In order to make up for our last canceled squirrel hunt, my friend Rich and I decided to go out for a day trip this past Sunday and give it another try. Our friend Earl also joined us.
The location we picked for the hunt was Storm King State Park. The park includes Storm King Mountain and the surrounding area. There is very little information on this area. It seems to be the land the state forgot. There are no controls on hunting here other than what the state regulations provide.
The last trip report where you saw me squirrel hunting, I was deep in the woods, and I had little worry about seeing another person let alone accidentally being shot. This forest however is fairly close to a populated area, and even though we were bushwhacking the entire trip, we decided to pull out the blaze orange. It is not idea for squirrel hunting, but it beats getting shot.
I had a very hard time finding a decent blaze orange vest. For some reason all of the stores near me only stock vests in huge sizes. Ultimately, I had to make my own vest from a kid’s size vest that I found. It packs up very small, so it is easy to store in the pack when not in use.
We cut through the woods, and made it some distance inside before we started to actively hunt.
The are seemed good for squirrel hunting. There was nice tree cover, and most importantly, there were acorns everywhere.
The are was also good for deer and turkey. There was surprisingly little scat to indicate that, but shortly after entering the forest, we saw clear signs that a buck was in the area.
We split up for the initial part of the hunt, traveling in the same direction but a few hundred yards apart. We moved very slowly, stopping regularly to look and listen for activity. I had my squirrel call with me, so I gave it a try.
After a few hours, none of us were having any luck. We joined back up and headed for a nearby lake.
The squirrel hunt did not go well. None of us had spotted any sign of squirrel. There were no husked acorns, no nests, no chatter, and we didn’t see a single squirrel scurrying away. The only shot fired the whole day was by Rich, who shot in order to scare away a bear that was getting too close.
As a consolation prize, we passed through some dried up stream beds that served as a print trap.
Deer, raccoon, turkey, it was all there. Then, when we got tot he lake, what looked to be some bear prints.
We stopped for a bit by the lake, and ate lunch.
On our way back we ran across another buck scrape. It was fresh, and you could clearly smell it.
On the return trip, we also decided to see if we cold find the gear Rich had lost earlier during the day. You see, while we were separated, Rich had discovered an abandoned tree stand, which was just left on the ground. He went to investigate, and was promptly attacked by a swarm of wasps. He ran, he fell, and lost a bunch of the things he had in his pockets. Well, after some searching, we found the spot.
Approaching with caution, Earl eventually found Rich’s gear.
Speaking of gear, I had with me my day gear. It was comprised of my hunting tools, a squirrel call, the Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10x25 binoculars, and my Savage 93R17 rifle. I also had with me, aside from my pocket carry, a Nalgene bottle with a nesting Stoic Ti cup, a Platypus water bladder, food, my rain jacket, and my fleece layer. It was all contained in my new day pack, the Osprey Manta 36. The pack is actually a hydration bladder, but I removed the bladder. It is a good size for a day pack. It has a number of pockets, which bring the volume up to 36L, but I just used the main compartment on this trip. The pack is actually grey, even though it looks kind of blue in the picture.
That’s it for the trip. Not a single squirrel. We’ll have to try a different area the next time, although with pheasant season starting today, it may have to wait for a while.
Here are the GPS maps for anyone who is interested. I am still working on trying to get the elevation profile from the GPS.
Stormy King Mountain is a nice forest, and I’m sure I will be back here again.