John's Journal...

The Best Squirrel Hunting

Hill Topping

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Many states encourage hunters to take squirrels in February. To squirrel hunt effectively, I need a good rifle, a quality scope, the best binoculars I can buy and my squirrel calls. Spotting a bushytail on the limb at 60 yards will test even Click to enlargeSuperman's X-ray vision without binoculars and a riflescope. However, from 60- to 80-yards away with these optics, I can distinguish the difference between a squirrel's tail swishing or a bird's wings flapping. No matter where you hunt squirrels, you’ll have more success if you’ll use squirrel calls.

As a young man, I hunted squirrels in the valleys and creek bottoms between hills and mountains, since most books and magazine articles about squirrel hunting stated that those areas should hold squirrels. When I'd spy bushytails halfway up or right on top of a mountain, and make a long and exhausting climb to get in a position to take a shot, usually I'd discover the squirrels had gone into their holes where I couldn't see them.

Few people enjoy chasing squirrels up and down the sides of mountains. Click to enlargeOnce you get older, you must replace the strength and enthusiasm of youth with the wisdom of age. Today, instead of starting at the bottomClick to enlarge of a mountain or a hill and looking for squirrels moving and feeding in a bottom, I hunt the ridgetops for squirrels early in the morning before the wind begins to blow. Also, by hunting ridgetops and using squirrel calls, you can call to both sides of the ridge and get squirrels to bark and give away their positions. If you shoot a squirrel on one side of a ridge, you can cross over easily and hunt squirrels on the other side that your shooting probably hasn’t disturbed. At first light, I like to use the whining call of a gray squirrel. As the sun rises, I’ll bark to the squirrels, and after I shoot, I’ll use a cutter call that sounds like a squirrel cutting acorns.
However, if the wind starts blowing, I'll drop off into the valleys and the bottoms to hunt.

Tomorrow: Bunch Hunting

Check back each day this week for more about "The Best Squirrel Hunting"

Day 1: Hill Topping
Day 2: Bunch Hunting
Day 3: Boat Hunting
Day 4: Tree Standing
Day 5: Planning a Squirrel-Hunting Float Trip


Entry 494, Day 1