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Johnsfolly

Missouri Mixed Bag 10/24

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I was able to take off a couple of hours yestetday and decided to put my hunting license and fall turkey tags to work. Got my 12 ga and my camo on and headed to a National forest land access that I had found hen of the wooods mushrooms and had a chance at bumping some turkeys as well as bushytails. I had a modified choke and my small game loads. I had my turkey choke as well as a couple of turkey loads as well.

I headed across a wide cattle field heading to the woodlots. I immediately saw a fox squirrel off near a single tree in the field. Then a couple more. No shots on any of them but good to see active game. As I headed down to a wooded creek bottom I had a shot at a large fox squirrel. I prefer grays or young foxes so let this guy bound away. I headed up the over the ridge above the creek and heard some squirrels ahead and to my side. About 20 yards to my right I saw a pair of grays. The one gave me a shot opportunity but moved higher in the tree. The two chased each other around and headed back down the tree. The first one gave me a shot and I dropped it. The second soon stopped in the same spot and met the same fate as the first. Two shots and a couple of nice grays on the ground.

Natl Forest - Guthrie Fine pair (1) - 24Oct18.jpg

Just need a couple more for a fine small game meal. I got moving again. As I was coming around a stock pond I could see a coyote near a large lone persimmon tree. I made some squeaks with my mouth. The coyote would look up in my direction but wouldn't leave that tree. It didn't stay too long as I headed towards that area. 

So my goal was to get some aquirrels but to also find some bones for my daughter's halloween costume. I went into a stand of cedars that I often find old cow bones. I found a jaw bone and vertebrae. As I was sneaking through the cedars I heard some squirrels ahead of me. Two ran up ahead of me and no shots. I saw some more bones ahead. I picked up both lower jaw bones, a couple of molars and the skull plate of a spike buck. With the bones secured back to the hunt. I got into a couple more grays and shot my third of the night.

I have found that I can move through the noisy woods calling on my turkey call and not spook too much game. Often I will get squirrels to respond to that call. I came around the end of a ridge top and found an older slightly yellowing Hericium coralloides. I've eaten and ejoyed these guys before and was dissapointed to find an older one.

Natl Forest - Guthrie Hericium coralloides - 24Oct18.jpg

As I headed along the backside of that ridge I made some hen clucks and yelps and got a response ahead of me. I snuck closer and called some more. The bird responded. Hoping that I could get it headed my way I continued to call and got response. This went on for a while. In that time I was able to switch out my choke tubes, loaded my turkey loads, and got my headnet and gloves on. The bird seemed to head away from me slightly. I snuck over to the ridge where I thought that the bird was when it first responded. As I got to that ridge top I could hear scratching ahead of me. I decided to sneak in further and not call. I got to a tree to setup just above where I could still hear the scratching. I must have moved slightly since a blue head appeared ahead of me. She was agitated and moved away from me. I shot thinking it was about 50 yards but more likely 65 yards and a clean miss.

Since this was a single bird I called for a few more minutes and switched back to small game set up. I was heading back out of this section of woods and bunped another fox squirrel. No shot. Then a gray that came back down the tree towards me. The fourth was in the game bag. I was walking along an old grassy logging road and thought that it would be cool to bump a rabbit. Around the next bend I saw a cotton white tail bounding away. I put the gun up and the rabbit stood to look at what was behind it as I shot. I had another run off into some thick brush and got away.

Natl Forest - Guthrie Rabbit - 24Oct18.jpg

The game bag was certainly getting heavy. I decided to skirt the next cattle field in case I could get another rabbit. I was thinking at this point that I hadn't seen any deer. About 80 yards ahead of me was a feeding doe! I watched her for a while and tried to get a good photo. Too dark and far away for my camera.

Natl Forest - Guthrie deer - 24Oct18.jpg

Would have been an easy rifle shot. If I had my bow maybe I would have tried to reach a stand of small trees in front and to my left that would have put me about 50 yards to her. Maybe another night.

Definitely enjoyed the evening and headed home with a Missouri mixed small game bag and a bunch of memories😁.

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       Mixed bag is right. Good shopping trip to the outdoor pantry we have been provided.  So nice to hunt and  put food on the table, Double bonus. I have sliced goose in the cure for jerky and a dehydrator full of hen of the woods dehydrating.  Here is to hoping you find some good areas back east too. Excited to see if you can get the deer behind your new abode :) .

  BilletHead

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Sounds like a great day in the woods my friend.  Maybe next time you'll get the grand slam.  Squirrel, rabbit, turkey, deer!  LOL 

Saw about a dozen turkeys this morning on my way in... Stupid work... would much rather be in the woods.

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            Yep like Wrench said get them wet. I have my own way to do it. In no hurry I hang by one back leg. Cut around each ankle and then a skin cut from foot to foot through the vent. Use fish skinning pliers to grab skin and yank down. Snip off the tail for fly tying or selling to mepps.  Everything is done hanging and no hair to speak of. I don't wet mine. Just like case skinning a furbearer. Be sure and get the little lymph nodes in the back legs and front legs. I have now shot over 30 with the PCP. May have to do a step by step on how I do mine. A pair of kitchen shears is a great tool also.  

  BilletHead

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A step-by-step would be neat to see if you find the time.  If I do go it will be once things get colder and the leaves are off the trees.  There's a big WMA near me that was just purchased by AGFC and is now open for hunting.  On the north side of Beaver, Devils Eyebrow it is called.  I doubt it sees many squirrel hunters.

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I wet mine and use game shears. I keep the tails dry so cut them before I wet them down. With as many squirrels that I kill each year always seems to take a bit of time to skin them. 

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8 minutes ago, fishinwrench said:

Skinning squirrels is never fun regardless of your technique.  Not among my favorite meals either.  Tastes good, but chewier than I prefer.  Ya gotta be hungry to truly enjoy them IMO.

But that rabbit..... 😋👌👍

Do your squirrels the normal way - fried to a lovely golden brown - and then put them in a covered dutch oven for an hour or so at 250.  NOW they're fall off the bone tender.

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