Long-time readers of this blog might have the opinion that I am prejudiced against squirrels. While I have written about previous confrontations with the pesky varmints cute little critters, I firmly believe there is a place for them in this world: right next to the mashed potatoes and gravy.
Occasionally, we outdoorsmen are accused of exaggeration. Some question the accuracy of our measurements or the veracity of our reports. Some would say it is impossible for a fish to be so big that the level of the lake drops three inches when he is taken out. Some would say that a buck with a rack that looks like a rocking chair on his head is beyond the realm of plausibility. They might, and I emphasize MIGHT, have a point, but I assure you that what I am about to tell you is the pure, unadulterated truth. I will not blame the reader for skepticism. Had I not witnessed it first hand, I would be slow to believe it myself, but in the words of the late, great Wendy Bagwell, this is a fact with my hand up.
There are those who think that squirrels are just cute, energetic little things that are happy all the time. They labor under the misconception that squirrels, while perhaps a bit shy around humans are basically harmless and the only thought that goes through their acorn-sized mind is where to find the next nut.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Squirrels are devious, destructive beasts who are capable of distinguishing between different types of firearms, planning coordinated attacks and are intent upon inflicting bodily harm on humans.
A few days ago, my two sons and I went deer hunting on my grandmother’s farm. It was a nice fall afternoon and the total absence of deer was counter-balanced by the serenity of the great outdoors. The boys were located in their hunting spots and I was comfortably situated in my hunting chair with my feet propped up on a fallen log. Life was good and I was completely relaxed.
The tranquility was suddenly shattered by an explosion of shrill chattering and barking. A squirrel had completed a recon mission on my situation and decided that I did not pose a threat to him. He doubtlessly knew this from the orange vest I was wearing and the deer rifle that I was holding (I told you they could tell the difference between guns). He jumped from behind a tree and engaged in a rush of angry monologue. I am not fluent in Squirrelese, but I had no doubt of the content of his words. He was cussing me out. This is not unusual, it has happened to me, and many other woodsmen, before.
While the first squirrel was continuing his diatribe against me, I began to hear objects striking the ground close behind me. I turned around in my seat and craned my neck to look up in the hickory tree behind me. Another squirrel had snuck up behind me while I was distracted by his partner and was bombing me with nuts. He would scamper along a limb until he found a nut that hadn’t yet fallen, pull the nut off the branch and launch it in my direction. He fired six or seven shots. He didn’t just chunk them randomly, I could see him actually taking aim, adjusting for the wind and elevation. The only thing that kept me from getting hit was the fact that he was too weak to throw them far enough away from the tree. Had he been as big as even a fox squirrel or raccoon, I would undoubtedly have knots on my head now.
So be careful, my friends, next time you are around these scampering, chattering, bombarding menaces. They may look cute and charming, but they are probably just on a recon mission to find the best way to attack you.