I went out once again to the national forest adjoining the Izaak Walton League property on Files Creek. I noticed the leaves that were green the Saturday before were starting to turn.
On this outing, I decided to take my favorite .22 rimfire rifle. It has been at least three years since I have done any squirrel hunting with this rifle. Although this old .22 rimfire may be nearly 60 years old, it still shoots well using a certain brand or type of ammunition. I had to re-sight the rifle in last summer. The ammo it likes best appears to be Cascade Cartridge Inc. (CCI) 40-grain, high-velocity solid-point bullets. For hunting, I chose to use CCI high-velocity hollow-point bullets to assure a quick humane kill.
The weather in the early morning was clear with no rain in the forecast. The morning temperatures were in the high 20s, and the high for the day was to be about 50.
I sort of figured the bushy-tails would be stirring all day. How wrong I was. At about 10 am, it got windy with gusts. Wild animals just don't like wind. I only saw four squirrels in the morning and got two.
In the afternoon, I saw two and got one. Since last Saturday, I saw a total of six squirrels, got three with four shots with the .22 bolt-action rifle. I also got a glimpse of a bear. At first I thought it was a deer when I heard it starting to run, but then I saw a flash of black.
The tissue damage that tiny 36-grain hollow-point bullet does never ceases to amaze me. I noticed this when I was dressing these squirrels out. One of them was shot through the shoulders. The exit hole from the hollow-point nearly tore one forearm off the carcass.
I don't know if I will be able to go out today. My wife Ruth had planned something over six months ago because it is her birthday weekend, and I did commit myself. We have tickets to see the Murder Mystery play at Gandy Dancer. Ruth feels that on occasion she should come before squirrels and deer.
From looking at the weather forecast, things don't look encouraging. Rain is in the forecast. I will most likely stay home and watch some of the West Virginia football game and hope the Mountaineers don't get beat too bad.
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DNR NEWS: The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced that physically-challenged hunters, possessing a Class Q (resident) or Class QQ (non-resident) license, may hunt on designated roads throughout the Monongahela National Forest and portions of the George Washington/Jefferson National Forest in West Virginia. The designation of these Class Q/QQ roads in the national forest is a cooperative effort between the United States Forest Service and the DNR.
To be able to participate in this program, hunters must possess a Class Q/QQ permit issued by the DNR. Application for these permits may be obtained at any DNR office or hunting and fishing license agent. In addition to this special hunting permit, both resident and non-resident hunters must possess all the applicable hunting licenses and stamps.
Hunters with a Class Q/QQ permit must apply in person at the appropriate National Forest district office or DNR district office to obtain a letter of authorization. Authorized hunters will have access to specific gates. While behind the gate, hunters must observe all of the national forest and all state hunting regulations.
The U. S. Forest Service and the DNR are committed to providing quality hunting opportunities for physically-challenged hunters.
They also welcome comments and suggestions from participating hunters. For the past 20 years, this program has been well-received.
In this area, the national forest service has opened:
n Goodwin Run (Forest Road No. 933) in Tucker County
n Brushy Fork (Forest Road No. 973) in Tucker County
n Five Lick (Forest Road No. 153/153A) in Randolph County
I do not have a clue as to where the exact location of these roads are, but one could find out by going to the Monongahela National Forest Headquarters Office at 200 Sycamore Street in Elkins or by calling 304- 636-1800.