John's Journal...

The Best Squirrel Hunting

Boat Hunting

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Many states encourage hunters to take squirrels in February. Click to enlargeTo 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 Superman'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.

To produce squirrels as well as test your shooting skills and balance, coordination and dexterity, boat-hunt bushytails. With a canoe or a flat-bottomed johnboat, you can move swiftly and quietly down a stream, around a lake or through flooded timber and pinpoint the location of squirrels without their ever hearing you approach. However, turning your body to either side of the canoe and attempting to aim and hold your rifle off-hand to bag a squirrel on the bank makes you very unstable. Instead, sit on the canoe seat in the stern or the bow with both feet spread wide apart while propping on your knees, aiming and shooting over the front of the craft to maintain yourClick to enlarge accuracy.

To make my best shot, I point the bow of the boat toward thesquirrel. Then I have 30 degrees (15 degrees to either side) of killing range. I prefer to hunt squirrels from a canoe with a partner. Click to enlargeOne of you can sit in the stern of the boat and keep the bow of the boat with your partner in it pointed at the squirrel. Then the shooter only must concentrate on the squirrel and the shot. If I hunt alone and see a squirrel, I make sure I have my boat angled toward the animal before I ever pick up my rifle.

Too, you can pull your boat or canoe to the shore, if you have permission to hunt the land. Then try this hit-and-run tactic. Step out of your boat, break off a leafy limb, and beat it on the ground while blowing your young-squirrel-in-distress call. This combination of calling and beating the limb sounds like a hawk or an owl has caught a young squirrel and will cause other squirrels in the region to come out of their dens and bark. After hunting, you can move downstream in your boat 100 to 200 yards and utilize the same tactic.

Tomorrow: Tree Standing

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 3