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“Seems perfect for a little bit of light squirrel hunting,” Sampson comments on Mae’s YouTube page. Hang on; he’s serious. “Ever tried ‘barking’ a squirrel with a larger caliber weapon? It’s where you hit the branch they’re standing on instead of hitting the animal itself. They use to do it back in the days of .50 flintlocks and stuff so that there was actually something left to eat afterwards.” And now a short history lesson, courtesy the hive mind at

Wall guns were large caliber smooth-bore muskets that were used in the 16th through 18th centuries by defending forces to break the advance of enemy troops. They were too heavy to be fired from the shoulder and so were usually rested on window ledges or low walls, hence the name. They were also known as Hackbuts, a name originally given to early medieval hand cannon.[2] Many were fitted with a barrel hook to absorb shock. Some of these weapons had multiple barrels which enabled volleys to be fired much faster than a normal single shot wall gun. . .

A wall gun’s barrel could be over 54 inches (140 cm) in length with a bore of at least 1 inch (2.5 cm). This made them more accurate than the standard flintlock or matchlock musket. George Washington acquired several wall guns during the American War of Independence; tests showed that they were capable of hitting a sheet of common writing paper at 600 yards (550 m). Wall guns were part of the standard equipment of some artillery pieces at that time.

How big was a sheet of common writing paper back in those days? And are those real soldiers standing silently behind Mae or ghosts? Just wonderin’ . . .

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  1. Mark Twain wrote of “barking” squirrels in “Life on the Mississippi.” When he was a kid, some of his country relatives hunted that way. Any that actually got hit were fed to the dogs.

    • I still don’t understand how “barking” a squirrel works. You hit the branch and that does what exactly? Makes the squirrel fall out of the tree so that the fall kills the squirrel? Unless that squirrel is really high up in the tree and lands on jagged rocks, I don’t think that method will be very effective. What am I missing?

      • In the part of the country I was raised and hunted in WV, KY and Ohio “barking” a squirrel referred to making the same noises a squirrel makes to get him to stick his head out around a tree he’s hiding in. When your “barking” causes him to show himself you shoot him, not the tree.

        My old man was good at it. I saw him do 6 for 6 one morning.

        One of the funniest squirrel hunting moments was when an old gent I hunted with forgot to clear his hunting vest out after deer season. Ohio, where we were hunting was shotgun only so he hunted deer with slugs. In those days we didn’t have rifled “shotgun” barrels and people used foster slugs or the round lead ball we called punkin’ balls, after pumpkins.

        We got to our “sit” before daylight and he loaded his 12 ga by feel. He inserted, unknowingly, a slug in the chamber. On cue at first light a big bushytail came out on a branch. Old timer touched that slug off, we both knew it wasn’t birdshot as soon as it went off, and the slug knocked the branch, squirrel and all off the tree.

        Squirrel rode that branch all the way to the ground and I was laughing to hard to get a shot off. He scrambled, apparently uninjured back into the thick stuff.

      • ” You hit the branch and that does what exactly?”

        I’ll take a wild-assed guess that it breaks their wrists or forearms and hind legs…

      • Barking a Squirrel:
        1. Used to get a squirrel from out of the uppermost braches of a tree (so yeah, pretty high up).
        2. Position yourself so the squirrel is clinging to the side of the tree from your perspective. Do not try to use this method to shoot a squirrel through the back into the tree.
        3. Aim for the bark the squirrel is clinging to.
        4. If your aim is true, the exploding bark from the bullets impact will knock the squirrel off the tree without wrecking any meat.
        5. If the fall didn’t kill the squirrel outright, hopefully it stunned it enough to enable you to bash its head in with a stick.
        6. Bake, fry, or stew squirrel to taste.

      • The preferred method is to hit the branch near the squirrels head. The splinters and pieces of bark that the round ball kicks up usually knocks the squirrel out of the tree stunning it if not out right killing it in the process.

  2. I can tell you first hand that if you “bark” a squirrel with a 30-06, that is shoot right below it, the combo of exploding bark fragments and the fall to the ground result in a dead squirrel.

  3. I’m thinking you gotta REALLY hate that squirrel to go to all the trouble of loading that damn gun. Seems like only something Boris Badenov would bother with.

    • Might want to look again. That is one big, shit eating grin that shows up every time that bitch goes off! WOW, that looks like fun, screw the squirrel or whatever you were shooting at. I’m betting she left when she ran out of ammo.

  4. 1. I need one of these, which means, I’ll probably build one. To hunt ducks. Not kidding.
    2. If she would actually get behind the gun instead of to the side of it, the recoil would not throw her around so much.

  5. in the fall (now) i sit in the yard with a cereal box filled with acorns. aiming the wrist rocket up into the pin oaks there is enough accuracy to get within a foot of a tree rat, spattering twigs and leaves on the way past. it can startle the little gnawing bastards and cause them to mis- judge a leap; the sudden deceleration at the bottom of the free fall can be fatal.


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