I was shooting on my range today, testing .22LR handloads.
At 30yds, a largish fox squirrel appeared.
My mind went, "squirrel!"
It saw me at about the same time, so I dialed down the 'scope to 4.5x, which is the minimum setting, stood up, did a Hasty Hasty sling, and sent the bullet.
The handloaded 40gn HP struck right behind the lungs - very poor placement on my part. I had not had a chance to set the trigger, so I was operating with a 5# trigger instead of a crisp 12oz trigger. I had also not adjusted the parallax off of 100yds. But I know this rifle and it hit only 1/4" further back from where I aimed. The squirrel was moving as well, so it may not have been all me.
Regardless, of the bad placement, the squirrel dropped. I've not seen the local squirrel drop with less-than-precise placement with anything but high velocity HP.
I secured the rifle an got my dog, Nikki, and we walked out there.
Sometime during all this, the squirrel had "come back to life" and was among the trees. I had Nikki sniffing around for it when it fell in among some briers and thick growth that I couldn't make it in. So I gave the command (since she had seen it fall), "Nikki, GET THE SQUIRREL!" and she was in faster than I thought a dog that size could move.
I heard a brief struggle, and Nikki came sauntering back out of the brush, covered with little green burrs and holding a largish squirrel in her mouth.
She put it down at my feet.
Then it tried to get up.
She grabbed it in her mouth and squeezed it until it stopped breathing.
And I have to say, this is something I've not seen a dog do. I've seen them shake prey to break its neck, and I've seen them just chomp. But she just squeezed it and kept on squeezing it even when it bit her.
She put it down.
It was still alive.
Not wanting to make her get bitten again, I just stood on it.
I told her "good girl!" and only then did she show how happy she was with herself.
Here's what we ended up with:
The little specs on Nikki are burrs. The squirrel looks smaller than it was because of dog drool.
Nikki, of course, got to eat the entrails. I don't know what was going on, but I botched the skinning job. The muscle wanted to stay on the skin, and I got little more than the back legs. Wasted about half the animal, but I couldn't figure out any other way. It was hot and I had to get it in before the meat could spoil.
The bullet passed through-and-though, but there were no support structure hit. Additionally, the lil' slug did expand a bit according to the exit wound. I put a hollowpoint in them as part of the handloading process.
I'd still like to know why most of the meat peeled off with the hide when I didn't wait any longer or skin any differently than usual. But overall, it was a good surprise hunt.
Nikki is definitely showing her worth again this year.