treed on pretty fast in a giant Cottonwood. took us a few minutes to find it, but it was there and it got shot in the head. After gathering that one up, we sent the dogs on their way. I was watching Lefty, who was standing on a gravel two track 60 yards away from me just looking up into a tree and sniffing for about 20 seconds. He winded then spotted it when it started running around in the tree top, timbered out to another tree, bailed to the ground twice, barely outrunning the dogs through a bunch of slash,and ended up running up the same giant Cottonwood we had just shot a squirrel out of a few moments ago. We looked and looked, and finally spotted the squirrel that had laid up in a very large crotch instead of running into a the giant hole 20 feet away. The Goof shot that one out. I have to say that it was a pretty impressive job by Lefty. I saw him sniffing and looking up in a tree for several seconds before he started barking and running, which was after the squirrel started running through the tree tops. two in the bag pretty quick. I missed one that timbered out to a hole. We headed back toward the truck, and my phone rang while we were walking. Whenever my financial planner calls me out of the blue, I always answer, ;) While I was talking to him, I was not paying any attention to the dogs, and apparently The Goof was not either as they disappeared. I got of the phone and saw that Slick was nearly 500 yards away in an narrow creekbed across a very large foxtail field. Of course, he was on a tree, so off we went, and he did have one. The Goof didn't have a good shot and couldn't find one, so he tried and missed, Squirrel timbered out to another tree, and I ended up shooting it out. it was a long walk back to the truck, and we went to another spot after I peeled those three. Dogs went to a few dens and finally found one and Charlie shot it out. After we crossed a large cut bean field to get to another woods, Slick got one pretty quick, and I ended up shooting that one, which was a grey. We walked away from one that the dogs did not get on. This was an exact repeat of a previous hunt. Dogs barking on a tree, I get there to find nothing in the tree they were on. I look up into a medium sized Pin Oak with a leaf nest in it with a grey squirrel on the tree just under the leaf nest 30 or 40 yards from where the dogs are. The dogs never did pay this squirrel any mind even though they sniffed round the tree a bit after I called them off of their empty tree. I went to the same tree with the dogs on January 7 (post #72). they were on the exact same empty tree as today, and I walked away from a grey squirrel in the exact same Pin Oak as today. The squirrel I walked away from on January 7 was a grey squirrel, too, very likely the same squirrel as they are pretty rare at this place. crazy shit. We also killed a rather "blonde" Fox squirrel. I've only ever killed one other with this type of coloration. good day. Slick did most of the work today, as usual.

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Slick 116
Lefty 58
 
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Jamie

Senior Member
3,575
110
Licking Co.
After discussing our Wednesday hunt while hunting yesterday, I heavily edited my previous post(#98). My recollection left out many of the details of that hunt, jumbled up most of the rest. :confused: fixed it. worth reading again, I think.

The Goof and I headed south yesterday for one last hunt. We started off fast with the dogs getting one without us firing a shot. I could not see them, so I'm not sure who caught it, but I'm pretty sure who it was, lol. After that Lefty got on one pretty fast and I shot it in the head. Slick found one and Goof shot it out, then Lefty got on one. Slick ran off that tree and found one of his own 150 yards away. Lefty stayed briefly while we looked, but ran over to Slick right before we spotted his squirrel. Walked away from that one, and on over to Slick, who had one of his own, and Goof shot it out. Slick found another a few minutes later, which I missed and it ran down tree, faked out the dogs, ran to another tree and directly into a hole. That would be last squirrel we saw until after 2:00. After eating lunch and skinning those four, Brock met up with us to hunt the rest of the afternoon, which was very slow. We struck out on our first drop, which is one of the better areas on that particular wildlife area. Lefty found one for us on the second stop, and The Goof shot it out. we loaded up for one last stop which only produced one squirrel. The dogs took off rather in the opposite direction that I intended, and they went a long way before finding a squirrel. They were 400 yards or so out and we could barely hear them, so off we went, fighting bush honeysuckle half of the way. I arrived first to see the dogs had a squirrel up a smallish tree. Goof and Brock no where in sight, so I loaded my gun and eased over a few feet to the only tree I could use for a rest. just as I leveled the crosshairs on the target, squirrel timbered out. Brock had come up behind me, The Goof went right to the tree by accident, which apparently further spooked an already panicked rat. this thing timbered through several trees, losing altitude the whole way and eventually bailed to the ground, apparently attempting to take out Brock in the process, lol. A wicked fast ground chase began. I think Slick had a hold of if for a second, but rat got away and up a tree. Brock saw it, and was lining up the shot when the squirrel slid around the trunk and out of his sight, dogs going crazy at the base of the tree. A second later, the squirrel started to timber out again, I think, but only moved a few feet before it appeared to have fallen. I'm not sure if it took a misstep or a branch broke, but the squirrel did not jump, it fell. It fell 40 feet or so directly onto two dogs who made quick work of killing it. I have to say that it was one of the more amazing chases I've seen this year. The dogs killed two on their own, we killed four, I missed one and we walked away from one. Not a bad day for this time of year, as we saw 8 total, and had a serious lull in the action in the middle part of the day.

Lefty treed three, Slick treed three, and they both get credit for killing the two that they caught as there were both together on both catches. Glad Brock made over up to meet us for one last hunt. we got busy telling deer stories and I forgot to take pics. use your imagination, :D

Slick 120
Lefty 62
 

Jamie

Senior Member
3,575
110
Licking Co.
Today might be the most mundane ending to a squirrel season that I've ever had. Nancy has not been able to get out with us, and wanted to go one last time, so it had to be today as I'm not going to bother tomorrow in snowstorm. I've never seen more vehicles parked around this particular wildlife area at any time that I can remember. I don't know what everyone was doing, but they were ALL out today, mostly rabbit hunters I'm guessing. I avoided a couple of places that I wanted to go today because of it, which never ever happens this time of year, even on weekend end days. Our first stop was the one I really wanted to hit, so that was good. The dogs had a hard time getting going, and got really excited on only a couple of trees all day. I think the rats were just not out very good again today. Lefty found one, and Nancy made a perfect head shot. That would be the only squirrel we saw today, and we covered some ground. And that ground was hooved up frozen and very difficult to walk on. like walking in crunchy sand or something, and it was hard on the dogs feet. Slick did eventually find his wheels, but still only found dens. was a nice day to be out for one last walk with guns and dogs, but a bit of a let down to end what has been an otherwise stellar season.

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Slick 120
Lefty 63