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Have you ever barked a squirrel?

FreezerFreezer Senior MemberPosts: 2,589 Senior Member
When woodsmen carried muzzel loaders and hunted for their food lead we scarce and not to be waisted. In addition you really wouldn't want to hit small game with a large ball if you were trying for dinner. I heard somewhere it was common pratice to bark squirrels. The woodsmen would aim at the branch under the squirrel so the concussion and spintering would dispatch his dinner with little or no damage to the meatand the lead could be recovered. That was aurban legend....or so I thought.

While deer hunting and scouting the squirrels have been my curse. Let one see me and they'll follow me for a mile letting the entire world know they saw me. One afternoon I was scouting a new area. Where I hunt there are a lot of cougar so I never enter the woods without a side arm and a knife. I had just crossed a ridge when a hudge squirrel saw me. She wasn't far from me and started the alert call. I decided to ignor her as I moved slowly along but after fifteen minutes I got tired of her. I threw some rocks at her which make her bark even more. Ten minutes later I figured I'd put a start in her engine. I really didn't want to kill her so I figured I would shoot the branch under her. I was carrying a 6" Ruger Security Six and figured since she was less than 25 yards away I could make a shot that would put her world in order. I drew the revolver, steadied against a small tree, cocked the hammer and aimed the shot into a two inch branch. The bark of that gun was the only thing in the woods that morning that was louder than her and when the bullet impacted the branch she launched herself to the trunk of the tree. She stood there attached to to it looking up silent for the first time since she saw me. I was pleased with the shot and thought that will teach you to mess with me! she stood there silent for about ten seconds. Then she fell to the ground:yikes:

I was dumbfounded! The shot was good, in the top center of the branch. What happened? I walk over to her and hoisted her by the tail. There wasn't a mark on her but there she was dead as a door nail (or door knocker). It's not a legend it can be done! I barked a squirrel!

Have you ever barked a squirrel?
I like Elmer Keith; I married his daughter :wink:


  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Senior Member Posts: 2,725 Senior Member
    I'm one of the very, very few-maybe the only one- here on the Forum who squirrel hunts with a flintlock in the old way. And yes, I have barked a squirrel ACCIDENTLY! You need to be careful about "barking" a squirrel with a patched round ball, however. You may knock the squirrel out of a tree with a ball just under the head, etc, and you may suddenly find that you have "barked" a Singer Sewing Machine instead :yikes:! I did this once 4-5 years ago. Shot a squirrel out of a tall Hickory tree with the .32cal ball just bearly grazing the squirrel's head. It fell almost at the feet of my friend who was hunting with me, and he picked it up and was looking it over carefully seeing if it was a head shot like we ALWAYS try for. The squirrel revived while he was holding it, and instantly became the Singer Sewing Machine that I mentioned :tooth:

    And as for recovering lead.....you can do this with a large animal like a deer or bear or hog, but never with a "barking" shot on a squirrel. I've recovered lead numbers of times from the animals I mentioned. The old-timers (me included, I guess) thought that it was "Lucky Lead" and if you cast more round balls with it, why you'd score again when you shot at something :wink:
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Dellrose TNPosts: 18,428 Senior Member
    I barked one with a .30-06 once, but it was only knocked out, not killed. It revived in about 30 seconds, just before I got close enough to lay hands on, and took off like nothing ever happened!
  • NNNN Senior Member NCPosts: 25,221 Senior Member
    Not exactly, I knocked one out with a plastic shotgun shell wad.

    It woke up after 30 min and I had to shoot it again.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    Usually when I am deer hunting, I will have a squirrel nearby that basically goes crazy and all I will have handy is a rifle or a slug shotgun. This year I thought I would be smart and pack a 22 revolver with me. There wasn't a squirrel within 80 yards of me the whole time I was hunting. The deer got closer than that but they kept in the thick stuff where I couldn't take a good shot. It was rather frustrating.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • Ranch13Ranch13 Senior Member Ft. Laramie WyPosts: 820 Senior Member
    Barked a couple with the 54 flintlock, also scrambled the snot out of a couple when the ball got just a little closer than optimal.:yikes:
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    Not quite....I ended up hitting it with a .30'06 and it got vaporized.
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,694 Senior Member
    I've got to wonder how many instances of barking squirrels were badly slapped triggers that got passed off as "I meant to do that". . .

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • NNNN Senior Member NCPosts: 25,221 Senior Member
    Bigslug wrote: »
    I've got to wonder how many instances of barking squirrels were badly slapped triggers that got passed off as "I meant to do that". . .
    The old men from these parts said barking was shooting below the squirrel with
    a shot gun and skipping the deformed shot into the squirrel.

    I never did that.

    The method probably has some merit if your rabbit hunting small shot
    loads and find a squirrel and want fewer bigger pellets to hit the rat. In this case bigger
    means diameter from deformation.
  • FreezerFreezer Senior Member Posts: 2,589 Senior Member
    Jerminator, you don't know how many times I've wanted to do that! Those little tattle tails drove me nuts! Then I learned a lesson, I carry a squirrel call when I deer hunt. Not only is it fun to tease the squirrels but it makes a good cover call. Those little **** can make all the noise they want let me make a noise and the whole world is looking at me. So now when I walk through the woods and make a noise or bad move I announce, "I'm not a nut in the woods, I'm a squirrel".
    I like Elmer Keith; I married his daughter :wink:
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Under a logPosts: 27,457 Senior Member
    I was sitting on a fallen tree with my back against the upturned roots once deer hunting on a muzzle loading hunt. The woods in the area were full of fox squirrels and that morning they were everywhere. I had on full camo with camo gloves and face net. the muzzle of my rifle was resting over my right foot. A big fox squirrel jumped up on the log and headed for me. It finally stopped to sniff the muzzle of the rifle. A .50 cal. T/C Maxi Ball will remove the head of one of those critters fast.

    Closest I've come to barking a squirrel is with my .32 cal. muzzle loader. I hit the branch a little low, and the ball smacked them in the head or shoulder area as it bounced off the branch.
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  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Pensacola, FLPosts: 10,826 Senior Member
    Even if you hit the branch in the correct spot, knocking off a piece of bark, I don't see it reliably knocking the squirrel down. I've taken pieces of squirrel off and had them run away...
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • DanChamberlainDanChamberlain Senior Member Near St. LouisPosts: 3,395 Senior Member
    I always shoot for the head. I either get'em or I miss'em. When I'm using my .36 "kaintuky" it pretty much takes the head off.

    I did make a shot one day that surprised me. The ball took off the top of the skull, but left the brain intact as well as the dura-mater membrane covering the brain! The poor creature was out cold, but if there had been a way or recovering the skull cap and replacing it, the darn thing might have lived! I finished it before it could wake up.

    It's a source of great pride for me, that when my name is googled, one finds book titles and not mug shots. Daniel C. Chamberlain
  • HAWKENHAWKEN Senior Member Logansport Indiana, by way of Hohenwald Tennessee by way of Cocoa FloridaPosts: 1,720 Senior Member
    Close, but in reverse. I was hunting in a bowl shaped woods that had a foot deep layer of leaves on the ground, with no way to get closer than, about, 50 yards, to a squirrel. So, I brought my model 700 BDL

    Remington in .243 Winchester. I had taken 4 of my 5 squirrel limit, when a big fox squirrel appeared at about 30 yards. A carefully aimed shot, and he fell to the ground. I sat for a few minutes, watching the squirrels

    play tag, when I saw the last one shot jump up and began running in circles. When he jumped onto the side of a tree, I shot him again, aiming at the eye. When I went to retrieve him, I saw a bloody crease on the

    top of his head, as well as the hole through the eyes. Apparently, I had just knocked him out, with the first shot......Robin
    I don't often talk to people that voted for Obama, but when I do I order large fries!
    Life member of the American Legion, the VFW, the NRA and the Masonic Lodge, retired LEO
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