Chickahominy is an hour and a half from where I live. I got up at 4:30 and headed out so that I would make it there a little before shooting light. I have heard that most of the hunters that hunt at Chick are lazy, so I was also hoping I would be early enough to get to my spot before anyone else did. It turned out that I had nothing to worry about. As far as I could tell I was the first person on the property. The tidbit about lazy hunters turned out to be 100% correct.
I spotted the first squirrel of the day about 15 min after sunrise. After a long stalk I spooked it into posted land. I did manage to call it back to me briefly, but I lost it in the thick. This was my first stalk of the year and, being out of practice, I made a lot of mistakes. I hung around the area for about 20 min hoping the squirrel would show itself again, but when it did not I decided to move on.
On the way to my next spot I heard a squirrel in a tree about 20 yards from the trail I was on. A quick stalk and a clean shot gave me my first kill of the season. I made a heart/lung shot. I've only put a couple hundred rounds through the .22 magnum I was using and was not confident enough to make a head shot. This was a mistake. The .22 magnum is too much gun for squirrels in my opinion. The exit wound was the size of a half dollar with the squirrels lungs literally hanging out. Next time I'm bringing my Benjamin Trail Air Rifle instead.
|A big hole in a little squirrel|
Missing while using my bipod told me that my gun had lost zero. It seemed to be shooting a little to the right. Unfortunately, target shooting is not allowed on WMA's, so I had no way of telling for sure.
I saw several more squirrels and took one more shot, a 60 yard head shot that I missed. I'm blaming the gun. I should have killed two others, but did not due to my inexperience. After 9:30 I did not see or hear anything else. I headed home at 11:00, tired and happy. I wish I could have stayed all day. I'm sure I would have come close to my limit of six had I been able to hunt the evening.
For opening day, on public land, and on a holiday weekend, it was not too crowded. I only saw two other parties. One of which was the greatest example of a bad, lazy hunter I have ever witnessed. I might write an entire blog post on that hunter!
I am falling in love with this property. It is the best small game habitat I have ever encountered. However, I haven't seen much in the way of deer or turkey sign, so once those seasons roll around I will hunt elsewhere.