Here is the story of my first successful hunt.
I went out on a whim because I looked out the window and saw several squirrels across the street. So I grabbed my utility belt, my recently constructed slingshot, and the round rocks I found the day before. I took my poncho out and put it on, despite the fact that it was sunny out. I wagered that the benifit of breaking my outline would be greater than the drawback the bright blue color posed. Of course, I would look weird to the suburbanites around me, but I also figured that most of them were at work.
I’ve been taking shots at squirrels for a few weeks now. I’m not a really good shot, so I don’t really expect to hit anything. I’d hit two so far, but both times to no effect other than startling them. one of those two squirrels was an albino, which I thought was very interesting and regarded as a good omen. That was last week.
The two squirrels across the way saw me as soon as I went outside. The first ran up a tree, but it was low enough that I took a few shots at it anyway. Then I lost sight of it. I followed the second one down a cut through path to a courtyard in the back of an apartment building. It started to climb a wall, and though I wasn’t going to shoot at it for fear of breaking windows, I still followed it. Suddenly another squirrel dropped out of a gutter and started to loudly scold me. While it distracted me, the other squirrel got to the roof, and when I turned to see it go over the edge, the new one ran back up the drainpipe. I think I found a mated pair.
So I went walking again, deciding to round the block and go home. I saw a few more squirrels, but I’m picky about my shots because I don’t want to break anyone’s things or otherwise get angry homeowners.
Then I came apon a squirrel digging right next to the sidewalk. There were bushes to one side, and a lot of open land to the other, and I was upwind. I cut over so the bushes were between it and me, and I did my best foxwalking. I got to within 15 feet before it noticed me, and took off to the nearest tree. Normally I wouldn’t shoot at a moving target, because I suck. but I decided to just go for it anyway, and let loose.
The stone connected, and the squirrel leaped in the air. The others had done this, and I expected him to recover and scamper up the tree. Instead, he kept leaping and flipping over and over again. When he stopped jumping, I ran over to him. I could best describe what was happening as a seizure. I tried to put him out with a hit to the head using the slingshot handle, but I couldn’t connect solid. At this point I realized that I had not been expecting to actually hit one, so I wasn’t properly equipped to deal with this. He was suffering, and I couldn’t help yet. I ran home at top speed and got my work gloves, then ran back.
He lied there and bleeding out his nose, Breathing heavy and irregularly. I tried to cut his throat with my knife, but couldn’t make an incision. I gave him a strong hit to the head with the hilt of my knife, but that made him jump again. At this point some pedestrians walked by and a women parked her car and went to her house, walking right past. I was quite embarrassed because here I was, with a very unclean kill, and they surely thought I was just torturing the poor squirrel. I kinda felt like I was. I had been under-prepared and it was suffering badly. I couldn’t kill it, not from lack of will, but lack of knowledge.
I picked him up, apologizing that I had been unable to do this properly, and that he was suffering. As I began to carry him home, I asked him what he wanted me to do. At this point, he spoke quietly to me in his squirrel language, a few weak chitters. I don’t really know what he said, but it reassured me. When I got home I filled a bucket with water, because the two squirrels I’d drowned in the trap had not suffered nearly as badly as this one. But by the time I put him in, he had already stopped breathing. I washed the blood and piss off him, and went to work skinning and gutting.
It wasn’t until I had finished and put about an hour between the end and myself that I finally felt accomplishment at having successfully hunted. I still feel mixed about it. The hid is drying next to me, I’ll scrape and tan it tomorrow. The meat is in the freezer, and I intend to take it as part of my contribution to a pot luck barbeque this weekend. Once I share the meal with others, the story will be complete.