Dave Larsen | Michigan

From The ReadersI hate red squirrels. Almost every time I’m deer hunting, they inevitably see me and start their incessant chattering, warning anything nearby that “he’s over here.” So, any chance I get to take one or two out of the nearby population, I’ll sacrifice a morning or afternoon deer hunt.

My morning deer hunt on Oct. 8, 2011, provided yet another opportunity to thin the herd of red squirrels. As I was silently sitting with bow in hand on this quiet morning, two of these little monsters started their shenanigans about five yards from me, running up and down trees, through the noisy fall leaves on the ground and just wouldn’t leave. It was about a half hour past hungry, so I decided to end their inconsiderate romp around my blind.

I happened to be carrying my Smith & Wesson .22 pistol — I always carry a pistol, hunting or otherwise — but as anyone who has ever tried shooting these nervous little creatures knows, they’ll barely sit still for more than a fraction of a second. Nevertheless, I tried to keep a bead on one while it ran a maze of a path over, in, through, under and around everything until disappearing.

I sat there for a minute, .22 resting on my leg, waiting for the unwanted return. Just then I heard rustling leaves headed back my way. Pulled my pistol up and waited … and here comes a young female coyote, anxiously looking for the varmints that had been making all the commotion. With all the brush around me, I had one little hole that I could reasonably shoot through on the path that she was taking, so I held on that spot and waited. As luck would have it, she stopped right where I needed. I squeezed off a single shot and dropped her where she stood at 11 yards.

And thus, another obsession was born…

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