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Outdoors Outpost
Southern Squirrel Shootout
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 • Posted February 20, 2014

Sunday morning, my wife looked out the kitchen window and said, “There’s a squirrel in the back yard, if you want to practice.”

Unfortunately I didn’t have a Gamo Whisper Fusion Pro air rifle handy to shoot the squirrel with, so I had to pass. Shooting the squirrel with anything else would have produced a dead squirrel, but would not have been the kind of practice my wife was talking about. And I’m pretty particular about how I practice squirrel hunting.

My wife was referring to my upcoming squirrel hunt, which takes place this Thursday near Montgomery, Alabama. Yes. I’m flying to Alabama on Wednesday, hunting squirrels on Thursday, and flying home on Friday. No. I’m not kidding. I know you think I’m kidding, but I’m not.

Why, you might ask, would I travel all the way to Alabama to shoot squirrels? Because Gamo invited me to participate in the first annual Squirrel Masters Classic. And because Gamo makes the best air rifles in the world, and I’ll get a chance to hunt with their newest one, the Whisper Fusion Pro, which is so quiet even IT doesn’t know when it’s gone off. And because the teams in the competition will be made up of a mixture of world class squirrel hunters, writers, Gamo people, and famous TV people like Keith Warren and Jackie Bushman and somebody called ‘Pigman.’ And because otherwise I would just have to stay home and work. And because Gamo is paying for it. OK, mostly because Gamo is paying for it.

When I was growing up, which my wife says is still going on, the only air guns I ever heard of were Daisy and Crosman, with Daisy being the most likely to appear under the Christmas tree, because Crosman guns cost way more. Just about all my friends had the basic Daisy, the Buck, although a few kids who had wisely chosen to be born into more affluent families sported the Red Ryder model of ‘A Christmas Story’ fame. Me, I had nothing.

My parents thought it would be a bad idea to let me have a BB gun, because they had seen ‘A Christmas Story,’ and they figured I’d just shoot my eye out. They were probably right, but that didn’t help much, when all my friends were shooting, and I was standing around waiting for one of them to feel the urge to answer the call of nature, so I could use his gun for the short time required for that job.

My folks made up for it by giving me a Silver Anniversary edition Red Ryder for my birthday later on. It was my 39th birthday. I called up my childhood friends to see if they wanted to get together down at the creek by the elementary school and shoot at stuff like we did when we were kids, but they were all busy. Had to go by myself, and it wasn’t the same. Plus someone called the law on the strange old guy shooting a BB gun in the creek.

But the air rifles Gamo makes are a far cry from those old Daisys. We used to choose up sides and have BB gun wars, because no one could get hurt too bad by those old guns, but Gamo air rifles are a different breed of fish. If anyone had had a Gamo back then, he would have been the Bob Lee Swagger Marine Sniper of the Comanche Creek wars. And he would have gotten in some big trouble, because Gamos are serious guns, and someone would have lost more than an eye.

My son, Paden, got a low end Gamo when he was a kid, and it was an impressive weapon. Whereas the old Daisys would slightly dent a soup can, the Gamo would shoot through it. I used to borrow it from Paden and use it for squirrel control around my office in Mason, until he got tired of always being low on ammo and quit loaning it to me.

This trip, though, I won’t have to depend on Paden’s benevolence. Gamo is going to let me use their Whisper Fusion Pro .177 caliber pellet rifle, with a 3-9 X 40mm scope, and two-stage adjustable Smooth Action Trigger. This air rifle is state of the art, and has been used on numerous occasions to stop charging African elephants in their tracks.

Well, OK, you wouldn’t want to use the Gamo Whisper Fusion Pro on a charging elephant, but it’s a huge leap upward from a Daisy Buck. The most impressive thing about Paden’s Gamo rifle was its accuracy, and the newest Gamo line of rifles are reported to be fine examples of the Gamo tradition, and so quiet that, if you’ve got two squirrels in a tree, you can shoot one without the other one knowing you’d shot. Unless he’s looking.

So I’m looking forward to my squirrel hunting trip to Alabama. When I get back I’ll let you know how it went. And if they let me bring a Gamo rifle home with me, I’ll let you borrow it. When I have to answer the call of nature . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist with a very large bladder. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or jeep@verizon.net

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