John's Journal...

Better Tactics and Equipment Mean More Squirrels

Day 5: Two More Successful Tactics 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.

Double Barking:

Click for Larger ViewMany squirrel hunters know that you can use a bellows-type squirrel call to make the sound of a barking squirrel. Oftentimes squirrels will answer your bark. Then you can determine their location, go to that area, spot them in a tree and take them. However, a few years ago, a friend and I decided that if using a squirrel barker would make squirrels in one area bark, using two squirrel barkers would make twice as many squirrels bark. Also, we determined that if we moved through the woods while using the squirrel barker, we should be able to get twice as many squirrels to bark and fill our limit more quickly. So, my hunting partner got about 70-yards away from me and off to the side. He’d pat the top of the squirrel barker and bark and chatter like a squirrel. Then I’d answer him with my squirrel barker. We found that when we used this two-barker system, both hunters could locate more squirrels, more quickly. Squirrels naturally bark to each other. So, once a squirrel started barking, whichever hunter was closest to that squirrel would move-in and take the shot. Many times we’d both be stalking squirrels at the same time. If we failed to get the squirrels in the trees to bark back to us, we’d quietly slip about 25- to 50-yards away and begin to bark back and forth to each other. Using this method, we could cover more ground, more quickly and quietly than we could alone, and we could get twice as many squirrels to bark to us than we could when we hunted alone.

The Magic of the Mr. Squirrel Whistle:

Click for Larger View“Mr. Phillips, if I sent you a Mr. Squirrel Whistle, would you try it and let me know what you think?” asked Shannon Talkington, inventor of the Mr. Squirrel Whistle. I said, “Yes, I would.” Talkington had promised that if I used the young squirrel-in-distress caller, I’d be able to spot and take more squirrels. So, I took the Mr. Squirrel Whistle, made today by Haydel Game Calls, on two-different hunts and blew it in areas where I knew squirrels were concentrated. But nothing happened. A few-weeks later, Talkington called again. He asked, “Did you get the Mr. Squirrel Whistle that I sent?” I replied, “Yes, I did.” “Well, what did you think of it?” Talkington asked with excitement in his voice. I told him, “It didn’t work.” Then Talkington asked the most-important question. “Did you read the instructions on the back of the package?” I paused and finally said, “No, I didn’t.” “Mr. Phillips, if I come to where you live, go-out squirrel hunting with you and prove that the Mr. Squirrel Whistle will help you take more squirrels, would you believe in it and write about it?” I said, “Absolutely.”

Click for Larger ViewSo, the hunt was set-up, and Talkington hunted with me and my son John. As we walked into the woods to begin our hunt, Talkington broke a leafy limb off a sweetgum tree. “What are you going to do with that limb?” I asked. Talkington smiled, and said, “Now I know that you didn’t read the instructions, because then you’d know that a leafy limb is critical to making squirrels talk after you blow the Mr. Squirrel Whistle. The sound we’re trying to imitate is the sound that a young squirrel makes when a hawk or an owl swoops-down and catches it on the ground. When the hawk or the owl grabs a squirrel in its talons, it squeezes the squirrel to kill it. At the same time, the young squirrel’s rolling and flopping trying to escape. The only way the hawk or the owl can maintain its balance on top of the squirrel until the squirrel finally gives-up is to beat his wings against the ground. Therefore, when you use a leafy limb and beat it against the leaves on the forest floor, you’re making the sound that one of these predators makes when it catches a young squirrel. At the same time that you’re whipping the ground with that leafy limb, blow the squirrel call, which is a high-pitched, breathy-type scream that sounds like a young squirrel in distress. Click for Larger ViewStart with a high, fast-pitched scream, and then decrease the volume of the sound as you slow-down beating the ground with the limb. This paints a picture in other squirrels’ minds of a predator catching a young squirrel and causes the squirrels in the trees to come-out of their hiding places and begin to bark. This often will cause squirrels to come to you.”

When Talkington worked his magic, I was amazed at how effective that little squirrel whistle was. Not only did we limit-out on gray squirrels, but we even lured-in red fox squirrels with this call. We heard a deep, gravelly-type barking, and when we reached the location from which this barking was coming, we saw a red fox squirrel about 10-feet off the ground. We started walking past gray squirrels to find the barking fox squirrels. I found the Mr. Squirrel Whistle and many other brands of squirrel-in-distress-type calls to be the most-deadly calls for finding and 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

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Entry 634, Day 5