My First Squirrel Hunting Trip
by Aaron Boutwell
(Phenix City, Alabama)
A special memory for me would be the very first time that I was taken on a squirrel hunting "expedition" in the "swamp" in Sneads Florida.
The year was somewhere around 1970 to the best of my remembrance...
While spending a couple of cherished weeks with my grandparents in a little town called "Sneads" in the panhandle of Florida, a most favorite uncle of mine was about to go "Tree rat" hunting in the wooded swamp that was only 1/4 mile away.
I was simply itching to go but just assumed that there was no way that I would be invited due to my being only 13 years of age.
Time crawled as I watched my uncle James get his shotgun from the car.
As the seconds crept by, I heard him say " Well, are you ready to go?"
I was at a loss for words for some time (maybe 5 seconds) when I answered with a resounding YES!..
An old 12 Gauge single barreled shotgun was handed to me with a handful of shells along with a brief summary of the do's and don'ts of proper hunting expectations and directions.
The hunt was on!
After placing me at a likely location in the swamp that was rife with numerous ancient oak trees, Ol' Unk. told me to stay quiet and keep my eyes open.
This I did...quiet as a whisper..leaning up against the base of that old oak tree tree....until a subtle movement caught my eye... A SQUIRREL..RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF ME!
The loud boom of the ancient shotgun barely registered as I pulled the trigger.
Funny thing how a 12 ga. will totally transform a squirrel at a distance of maybe 20 feet...
Old unk. came over and asked if I had hit anything...All I could do was hold up a scrap of what was left of the remains of some type of smallish gray colored creature.
It was later fully explained to me that shooting a squirrel at such a close range required firing just a tad to one side as to keep it in a somewhat useable condition.
Lesson learned. Thanks "Unk".