The quest to kill a squirrel in every state continued in Alaska. After a few years hiatus, the dream continues. I took a fine red squirrel and a bonus black bear. This is also the first squirrel taken while my wife Susan and the youngest man cub Finn tagged along.
Alaskans as a whole are not the biggest squirrel hunters, but they have a splendid population of mouthy red squirrels that need shooting.
Squirrels were elusive the first day due to the steep hillside and thick understory. We were forced to settle for a decent-for-the-area black bear. Oh well, we just had to grin and bear it.
The pack out was tough, and somewhere along the way we lost the .22. This lead to a three day debacle, but eventually the google machine got us in touch with a couple from Michigan, then a park hostess, then the Forest Service Officers, and finally we got the rifle back. Thank goodness for good folks.Luckily we weren’t loaded down with squirrel meat.
Later on we had a family hunt. We took off with guns strapped, fishing poles over our shoulders and adventure on our minds. A beautiful, if not busy, trail led us up a steady climb eventually descending again and dumping us on a remote beach.
Just as we started, a young woman met us on the trail and reported two black bears “aggressively guarding” the trail. I asked where and she said “in the woods.” Turns out, the trail was solid woods for the entire 2 miles until the last fifty yards on the beach. Very helpful.
Seeing our guns, she then pleaded for us to not shoot the aggressive bears. Keegan snickered. Things got awkward and I got clear instructions through that barely perceptible head shake/warning/ psychic connection wives sometime throw at their husbands; there might also have been gentle hand pat on my arm signaling me to not give voice to the thoughts bouncing around inside my noggin. Regardless, we took off.
We stopped for lunch and lamented a lost grouse Oliver and I both shot. The plucky bird sailed 600 yards over a cliff, feathers flying everywhere. Bummer.
Between bites of apple and summer sausage, Susan proved she might have the makings of a squirrel killer when she spied a bushy tail eating on the edge of a limb. I put the crosshairs of the .22, loaded with a subsonic round, on the munching rodent and squeezed one off. Down it went to the delight of my 4 year old.
Finn quickly made the retrieve, and then insisted on carrying it for the rest of the hunt. Even on the car ride home, he maintained a firm grip. Eventually I wrestled it from him, skinned it, and fried it with some of the bear shot the prior hunt. We munched heavily.
After lunch things got exciting when we bumped a mama bear with two cubs. She made a loud “Woof” and crashed through the timber just to our right about ten yards away.
We paralleled the running bruins and caught sight of them at the creek both families crossing at the same time.
If not for the cubs, we might have considered ruining the rest of the squirrel hunt by taking another bear. Luckily, the cubs allowed us to keep on squirrel hunting since a sow with cubs is off limits. It was a grand time.
Sure Alaska has moose, caribou, mountain goat Dall’s sheep, and grizzly, but I’d wager I’m one of the few to return from the last frontier with a squirrel. I’ll take it.