In October of 1977, at the age of 23, Kenny Cobb fulfilled one of his grandfather’s outdoor dreams when he shot an albino cat squirrel in woods north of Winfield.
He used his dad’s old Winchester Model 12 16-gauge to take the trophy, and then made his way over to show his grandpa, Hassell Warren — who was part Apache Indian — what he had shot.
“My daddy came across that gun before I was even born,” said Cobb, now 61, of Ruston. “The gun was actually manufactured in 1915, and when I came up as a kid, that’s the gun that I shot, and still shoot today.
“My first love is squirrel hunting, and my granddaddy instilled that in me as a kid because it was his first love. He hunted up until his 93rd birthday, and his dream was to kill a snow white squirrel. To him it was kind of sacred. But in his lifetime of hunting, he never saw one in the wild. He just never came across one, and was a much better hunter than me who hunted his entire life.”
Ever since that special day in the woods with his grandpa in ’77, Cobb has always remained on the lookout for a second shot at another snow white trophy.
“To see a white squirrel in the woods, it just catches your eye right off the bat,” Cobb said. “Ever since I’ve killed that squirrel, my dream is to see another one because they’re so rare. When you talk to people that really get down to serious hunting, to see a snow white one is a little different.
“I’ve seen people who see them with tan on them, and this, that and the other — but to see a snow white one is very, very rare.”
Fast forward to last Nov. 13, when Cobb was in a deer stand near Chatham. He watched incredulously as another snow white squirrel appeared and fed at his corn feeder 60 yards away — but he didn’t have his trusty Model 12 with him in the stand.
“This was a Sunday, so I had planned on going to church after a quick deer hunt. So I went to church, I came home and got my shotgun and my rifle, and I went back over to where I saw him and got back in my deer stand,” Cobb said. “About 30 minutes later he appeared again back out in the woods behind the deer stand.
“It looked like a sore thumb it stuck out so much.”
A red-tailed hawk was also keeping a close eye on the squirrel, so Cobb decided to make a move and stealthily headed to the water oak where he last glimpsed the rodent.
“I stood there I know 45 minutes because I knew that’s where I saw him go, and I was trying to play it real careful because I knew what kind of trophy he was,” Cobb said. “All of a sudden, this squirrel just took off up that tree doing 90 mph. It looked like he had been about halfway up it, and he just took off for the top.
“I just threw up and shot and when I did, he just folded up and tumbled out right there by my feet.”
So 38 years later — with the exact gun he had taken his first albino cat squirrel — Cobb got his wish and secured another snow white trophy.
The rare chance at bagging his second white squirrel — this time years after his dad’s death in 1993 and his grandfather’s passing in 1998 — was extra special.
“There was a lot of emotion. I’m a very sentimental person,” Cobb said. “Granddaddy would tell me stories of the white squirrel and would compare it to being as rare as a white buffalo... I know a lot of squirrel hunters who have hunted all their lives who have never seen a white one.”
The second squirrel was solid white, but had black eyes, so Cobb enlisted Amite taxidermist John David Ellsey to mount it the same way. He just got the second white squirrel back last month.
So now both squirrels have a special spot in Cobb’s ever-expanding trophy room.
Amidst a sea of about 25 lunker bass from Caney Lake and beyond, along with impressive Louisiana and Canadian whitetail deer, the two squirrels taken 38 years apart with the same gun are now right next to each other — a fitting tribute to the two most important men in his life: his father Ken, who passed away in 1993, and his grandpa, who died in 1998.
“The first squirrel is really my most prized possession of all my trophies,” Cobb said. “I have the two white ones sitting side by side. The squirrels look absolutely great.”