John's Journal...

How to Cash-in on the Squirrel Crop

Day 3: Some Top Methods for Hunting Squirrels

Editor’s Note: Know how to change your squirrel-hunting luck. When you put more thought and better tactics into your squirrel hunting, you’ll end-up with more bushytails in your coat. Here’s how.

Slipping Roads:

Click for Larger ViewI am a road slipper. Give me an old logging road, a deer trail or a power line, and I can consistently take more squirrels by stalking. With a path through the woods, you usually can move quieter when trying to tramp through the forest floor. Often you can move quicker from one feeding area to another without creating a disturbance. Often roads will be fringed by bushes and brambles that mask movement, allowing you to move-in close to your prey. During my college days, I would often be in the woods before daylight, slip down an old road, take a mess of squirrels and be back in time for an 8:00 am class.

Paddling to Squirrels:

Click for Larger ViewAnother technique that lets the hunter cover ground quickly and quietly is floating for squirrels. A canoe or a flat-bottomed boat, a paddle and a shotgun are all the required equipment you need. Many hunters use a .22 for early season floating but prefer a shotgun for late season hunting for two reasons. When the leaves are off the trees, squirrels are more skittish. A hunter will have more running shots than still shots. And, when paddling quietly down a stream, you are likely to surprise a few ducks sitting in the backs of sloughs or just around a bend. Although my primary targets are squirrels, there is no point in passing up a plump quack.

Laying-Out a Spoke Pattern

Late season is also best for the still hunter. “I can find where squirrels are feeding and just go sit down and let them feed in to Click for Larger Viewshotgun range,” my late squirrel-hunting buddy Eddie Winks told me. Winks used a spoke tactic that was extremely productive for taking bushytails. Once he located a feeding place, he picked what he believed to be the trees where the most squirrels would likely be. His first or primary tree always would be located on the outermost perimeter of the feeding site. Winks first cleaned-out a spot for himself in the leaves where he could sit and move slightly from side to side for a shot. Next he chose several other trees in front of his primary tree. These trees would be out in the feeding grounds often from 20 to 30 yards from his base tree. “I try to have three or four secondary trees in a 180 degree arc from my first tree,” Winks explained.

Click for Larger ViewNext Winks cleared a path from his base tree to his secondary tree, so that he could move-down these paths noiselessly. All this activity took place a day before his hunt had ended. Then the woods could settle-down before Winks was ready to hunt. When Eddie returned to his hunting ground, he sat-down at the base of the first tree. “Usually I can take one or two squirrels at my primary tree,” Winks said. “When the woods get quiet again, I begin to watch the timber in front of my secondary trees. Once the squirrels start coming out again, I ease down my paths, using my secondary tree as a blind. When I’m behind the tree, I am close enough to the squirrels ahead of me to shoot. After taking a squirrel or two from a tree I will return to my base tree and watch for more squirrels to appear in front of one of the other trees with paths leading to them.”

Tomorrow: Barking for Squirrels


Check back each day this week for more about "How to Cash-in on the Squirrel Crop "

Day 1: Eight Squirrels in 3 Minutes
Day 2: Where to Hunt Squirrels
Day 3: Some Top Methods for Hunting Squirrels
Day 4: Barking for Squirrels
Day 5: Important Ideas for Improving Your Squirrel-Hunting Odds


Entry 598, Day 3