John's Journal...

Better Tactics and Equipment Mean More Squirrels

Day 4: Important Extras to Improve Your Odds of Success for Taking Squirrels

Editor’s Note: Know how to change your luck. Squirrel season is starting or already has begun across the U.S. When you put more thought into and use better tactics and equipment to hunt squirrels, you’ll end-up with more bushytails to take home.

Click for Larger ViewThe hunter who plans well consistently will take more squirrels per hour of hunting. Your choice of the proper equipment definitely can put the odds in your favor. Wearing camouflage is critical to a successful hunt. But not all camouflage is effective in all locales. During the early season, use shades of green and black, and for the late season, your best bet may be brown. Then when the snow falls, white is preferred. A bright, shining face can signal a squirrel to flee. Click for Larger ViewSince squirrel hunting is a looking-up sport, the hunter’s face often is what the bushytail sees. So, I don’t shave the morning I plan to hunt. Beard stubble helps to hide your face, as does camo grease paint and a camo head net. The head net also solves the mosquito problem for early-season hunters. How many times have you seen a friend make a long, patient, deliberate stalk to well within gun range of a squirrel and then swat a mosquito that’s gnawing on his ear, frightening the squirrel out of range? If you prefer not to use a head net, use a high-quality insect repellent.

Shoes and boots are definitely a factor in successful squirrel hunting. I favor wearing tennis shoes when the weather’s still warm and crepe-soled boots for cooler weather. Soft-sole shoes allow the hunter to move more quietly from tree to tree. And when you talk about guns for bushytails, you really can get a good discussion going. “There’s no sport to hunting squirrels with a shotgun,” avid hunters often say scornfully. “Yeah, but if you want meat for the pot, you won’t get it with a .22,” the shotgunners will throw back. As for me, I prefer both weapons. I like a .22 bolt action, like my old Remington 541S Custom Sporter, for early-season hunting. As the leaves start to fall, I want more fire-power, more quickly, so I go to a Winchester Model 290 automatic. Then when the leaves are gone, I like my old full choke .12 gauge.

Click for Larger ViewThere are two-important qualities to look for in a gun if you plan to hunt squirrels with a .22. Choose a rifle with proven accuracy up to 75 yards. Select a big-game scope that gathers lots of light and matches the accuracy of your rifle. A hunter will miss enough squirrels on his own. He doesn’t need a rifle or a scope that’s less than accurate to help him miss. I favor .22-long rifles. I like the solid bullet better than the hollow point, because it damages less meat. The .22 short is also an excellent cartridge for the hunter who will hold his shot until he can get close to a squirrel. High-velocity No. 6 shots are my preferred shotgun shells, because most of my squirrel hunting is along river-bottom land with high trees. So, I need a shell that can reach a squirrel and a pattern that can tumble him.

Click for Larger ViewSquirrel callers are also handy when you’re in an area with plenty of bushytails that stay well hidden. The bellows-type calls are easy to use and are effective in getting a squirrel to leave his cover to investigate the racket. Squirrel hunting is second only to rabbit hunting in popularity as a sport. Bushytails range over most of the country, and finding a place to hunt them usually isn’t difficult. These tactics have been time-tested and should provide more squirrels for the table and less reason for excuses back at the camphouse.

Tomorrow: Two More Successful Tactics for Taking Squirrels

Check back each day this week for more about "Better Tactics and Equipment Mean More Squirrels "

Day 1: Opening Morning of Squirrel Season and Where to Hunt
Day 2: Three Tactics for Taking More Squirrels – Slipping Roads, Paddling and Laying Out a Spoke Pattern
Day 3: Barking for Squirrels
Day 4: Important Extras to Improve Your Odds of Success for Taking Squirrels
Day 5: Two More Successful Tactics for Taking Squirrels

ALL CONTENT PROTECTED UNDER THE DIGITAL MILLENIUM COPYRIGHT ACT. Content theft, either printed or electronic is a federal offense.


Entry 634, Day 4