No BS, this is the truth. (as all good stories begin)
I moved onto a farm in Mid TN back in '96. Beautiful place, creek by the house, cabin on the hill, 800 acres of mixed woods and pasture to roam. WE got settled in and after a few days my 17 year old son decided to roam down the creek. He took his .22 and stayed gone about an hour and came home with a dazed look on his face.
"Dad, how big do squirrels get?"
"I don't know son, a pound or two. Did you get one?"
"Nope, He was way too big. I thought it was a ground hog in a tree at first. It was throwing acorns at me and I am pretty sure it was swearing in Squirrel."
I decide to check this out, never seeing a squirrel that large or a ground hog more than half way up a tree. I pick up my .22 and head for the door. Son stops me.
"Dad, you need to take the 30-30, if you shoot it with a .22 you are just going to make it mad and it throws acorns real good! I did not shoot it cause I was afraid it would charge."
Laughing to myself I walk out the door and down the creekside. Son catches up with me after a few moments carrying the 12ga pump.
"Sorry, it took me a while to find the 00 buck." he comments.
Ten minutes latter we near a bend in the creek. 100 year old oak and maples, gorge cut into the rock as creek umbled down a small waterfall. True 10 acre patch of primal forest.
"It was in that big sycamore!" Son informs me as we draw near.
Doubtfully I approach the tree, circle same and see nothing. Chuckling I scold son for the wild goose chase.
And there he is!!!
Sitting in a big oak. The biggist Red Fox squirrel I have ever seen! This squirrel WAS as big as a ground hog. Rust red in color and healthy as a horse. And he had his family with him. I kept thinking about being the subject in a documentary called "Attack of the Mutant Squirrels".
For the first time in my life I actually felt under gunned with a .22 while squirrel hunting.
"You want me to shoot one Dad?" son asks.
My first thought is that we are outnumbered and I don't know how many rounds of 00buck son has with him.
"Nope son, lets just leave them alone. They need multiply and spread a little. I've never seen red squirrels this big and no one is going to believe it till they see them in the wild." I was actually thinking that if we made them mad it would not be safe to work in the fields unarmed.
If you are ever in the Middle Tennessee area and need to sober up a drunk I know the perfect place.