Sometime back, I ran a post on What I Love About Fall. In it I mentioned some of the hunting adventures I have had with my two sons, Clay and Glen. One of these we call the episode of the Squirrel Who Wouldn’t Die.
I should probably issue a disclaimer at this point. This is a true story. Every detail is factual. Animals die violently in this story. If you are one of the PETA types or a tree-hugger, you probably should not read this post. This would be a good time to go work on a placard for your next fur coat protest or something. 😉
Now, on with the story.
As I have frequently stated, I live in the country. One thing we like to do in the country is hunt squirrels. Now if you don’t live in the country, you might think that squirrels are simply little fuzzy creatures whose primary purpose in life is to eat acorns and entertain us with their cuteness and their highway aerobics. In fact, earlier this week the Washington Post ran an article about how cool squirrels were. I just shook my head in amazement when I read it.
You see, country squirrels, (perhaps unlike their city kin) are destructive little rascals. When you plant a garden in the spring, they dig up the seeds and eat them. If any corn stalks happen to develop, they climb the stalks and eat the ears of corn. If you happen to salvage any corn, they then break into the corn crib and steal it.
This time of year, they are wreaking havoc on all of the pecan trees. I have a huge oak tree in my yard with plenty of nice sweet acorns. Do you think they are interested? Not on your life! They would rather eat the pecans. I can’t really blame them for their good taste in nuts, it is just that pecans were intended for human consumption.
Last year, my neighbor asked me if I would be so kind as to help him eliminate some of these furry little pests. He didn’t have to ask twice. My sons and I being the outdoorsmen that we are, jumped on this opportunity like a chicken on a junebug. Squirrels are fun to hunt, and they taste good, too. Fry them up and serve them with biscuits and gravy and you have meal that is calculated to make a bulldog slap his mama. This is especially true if the squirrels are fattened up on corn and pecans.
We were down behind Mr. Leon’s (my neighbor) barn, when we spotted a squirrel in the top of a humongous hickory tree. I aimed carefully, fired my 12 gauge shotgun, and watched in satisfaction as the target plummeted about 50 feet and bounced off the ground. I then stared in disbelief as he never even stopped to catch his breath but took off running at top speed under a pile of sheet tin that Mr. Leon had stacked behind his barn.
This is where it gets interesting.
I didn’t want to leave an injured animal in the woods. PETA frowns on that, you understand. So I handed my (unloaded) shotgun to Glen and then asked Clay to look under the tin while I lifted it to see if he could see the squirrel.
I lifted the pile of tin and Clay got down on all fours and peered under it. “I can see his tail,” he said. Before I could warn him about the dangers of grabbing the tail of a live squirrel, he latches on with both hands and proceeds to drag the squirrel out of its hiding place.
At that point, business not only picked up, it spiked the chart. Not only was that squirrel not dead, it wasn’t even really hurt that bad (despite my expert marksmanship). What happened next could best be described as a weedeater with the attitude of an F5 tornado. As Clay stedfastly held onto its tail, that squirrel began to scramble for anything it could find in its effort to escape. My leg happened to be close by, so he tried to climb it first. I then engaged in a series of dance moves that had my Baptist brethren seen it, they would have begun to question my orthodoxy.
After disengaging myself from this buzzsaw, I proceeded to try to dispatch it. I pulled out my hunting knife with the intention of decapitating the squirrel. Have you ever seen a squirrel rear up on its hind legs, raise its front claws and snarl like a bad-tempered grizzly? I have, and friend, it isn’t a pleasant sight (I still have nightmares about it). I finally was able to knock him backward and prepared to finish the job. Now all this time, Clay had a death-grip on that squirrel’s tail. Glen hadn’t been much help as he was laughing so hard he could barely stand up.
As the knife blade neared the squirrel’s throat, that little warrior, with Clay still holding his tail, leaped off the ground, wrapped all four legs around the knife blade and began to gnaw on it with his pecan-shell sharpened teeth.
That was one brave little squirrel. If Custer had had a few like him in his regiment, the Battle of the Little Bighorn might have turned out differently.
We finally were able to finish him off. We took him home, cleaned, cooked and ate him. That was the best tasting squirrel I have ever eaten, but six months later, he still gives me indigestion.