CAS TOPICS > The Longbranch

"Barking Squirrels"

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The idea is to hit the tree right next to the squirrel and the impact, etc. actually killed the squirrel- no damaged meat.  I have never done it, always used a 22 rimfire and either shot them in the ribs (no meat) or head.  Some folks used to eat squirrel brains but now it is more of a hillbilly thing.  The big deal on the barking was that you had to be a really good shot- also like creasing a horse.

Interesting that I have heard of shooting them like that, but not the term.  We always used the term barking when we were calling them in, either with a call or just barking ourselves.   my dad could do a distress call that would bring squirrels in quick and we had 3 or 4 with in 10 minutes of walking into the woods.

I will have to expand on my hearing of this type of hunting.   Being from a rural community, I had heard of it (just not called barking).   When I got to high school, I went right to Biology.   Our Bio and Zoo teacher had scars on his right forearm that were numerous and long.  I am a science geek, so it did not take long before I was doing extra work, got to know him and spent a lot of time in that room.  I finally got the nerve to ask him what the heck happened to his arm.
Story starts with him hunting squirrels with a friend when they were 16.  He shot right in front of the squirrel, it fell to the ground dead, or so he thought.   He walked over, picked it up and proceeded to place it in the pocket at the back of his hunting vest.   As he neared the pocket, the not dead squirrel used its back feet to shred his arm in an effort to get away.   He began to bleed profusely and called out to his friend.   he had passed out when his friend found him, applied a tournequet and drove him to the hospital.   It took over 200 stitches (which beats my single record of 108 by a long shot) and he was given 3 pints of blood.    He laughed and said he was almost the first person in Illinois to be killed by a squirrel. 
I asked him if he still hunted them, and he said yes, but he shoots them in the head now.

I hunted most of my life  with  a custom  .32 flintlock. I only had one shot so I just shot them in the head
 .I knew all about barking, just didn't  seem efficient to me.

Back in the '70's I was able to bark 2 fox squirrels  in a day from a hickory tree with my .54 cal.  40" flint long rifle in Michigan.  Had better eye sight then! They hit the ice dead in perfect shape.



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