Squirrel Hunting Tips: Learn How to be the Master of Squirrel Hunting
Squirrel hunting is quite entertaining and a great way to introduce a new hunter into the hunting community. Both challenging and rewarding, squirrel hunting takes some patients and a great deal of knowledge in order to master it. Learning how to be a successful squirrel hunter can stock your freezer up for some delicious meals throughout the year. http://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/other/recipes/2005/10/online-exclusive-squirrel-recipes
Fact or Fiction of Squirrel Hunting
Are red squirrels the only ones who occupy a bed of pine trees? When I was first starting out learning how to hunt squirrels, I would here a red squirrel chattering away in the pines and just keep on pushing through them. Since then, I have learned to appreciate that chatter and look at it as a possible opportunity to harvest a squirrel worth taking home. I always assumed that only red squirrels occupied those thick green pine plots and my targeted squirrels avoided them. Ouch! Boy was I ever wrong for assuming that! Gray squirrels, black squirrels, and fox squirrels will also occupy these such environments as well. Whether it be from looking for food, avoiding a threat, or being chased by red squirrels, worthy squirrels do not completely avoid the pines.
Squirrels are just like any other animal on earth. They are very protective of there territory. Have you ever seen a little ‘ole black bird chasing a crow, raven, buzzard, or even a bald eagle off? Its just like that in the squirrel world. Feisty little red squirrels will chase other squirrels off, and they are not quiet about it or try to hide it. So, the next time you here the chitter chatter of a red squirrel, stop, look, and listen carefully and you may be surprised by what you see on your next squirrel hunting adventure.
There are two types of all squirrels: resident squirrels and migrating squirrels. Resident squirrels are often quite bigger than migrating squirrels because they stock pile food and get ready to settle into a certain location for the winter. Migrating squirrels will move through different areas searching for that perfect little winter home. Therefore, when you see them in season, they are smaller than the resident squirrels. As you are squirrel hunting, remember these types of squirrels can utilize sections of pines often overlooked by hunters. Resident squirrels can be traveling through looking for building supplies or more food. Migrating squirrels have to get from point “A” to point “B” somehow. Right?
Squirrels build there nests in oak trees, hickory trees, and so forth. But, they still need material for building their nest. Living in the forest, they have ample and unlimited building supplies. Who’s to say that a squirrel will not use a pine cone or two, or maybe some small limbs of a pine to help build their nest. Another reason you should not just pass through the pines while squirrel hunting.
In case you haven’t noticed while squirrel hunting, squirrels are very fast to retreat from a threat. They also can “disappear into thin air”. One second you may see the squirrel, and the other, never see it again. Being of a smaller build, squirrels are very quiet and pristine when avoiding a threat. They may carefully leap from one tree to another, up in the tree tops, or they may go down the tree on the side facing away from the threat and move out of the area. Just a side note: If you run into a situation while squirrel hunting where you see a squirrel and then it disappears, try staying in the same area for a little while. Squirrels tend to circle around and come back from time to time. Pines provide thick cover and a safe haven while retreating. Next time you see a cluster of pines, keep these tips in mind.
How to Outsmart a Squirrel
In order to be a successful at squirrel hunting, you need to be able to think like a squirrel. In this section, we’ll go over some of the basic “squirrel psychology”. If you hear a loud drawn out thud then you can pretty much decipher where that sound came from. Shotguns have that affect on a squirrel. If you are blasting away out in the woods using a shotgun, then you are telling the squirrels exactly where to stay away from. However, there are certain conditions where shotguns have their place while hunting squirrel. For instance, its the early part of squirrel season and the colorful leaves have not yet fell to their demise and the underbrush hasn’t packed it in for the winter. This creates some thick hunting grounds. Most of your squirrel hunting shots are going to be withing 20 yards or so, and sometimes not a whole lot of room for waiting long to take the shot, once you determine it is safe. Another reason for mainly close encounters is based upon your visualization and also the squirrels. Squirrel hunting in thick coverage, you will not be able to see squirrels in trees or on the ground off in the distance. This also works to your benefit as well. The squirrels will not be able to see you far off either allowing you to quietly sneak up on them.
A small caliber rifle or pistol also has its place while squirrel hunting. If you hear a sharp short crack, it is often hard to determine exactly where the noise came from. As is the case with squirrels, they have a hard time deciphering the origin of the sound too. I advise you to use a small caliber firearm anytime you plan on relaxing under an oak tree and waiting for the squirrels to come to you. If you do end up harvesting a squirrel, remember where you took the squirrel and leave it lay. Go back before you change position or head for home to obtain your game. Other squirrels in the area will not know your position, allowing you to harvest multiple squirrels from a single location. Now you decide to head out and try your luck towards the end of early season, or attempt punching through the snow, in second season, and enjoying a day out in the woods squirrel hunting. Take your smaller caliber firearm while doing so. The coverage is next to nothing, and you and the squirrel’s vision is left uncompromised. Remember to choose the right firearm when reaching into your gun safe and going squirrel hunting.
Lets dig a little deeper now. Say you have a buddy or one of your family members hunting with you. One of you spots a squirrel in a tree, but it also spotted you. Now the squirrel is still in the tree, only it has moved to the other side of the tree. Have the non shooting hunter slowly move down to the tree and step on the other side of it. The squirrel just may be likely to come back around for a great shot. Before taking the shot, make sure your hunting partner is in a safe location for you to fire the shot. Lets say you are all by yourself and you run into the same situation. Quietly sneak down to the tree, take your hat off slowly, and toss it on the other side of the tree. The squirrel may think that the threat has now moved to the back side of the tree. Once again, the squirrel may slide around lining you up with a perfect shot.
Two for One
Squirrels are very playful in nature. They love to play tag and chase each other through the woods. A telltale sign that there is another squirrel in the area is discovered by paying close attention to squirrel behavior. If you see a squirrel calmly shuffling through the leaves or up in a tree, then it is likely it is all by itself. However, squirrels display different behaviors when other squirrels are around. Watch how the squirrel is coming down the tree. Is it stopping, looking around, and paying attention to its surroundings? Does it have any clue you are there? If a squirrel comes down or goes up a tree spiraling it, you just may have hit the jackpot. Squirrels will spiral up and down trees when playing and being chased by another squirrel. This is also another good opportunity if you have a smaller caliber firearm with you. You could harvest multiple squirrels at once. Most of the time on crunchy or soft terrain, a squirrel all by itself can be heard faintly. They tend to move in segments. They will move for a couple of seconds and stop to check out their surroundings, and then continue repeating this pattern. When two or more squirrels are playing together on soft or crunchy terrain, they generate more noise. Also, they do not stop and go in segments to check out their surroundings. A playing squirrel is a gullible squirrel and the less likely your cover will be blown. If you hear a lot of crunching and other noise, stop, look, and listen to stand a better chance at harvesting a squirrel or two.
Squirrels tend to come out in the early morning just after the crack of dawn and in the early evening just before sunset. My dad and I always joke that in the period in between they are probably in the house watching soap operas. This pattern is especially true if the weather is not so ideal and raining. However, if you can tough it out and don’t mind getting a little wet, you still stand a chance at a successful squirrel hunt. What I like to do is find the edge of the pines leading into some oak or hickory trees and shelter myself some by overhanging pine limbs. Two things are accomplished with this squirrel hunting tip. Number one: Squirrels are less likely as impartial to getting a little wet than you are. Therefore, they still will move around and look for food and territory. Number two: Squirrels can also take some shelter in the pines, just as you, in turn placing you at a happy medium with your choice of location.
Lastly for this section. Pay attention to the size of the squirrel. Is it a resident or migrating squirrel? If you see more resident squirrels, then you are in a prime area to possibly hunt again soon. However, we learned earlier that migrating squirrels tend to not hang around as long leaving you with less opportunity of two successful hunts in a short period of time.
I hope this article can help you be the master of squirrel hunting. Remember, thank the good Lord above for every one of your harvests, have fun, and be safe out there!