Friday, December 5, 2008

If in doubt...

The evidence: osage orange cuttings.

If you wait until conditions are perfect, you'll rarely hunt. I know that.

Tueday before Thanksgiving, I'd put in a good day at the word processor and had a couple hours to hunt. Wind was howling in out of the west. Treetops were whipping. A bad time to squirrel hunt, but it was the time I had.
We hunted for an hour or so without a strike. Then Cate treed a bowhunter. Fortunately, he turned out to be friendly, but I felt bad about disturbing him. Yes, we were hunting public land and I had as much right to be there as he did, but he'd picked an excellent spot overlooking a stretch of dry creek lined with oaks. Acorns covered the creekbed. I had seen several deer in the area on previous hunts. And he'd obviously lugged his portable tree stand a long way.

Then the wind really picked up so that I doubted I could hear Cate if she treed more than fifty yards away. Feeling low, I decided to call it a day.
I started to unload my shotgun as we started to head up the trail to the truck. Then Cate raised her nose and bolted into a thick stand of cedars. Since she usually yelps when she strikes hot scent, I assumed she was either cold trailing or smelling distant air scent. Moments later she treed.

I found her on an unuually large bois d'arc (osage orange or, in local parlance,"bodark"). The whipping branches revealed a fox squirrel hidden near the top.

I let her carry that one back to the truck.

Just go.


mdmnm said...

Cate with the last minute save!

Nice photos. Have you tried Whitlock's Fox Squirrel nymph? Nice buggy pattern, esp. for warm water.

Matt Mullenix said...

Mike I didn't know you could fly fish for squirrels... Must take some fancy casting!

mdmnm said...


Not really, I put flies up into the trees all the time!


Henry Chappell said...

Mike, I haven't tried the fox squirrel nymph, though I sometimes save squirrel tails for some of my serious fly tying friends. Most of my own tying is geared toward warmwater species, so I tie lots of simple stuff like wooly worms, wooly buggers, and various extremely simple poppers. I haven't learned to spin deer hair.

And yes, lots of my flies end up in trees.