Hunt Smart Fish Hard: No school, so it’s squirrel hunting | Opinion

When I was in school years ago one day they were calling for snow the next day. While we were at school, we decided that if there was no school, we would go squirrel hunting. If they didn’t close school, we would be skipping school.

We didn’t get our wish because it didn’t snow enough to close the school. The deal was to meet on the tracks of the American Can Company. For me it was only two blocks down the street and then we climbed the railroad embankment to get on the railroad tracks.

On the way, I met Gene and we walked together to Donnie’s house. Donnie’s house was just down the street. All we did was wait for Marty to show up and we put our squirrel hunting plan into motion. Marty lived on the next street, near the tracks. It was faster for him to walk the tracks than walk the sidewalks to get to Donnie’s house.

We’re standing outside Donnie’s and the three of us had our guns leaning against the fence waiting for Marty. We’re just telling stories, not paying attention, and all we hear is KA-BOOM! It’s Marty on the rails. He shot in the air and laughed like crazy. We all jumped when he fired. When we got up on the tracks, Marty was still laughing. He said he would have liked us to see each other jump.

We start going down the tracks on the road next to the tracks towards the place we have to cross. Donnie says watch out for rabbits as we go down the slopes. We saw lots of rabbit tracks in the snow but never saw a rabbit. We are approaching where I thought we were going to hunt. Donnie said to unload our guns because we’re going to cross the highway once we get through that little field. Donnie said we were going to hunt behind the bowling alley. Donnie said he’s loaded with squirrels.

We crossed the freeway and when we pulled into the parking lot people were getting out of their cars looking at us. We stand behind the bowling alley and load our guns. I knew Donnie and Marty were both 12 gauge. Gene had a 20 gauge and I had a .410.

Before the next word is spoken, Donnie runs off. He shouts “Come on!” Donnie stops and tells everyone to go around the tree. The squirrel ran up the tree. There wasn’t much snow on the ground but just enough to see rabbit and squirrel tracks. We’ve all walked around the tree and at the very top Donnie sees the squirrel in the v-shape of the branches of the tree and we watch him shoot. The squirrel falls and Donnie puts it in his hunting vest. I remember Donnie telling us, ‘That’s how it is boys.’

It was the game plan. We stretched out a bit and started walking. We would look for squirrels trying to find nuts. Once we saw one, we said “squirrel” and whoever spotted it chased it until it was treed. Then we would all walk around the tree and whoever spotted the squirrel would have shot it first. We started filling our vests with lots of squirrels. I had two but ended up having five in my pocket when we left. The limit was five squirrels per hunter to hunt. We had about 30 minutes to hunt before we had to leave, so we got back on time and had no problems.

Just when we decide to leave, this squirrel runs through the tree branch at the top of the tree. Donnie shoots, Gene shoots, I shoot and Marty shoots. Nobody hit the squirrel as he got him out of there by jumping from tree to tree. That was nine knocks on the squirrel and I think to this day that squirrel is still running.

We all got into trouble later that day except for Donnie. Donnie made a good point before we left for home – How are you going to explain the squirrels when you get home? Everyone gave the squirrels to Donnie.

When I get home, here’s the question — Where can you hide wet clothes and wet boots? The answer – you can’t. I knew I couldn’t go hunting on Saturday mornings for skipping school. We can laugh about it now. Skipping school to go hunting was fun, but it had repercussions. Ah, to be so young again.

See you next week-HSFH-LM

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