It is hard to think about squirrel hunting without a flood of memories coming back to me. In my last article I wrote about how Pappaw introduced me to hunting and how he taught me to hunt. This go around, I wanted to share some more of the comical stories that I have from my time in the woods.
My dad is not much of a hunter. We all joke around and call him Elmer Fudd because he's pretty good (or thinks he is anyway) with a .22 rifle and can pick off rabbits in his garden. In all reality, he is not a dedicated and passionate outdoorsmen. For reasons that I have yet to discern, he thought it would be a good idea to challenge Pap to a squirrel contest one year. The rules were simple. Kill as many squirrels as you legally can in one season. From the word go, everyone knew that Pap was kind of entertaining Dad.
Pappaw participated in squirrel contests before and ended up killing well over 100 in a season numerous times. He spent exponentially more time in the woods than dad and knew where to find plenty of squirrels. Heck, while he was driving a school bus full of kids over Big Run Hill he would look for squirrels with the other boys. Maybe in his own way, Pappaw was just trying to get Dad to participate in something that didn't involve work.
Anyhow, at the beginning of September, squirrel season and the great contest began. Don't ask me how many squirrels Pappaw got and how quickly because I couldn't tell you. One thing I can tell you with certainty is how many squirrels my Dad shot. That year, Dad killed exactly one squirrel. I don't mean to belittle him for his bag limit. I'm glad he went out and tried. What I am going to belittle him for are the details of the kill.
You see, this squirrel must've been particularly wise. It wouldn't simply present itself and be an easy target for Dad. He had to resort to more drastic measures. Elmer Fudd came inside our trailer and decided it was time to break out the heavy guns. He grabbed a jar of Jif peanut butter and set out. He rubbed the base of the tree with it and then set up a distance away. The wait was on. Some time later, the distance boom of a shotgun meant the demise of this fuzzy tailed critter.
Triumphantly, Dad brought his prize down to show off. I was just a youngster at the time and hadn't really developed a filter yet. So, when Dad came in the house to show everyone his squirrel, I blurted out "Dad, that's just a baby!". I don't remember his face, but I am sure I took some of the wind out of his sails because after he killed a baby squirrel he was done with the contest.
Everyone is not meant to be a great hunter, but that's ok. Having people like my Dad in your life are critical. He may not be an avid outdoorsmen, but he never prevented me from doing outdoor activities. It's actually the complete opposite. He encouraged me and my brother to go outside and play. We developed a lot of important skills in the woods behind our house. Unfortunately for him though, we get to make fun of him for killing baby squirrels too.