The feeder is located just off one of the tracks through the woods, so I was able to make my way in without causing too much disturbance, and within a few minutes, I was sat in my hide behind the Commander on the sticks with a cup of tea steaming away beside me.
I love this part of a squirrel session. No matter how many times I do it, I always get a thrill from the sense of anticipation and expectation as I wait for the sun to come up and dilute the woodland gloom.
Every few minutes I put the rifle to my shoulder and focused through the Viper Pro to check the light and to make sure I had the parallax and magnification set just right. As soon as it was light enough, I risked a shot at a spinner screwed into the side of the feeder to make sure the Commander was on zero.
It was and at just 20 metres, the pellet made an ear-shattering crack, but it had to be done. I cranked the bolt and cycled another pellet, making a mental note that I now had nine more shots in the magazine.
Sitting back, it didn’t take long for the blue tits, nuthatches and other small birds to start flitting to and from the feeder for their breakfast. They scattered when a woodpecker arrived to join the all-you-can-eat peanut buffet, and then he too disappeared when a couple of jays announced their arrival with raucous calls.
The landowner has specified that jays are not to be shot as they don’t pose a threat to the lumber, so I watched the pair through the crystal-clear Viper Pro glass as they guzzled down a few peanuts and then flew off again.
I always open the side windows to the hide so I can see squirrels approaching across the woodland floor, but make sure to wear a face veil and gloves to guard against any flashes of skin. Eventually some movement on my left caught my eye and for once the cause was not one of the many pheasants that inhabit the woods.