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Local Sports

December 6, 2013

Gray squirrels bring back some fond memories

I was on my hill sitting in a tree stand about a month ago when a large, gray squirrel ran across a branch not far from me.

I was actually surprised. There hasn’t been a gray squirrel in my woods for many years, at least none that I’ve seen. I watched him go from branch to branch and then down the trunk of a large, red oak tree.

Gosh, that brought back a lot of memories. I grew up in those woods and spent many hours sitting at the base of a tree just waiting for the squirrels to come out and gather nuts. By never moving anything but my eyeballs, I’d impatiently wait. Finally, I’d see one and easily dispatch it with my .22. I’d take two or three of them and my grandmother would cook them up for dinner. They were great.

Those hunting trips taught me a lot. I needed a keen eye, a little patience and good marksmanship.

It’s funny when I would hunt squirrels. Sometimes I’d spot one while walking through the woods. The little rodent would hold on tight to a large branch high up in the tree top and move around that branch as I walked around the tree. That little critter would always keep himself on the opposite side of the tree from me.

If there were two of us, though, they were easy to fool. One stood still while the other circled the tree. Even as a teenager, I noticed that squirrels can’t count.

Gray squirrels seem to be everywhere. They live in parks and forests, and I even stopped for one while driving up Maple Street the other day. I had to stop because he was in the crosswalk, so I guess he had the right of way.

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