I just returned from a few days of camping on Hatteras Island in North Carolina. It was an awesome trip, and for most of the time we had great weather. I spent many great hours on the beach swimming and sleeping. I really feel like this was the first break I have had since I graduated college and it turned into a great trip. The only downside to the trip was the fact that the high temperatures and humidity made sleeping in a tent rather uncomfortable. My girlfriend and I planned this trip in less than a few days, and managed to have a great time without spending a ton of money. Perhaps one of these days I should write something about camping on a budget...
Now for the groundhog hunt...
I spent almost all day Thursday shopping and packing for the trip. I had just returned home from the Wal Mart and was driving past my house into our field behind the house. I was heading up to the barn to get camping stuff out so that I could pack for my trip. When I was halfway to the barn I noticed that a giant groundhog was feeding in front of the barn! This groundhog has tunneled under all of the walls in our barn and has made a horrible mess inside it over the past 2 years. I have hunted her numerous times and have managed to kill a few of her offspring, but I had never gotten a shot at her. Until Thursday.
I stopped my Jeep and ran back down the driveway to my house. I decided I was going to put a stalk on the groundhog and try and get close enough to shoot her with a .22 caliber rifle. I grabbed the rifle and some shells, and then ran back into the field. Since there was no cover in the field besides grass that is about a foot and a half tall, I had to belly crawl the whole way through our field to the barn where the groundhog was feeding. It took me about 20 minutes to belly crawl the 200 yards through the field to where I could get a clear shot at the critter. That seems like a long time, but this groundhog was very wary and would eat for a few seconds and then stand on its hind legs and look around for any danger.
I finally made it to about 40 yards from the groundhog, and then took aim from the prone position. My first shot went just over the groundhog's back, but the second one was a direct hit! I was rather proud of the shot since the gun I was using only has open sights.
The groundhog made it into the barn, but I trailed it in and could just see its tail sticking out from behind a pile of junk. Not wanting to stick my hand in after it, I got my dog to go into the barn and pull out the groundhog. It turns out that it was a big female, and I would estimate that it weighed about 15 pounds. It was definitely the biggest groundhog I have ever killed.
Even though it was only a groundhog, I was rather excited to have stalked and killed a critter that had outsmarted me for the past few years. Hopefully there won't be any more of them in the barn any time soon!