ATCO Plantation - SQUIRREL HUNTING MEMORIES
River Swamp Trouble
My father took me squirrel hunting on the Satilla River in Atkinson County. We “spread out” in the river swamp and I chose to sit down under a large oak tree. I did not hear or see anything for what seemed like hours. Out of nowhere, a squirrel climbed to the top of a broken tree and started gnawing a pine cone. I took careful aim with the FIE 20 gauge, dropped him with one shot, and put him in my vest. The commotion startled another squirrel and it was running in the treetops. I chased after that squirrel, and it became obvious that he was getting away. I knew the full choke could reach out and get him so I took the shot and saw him falling. The woods were very thick, so I knew it would be hard finding the squirrel. Having tried this before, I knew that it might take me more than one approach to find the squirrel from the original shooting position. I propped my trusty shotgun against a cypress tree and went out after the squirrel. The squirrel was located on the first approach, and then it dawned on me that I had to go back and find my shotgun. The Satilla River swamp has a lot of trees, and many of them are cypress. One tree was being marked by my shotgun, and I was not going home without it. I walked around until just before pitch black dark, and could not find my shotgun. I broke down and let the crocodile tears flow. My dad called for me and wanted to know if I was coming, so I told him “in a minute.” He told me to come before it got too dark, so I started walking toward his voice. I walked right past the tree holding my shotgun, grabbed it up, and went to the truck. I have never put down a gun again, and I have never told anyone about this until now.
My dad and I were riding around the edge of a field and he saw a squirrel hiding on the top of a limb. He pulled a Marlin .22 rifle out of the gun rack and told me to try to shoot the squirrel. I lined up the cross hairs, squeezed the trigger, and missed? Dad chuckled and told me to try again. I slowed down my breathing, lined up the cross hairs, exhaled slowly, held my breath, and squeezed the trigger. Another miss? I shot one more time and told my father that his gun was broken. He laughed and told me to watch him and learn. After three shots he looked at the scope, wiggled it in the mounts, and told me that it was slipping. He parked the truck, removed the scope, put the scope back onto the rifle, and then sighted in the scope. The slipping scope has long been retired from the rifle, but it sits on a shelf in my house.