Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Three Days, A Busted Rifle, and One Heck of a Good Time

I am really blessed to have a wife that, even when she doesn't quite get it, tolerates it. It, of course, is my yen for hunting. She thinks I am too old to be traipsing around in the weeds in search of the bushy-tailed tree rats in the obsessive sort of way I do. All I can do is shrug my shoulders and say, "Bye" and "I love you" and I am gone. Such is the call of the first month of squirrel season.

I managed to wrangle free of my life for three days to venture into the wilds of southern Ohio for a three day hunt and some golf with my Dad. I could hardly sleep just thinking about it. I spent weeks planning my paths, by hunting day, to the spots in the Tranquility Wildlife Area that I knew would be teaming with the little tree creatures. I provided my wife with pictures and maps, packed my gear, and ran for it. Time to hunt.

I left home at 0430 (That's 4:30 AM for those of you that don't abla) and was in the parking spot by 0615. I had my newly tuned and re-camoed 10/22 ultralight custom rifle ready for action and capable, if you believe the range results, of producing minute-o-squirrel accuracy out to about 50 yards. I strapped on my new Kelty day pack harness thing and headed down the trail to the creek bed that leads to my favorite spot , ever, for this sort of thing.

I deserved to find the log laying in the underbrush by upending myself over it and landing on my knee. Worse was catching a bunch of my weight on the rifle as I landed. I was already cooking the gravey when I went down hard. It hurt. Worse, the rifle made rattling noised when I got up. Well Fu^& ! 10 freaking minutes! Broken rifle. No backup. (I mean it's squirrel hunting for God's sake. Who brings a backup rifle?) I decided this would not deter me. I was going anyway. I mean how bad can it be? The ranges are usually in the 40 to 50 feet area. I should be able to make it work. Right? Oh dear. I was wrong. Ten missed shots later, I see the flaw in my thoughts. Well fu&* (again)... I will find a range and re-site this thing. And I do. Then I find out if the local Wal-mart sells any rimfire scopes worth a damn because the one I own is just broken. Not my best first day out but it sure as hell was not sitting at my desk. Can't beat that part, ever.

Day two and three are more of the same really. The rifle is not right. Something else is whacked in its silly carbon fiber mechanism and I am not driving home just to fix it. I use the chance to scout for new locations and start thinking about whether or not I want to clean a deer this year. I decide to look for rubs anyway. It's early but I can hope... October is coming.

One big perk to being out of pocket for a few days is the feeling of coming home to your own bed and your own house and a warm, loving person or two that is glad to see you. Of course it is the shorter of these persons who runs to me screaming "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!!" and provides my sunshine through the gloom I always feel, post hunt. She rubs my head and says, "You stink Daddy. Did you find deer poop this time?" I smile and say if course. And then I am playing doll-house in my camos....

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