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Squirrel Hunting

September 24th, 2011 · 3 Comments · General

A resident of Texas for over 20 years, I finally felt the requirement for a gun. And it wasn’t the need for personal safety that drove my desire to take up arms, it was squirrels. Those pesky rodents seem to get into everything around my lake house.

I have to admit, the first day after purchasing my firearm I was excited like a little kid on Christmas morning. It was my first chance to test my recently acquired sharp shooter skills honed on the range.

Early Monday morning, while getting ready for a meeting, I remembered a comment my neighbor Tyrone made on the range the day before, “I’m sure you’ll have a chance to kill a squirrel tomorrow. They’re always active in the morning…” So every time I walked by a window or a door, I paused and scouted the yard for a devious rodent.

On the third glance out the windows I acquired a target – an un-repentant, pesky, troublemaking squirrel.

“Finally.” I mumbled as I cracked a slight grin.

Weighing only a few pounds but certainly a mischief-maker, this male squirrel standing at attention on the railing of my balcony was clearly challenging me with his cold stare. Maybe he realized he was about to meet his maker… Or maybe he was startled by my striped blue and white boxer shorts. But clearly, he was in a state of shock.

My heart started to beat a little faster as I realized my opportunity to eradicate this rodent. And I quickly reviewed in my head the steps to get off a clean shot, “Comfortably rest my head on the stock; acquire my target in the scope; take a deep breathe; start to let it out…hold; then gently squeeze the trigger.” My day on the range had clearly prepared me for the responsibility I had to cleanse my yard of troublemakers.

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. My inner voice mumbled, “Where’s my Henry lever action .22 caliber long range rifle with the blued-steel barrel and lever, with the straight-grip American walnut stock?” (Yes. That’s how the inner voice of a marketing professional talks.)

My killing machine was downstairs in the hall closet! “How long would this formidable foe wait outside my window while I armed myself?” I wasn’t sure, but I was convinced I didn’t have any time to waste.

So without making any sudden movements that would signal to my adversary my cruel intentions, I quickly headed down the stairs to grab my weapon. On the way I pondered if boxer shorts were proper hunting attire. But it didn’t matter, I couldn’t waste any time with pants. I had justice to serve. I continued on the path to my firearm.

I opened the hall closet and found “Henry” waiting to be enlisted into action. With the confidence of a Navy Seal, I grabbed my widow-maker and headed back to the battlefront on my balcony.

As I approached the top of the stairs, it was clear that luck was on my side – the furry antagonist was still on the balcony.

As I slowly advanced towards the sliding doors, I smoothly removed the cover from my scope. Not that I needed it, the vermin was only 10 feet away as I started to slide the door open.

“Damn it!” My target noticed the boxer-clad executioner at the door and bolted for the safety of the nearest sycamore tree. But the villain rodent decided to taunt the grim reaper and stopped at the first major branch in the tree – he was now only fifteen feet away.

If anything, I had a better shot than before. The gray vermin was perfectly situated in the “V” made between the trunk and a major branch. I imagined how my convicted tree-dweller would look being blown out of the sycamore tree by my Super Colibri .22 ammo.

My heart raced a little more as I raised the rifle and engaged the American made, blued-steel lever of my assault rifle for the kill. I was breathing heavier by the moment, but I was focused on permanently removing Mr. Gray from my yard.

As I got the stock of the rifle to my cheek, my opponent repositioned himself on the branch…preparing to bolt up the tree to safety. I realized that I didn’t have much time to acquire the lakeside vermin in my sites and deal out justice.

With my finger on the trigger and my heart pounding, I positioned the criminal beast between the crosshairs of the scope.

Like a well-trained killer, I hit the checklist once again, “Breathe deep; start to let out the breath; hold it slightly; squeeze the trigger.” And then I remembered my tendency to jerk to the left on the practice range. My inner voice repeated the critical instructions, “Don’t jerk the trigger. Squeeze it.”

I took one last deep breath. Slightly exhaled and prepared to become judge, jury and executioner for this un-remorseful rodent. It was time to send him to his maker…

“Squeeze…”

Click!

Nothing.

“Damn it!” I shouted.

No bullet.

My rival realized by my sudden outburst that his life was spared. He freely escaped up the sycamore tree to live for another day. And I was left standing in my boxer shorts with another item to add to my checklist.

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