The biathlon events in Sochi may be winding down, but another test of marksmanship prowess is about to begin. Only the competitors certainly won't be racing on skis in southern Alabama, and rimfires will be replaced by air rifles. The targets: squirrels.
As the first annual Squirrel Master Classic kicks off tomorrow morning, six teams of more than 30 hunters will vie for the top position. Event organizers Gamo Outdoor USA and Buckmasters have laid out a simple set of rules for the competition: Take a Gamo air rifle into the wilds surrounding Southern Sportsman Lodge and bag as many bushytails as your stalking skills and aim will allow in seven hours.
Field Editor Jeff Johnston and I—attracted by the total lack of snow and forecasted 70-degree temperatures in the Black Belt, not to mention a promised plethora of bushytails—hope to bring home the gold. We're on separate teams and will be joined by Gamo Pro Staff members, so I expect stiff competition.
To make things even more interesting, we'll be hunting over "world-champion" squirrel dogs (according to their doting owners). Look for updates throughout tomorrow.
Here's what we're after, the top prize. The title of Squirrel Master Champion. It would look real good sitting on my desk—screwed down so Johnston can't steal it.