Oh my - this one is so tough, because there are so many. There really are. I will tell you all about the first time my dad took me to go squirrel hunting. (* Yes, I hunted them... and I would STILL if there were any good ones around here*)
ALAS! The American Gray Squirrel! Elusive - evil - and Extraordinarily Cute! Did I mention that they are also very delicious!?! (And they are - cooked up in a nice gumbo... MMMMMM - yummy) So, when I was growing up - my dad decided that I needed to learn how to hunt. If I remember correctly, he may have taken each of us out for a hunting trip.
Now, prior to the hunting trips, he prepared us all - told us stories about squirrels, how they could SENSE when something was out of place in their home territory. How they were smart little buggers, and if they spotted you then you might not see ONE the whole trip out. He told us how they sat up in their little tree houses looking down on us, LAUGHING because they knew that they would never be caught. I often envisioned them as the types of tree rats that, if given technology, would sit up there taking pictures of the hunters below. It would never surprise me if they did.So, I got myself up at 5:00 in the morning, on a bitterly cold but brisk autumn day in Mississippi. My dad helped me tuck my hair up under my hat and gave me a special hand warmer because he knew that I would freeze my hiney off. We grabbed up our guns, me in my over sized jacket and vest, and headed out into the woods. There was MUCH walking that morning, and I found that I loved the way that the leaves sound as your boots tromped through them. ((Though my dad told me that I made WAY too much noise, and I probably woke up every squirrel in 10 acres)) BUT, I was certain that I had not, and that I would catch one of the fuzzy tailed tree rats by sun-up.
We found a spot - and settled on down. My dad helped me to cover up with leaves because - as I said before - Squirells can tell when their space has been disturbed. They just KNOW when something has been moved or is out of place. The sun had not even come up yet, and I could hear the plippity plop of water droplets falling from high above and hitting the leave covered ground that I sat on. And, I got cold.
As I sat there my mind raced. When would I see one? If I saw one, could I really shoot it? After all - they are SO cute. Maybe I could keep one as a pet. Take it home, and dress it up in cute clothes?? Sounds like a good plan to me... The sun started to come up and the forest around me started to come alive. Birds began to chirp. There is something so wonderful about the way that the breeze flows through the tree tops. Beyond the tree where I was, I heard my dad give a faint whistle, and tilt his gun over to a yonder Birch tree. I saw it... A squirrel! But, I couldn't get a good angle on it. So, I didn't take the shot. We waited and waited and waited some more. And then, Nothing. it's as if the first squirell knew taht we were there and had told all of his squirly friends about us! Maybe they were going to gang up on us and blow us right out of the forest! You never know with these rodents - after all, I have heard that they are VERY, VERY Smart little critters.
After a few hours, we got up to change positions. We took a little walk and my dad scouted the area. Then, suddenly, he spotted the squirrel. It was on the trunk of a tree. It had flattened itself to the tree as to not be noticed. My dad walked around the tree and told me to take aim for the little rodent. My heart raced and pounded in my chest. My dad walked to the tree and grabbed hold of a hanging vine and began to shake it. The squirrel edged his way around to the other side of the tree, just in my view. I took Aim... I shot!...
And I got that darn squirrel - oooh, he thought he was a "supah Squirrel!" and I got him! He fell from the tree and my dad couldn't believe it! (Neither could I to tell you the truth). He wasn't sure with the way that I was looking or holding my gun that I would have hit anything at all.
And that was it. I bagged em - I got to learn how to skin em' too. (It's like undressing a wiggly 2 year old if you ask me). Anyway, I wasn't hooked on hunting quite the same as some of the other siblings, but I can say that I did it... one day, I will have to take my kids out and teach them... and that's going to be a lot of fun, I think.