[pagebreak] When hunting season wasn't open, my pals and I took our .22s after woodchucks. We hunted them by closing in carefully, usually within 50 yards. We didn't want to risk wounding one and having it escape into its burrow. Woodchucks taught us to sneak by crawling along on our bellies. I remember one woodchuck that took me three weeks to dispatch. The animal lived in the middle of a field, where it could see several hundred yards in any direction from its burrow. My buddy had shot at it and missed, educating it well. After trying many failed stalks, I pulled a log out into the field 40 yards from the woodchuck's burrow. One morning, in the pre-dawn darkness, I walked to the log and lay down behind it. The chuck emerged from its den shortly after sunrise, and my .22 bullet struck pay dirt. I dressed the chuck, as I did all of them, and made it into a delicious stew.