John's Journal...

How to Cash-in on the Squirrel Crop

Day 5: Important Ideas for Improving Your Squirrel-Hunting Odds

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.

Click for Larger ViewThe hunter who plans well will consistently take more squirrels per hour of hunting. Your choice of the proper equipment can definitely put the odds in your favor. Camouflage is critical to a successful hunt, but not all camouflage is effective in all locales. For the early season, use shades of green and black. During the late season your best bet may be brown. And then when the snow falls, white is preferred. A bright, shining face can signal a squirrel to flee. Since squirrel hunting is a looking-up sport, the hunter’s face often is what the bushytail sees. So, I do not shave the morning I plan to hunt. Beard stubble helps to hide your face, as does camo grease paint and a camo head net.

Click for Larger ViewThe 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 was gnawing on his ear – frightening the squirrel out of range. If you prefer not to use a head net, utilize a high-quality insect repellent. Shoes and boots are definitely a factor in successful hunting. I favor tennis shoes, while the weather is still warm and crepe-soled boots for cooler weather. Soft-style shoes allow the hunter to move quietly from tree to tree.

Click for Larger ViewAnd when you talk about guns for bushytails, you can really get a good discussion going. “There’s no sport to hunting squirrels with a shotgun,” avid riflemen scorn. “Yeah, but if you want meat for the pot, you won’t get it with a .22,” the shotgunners throw back. As for me, I prefer both weapons. I like a .22 bolt action, for early-season hunting. As the leaves start to fall, I want more fire power quicker so I go to an automatic. Then when the leaves are gone, I like my old full-choke .12 gauge.

There are two important qualities to look for in a gun if you plant 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 does not need a rifle or scope that is less than accurate to help him miss. I favor .22 long rifles. I like the solid bullet better than the hollow point, as I feel it damages less meat. Click for Larger ViewThe .22 short is also an excellent cartridge for the hunter who will hold his shot, until he can get close to his squirrel. High velocity No. 6’s are my preferred shotgun shells, because most of my squirrel hunting is along river-bottom lands with high trees. I need a shell that can reach a squirrel and a pattern that can tumble him. Squirrel callers are also handy when you are 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 is usually not difficult. These tactics and tips have been time-tested and should provide more squirrels for the table and less reason for excuses back at the camp house.

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 5