|One fine fall evening about suppertime, sheriff Hagan drove into our back yard. The sheriff always tried to time his visits to our house near meal times. The sheriff and dad were friends from their boyhood days so the sheriff was invited in to stay for supper. Dad, gramps and sheriff Hagan sat at the table making small talk, smoking and sipping from gramp's fruit jar of homemade whiskey. My sister Angel sat out the dishes and silverware, then the food was brought out and sat in the center of the table. We were having freshly killed squirrels, baked in covered baking dishes with bacon strips over each piece and mashed 'taters, gravy, peas, fresh baked rolls and apple pie. Some folks frown on eating squirrels because they are related to rats. But, it's all what's in the diet. Rats eat garbage. Squirrels eat nuts and corn . The sheriff was on his third quarter of squirrel, second helping of 'taters and second roll when he came out with the purpose of his visit. 'I loves fresh killed lim'rat (squirrel). 'You git these Ike'? 'No sir'. says Ike, my older brother. Everyone was looking at me. Then little brother Daryl pipes up, 'Hop did it. I seen him comin over the back pasture with a whole big bunch of 'em an his gun'. Sheriff looked at me. 'That right Hop'? I owned up to it. Sheriff just grinned and said ol' Herman, our unfriendly cousin who owns the farm behind ours with the over 200 acres of great timber but won't let us hunt there, saw me headin for home with my rifle and a big ol' bulging burlap bag. Said he told us to stay off his place some time ago. The adults knew I was hunting there. I had become hooked on lim'rat hunting after going out with Gramps and Ike a few times. Gramps hauled out an old single shot .22 bolt action rifle. A farm auction buy, no doubt. It had a very long barrel so gramps sawed off a hunk, shortened the stock so it fit me, and replaced the front sight. Gramps said lim'rat hunting was good practice for deer hunting. Teaches patience, he said. I practiced until I could hit empty soup cans regularly and set out for the back 40 early one morning. We didn't have much timber and the only lim'rats were the few in the walnut trees along the edge of our barnyard. There weren't enough so I decided to leave them alone since I needed 8 or 10 to feed us for a dinner.|
The first lim'rat I shot on cuz Herman's place drew the unwanted attention of Herman. He caught up to me before I could get over the line fence, and read me the riot act. At home, I told Ike about my run in with cuz, and that cuz heard my shot. Ike said he knew just what to do, come on we are going to town. We parked in front of Stan's hardware, gun and bait store on the town square. Ike explained what he wanted and Stan brought it out. One 50 round box of .22 CB caps. Ike asked if Stan had more adding that the way Hop shoots, we'll need a box car full. Stan brought out 8 more boxes saying that's all he had.
When we got home Ike explained that CB caps fired a light weight bullet with mostly the primer for power. Very quietly. Behind our barn Ike demonstrated the best ranges to shoot, let me practice and told me to dress in clothing the color of the woods. Browns, black, green or gray. No bright colors. Get close to my game, make head shots and don't let Herman see me. It worked like a charm. I brought home many a lim'rat dinner. And that's Why I was discovered. I so thinned out cousin Herman's lim'rats that it took me near all day to get a good bag. And, I was hunting dangerously close to Cuz Herman's barns. Early one morning, I saw him round a corner. He saw me as I was moving to another location, bellowed at me and gave chase. Fat ol' Herman was no match for a scared kid, even one carrying a rifle and bag of lim'rats.
Back to the supper table. Sheriff Hagan said he'd tell our cuz that he warned us and we said we would stay away. I agreed. Sheriff took a big gulp from the fruit jar, thanked us for the excellent supper, and left. So ended my lim'rat poaching days.
Submitted By: Hoppy from IA on 2009-11-05