John's Journal...

The Best Squirrel Hunting

Tree Standing

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 Click to enlargemy 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.

Most of us don't have too much trouble taking squirrels in the early part of the year when the animals eat acorns on the ground or cut nuts up in leafy hickory nut trees. However, hunting squirrels becomes tough later when the bushytails rarely range far from their den trees and can spot you from about as far away as you can see them. Here's a different way to bag bushytails.

A close friend of mine, Dr. Bob Sheppard of Carrollton, Alabama, a longtime, avid squirrel hunter, learned throughobservation that Click to enlargewhen a squirrel came out of its hole or nest, it looked for danger on the forest floor and not up in a tree. So, Sheppard decided to hunt squirrels from a tree stand, figuring the squirrels in the other trees probably wouldn’t see him. Once he found an area with a high squirrel concentration, he used his rifle with its 3-9X scope, which gave him accuracy up to80 yards. In a morning of hunting, Sheppard could sit in his tree stand 12 to 15 feet in the air and bag a limit of bushytails before 10:00 am.

Click to enlargeSheppard explains, “When I shoot a squirrel, the other squirrels in the area will look around them but will return to the ground and feed again. All I have to do is mark the spot where I've taken each squirrel. When I'm finished hunting, I come down the tree and collect my squirrels.”

Squirrel hunting offers an exciting challenge, an opportunity to hunt during a long season in most states, a chance to fine tune your shooting skills and a delicious treat to eat, which makes the rewards of a good shot last even longer. When you become weary of sitting on a cold deer stand and seeing nothing, you have sore and achy muscles from chasing elk up and down mountains, or your feet need to dry out after wading wetlands for waterfowl, take up the challenge of hunting bushytails.

Tomorrow: Planning a Squirrel-Hunting Float Trip

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