John's Journal...

Boating for Squirrels

Day 2: Equipment and Boat Position to Hunt Squirrels

Editor’s Note: Boat hunting for squirrels is hunting the crowds never find. It’s quiet, productive, and more fun than regular hunting ever can be. Many states have a small-game season during February. One of my favorite ways to hunt squirrels is by water.

Click for Larger ViewMy old Remington 553 bolt-action Sporter is a very-accurate rifle for bagging bushytails. I like the bolt action, because it makes me hold my shot until my aim is perfect, rather than my taking a quick shot and depending on additional fire power from my automatic, which in my case often results in a miss. Click for Larger ViewAlthough the standard squirrel-hunting scope is a 4X power, I prefer a 2-7X big-game scope that gives me a wide field of view and greater magnification than do the conventional 4X scopes designed especially for .22’s. I like longrifle, solid-nose bullets, which group tighter in my particular gun. And, the solid-nose bullet destroys far-less meat than the hollow point. I also carry a dip net. Sometimes the bushytail will fall into the water after it’s been shot. The dip net makes retrieving it much easier.

Boat position is the key, and the big problem in .22’ing bushytails by canoe is shooting from an off-balance position. Many times the squirrel will move just a little to the right or the left of a tree, so that the hunter has to lean-out over the gunwales to try and aim. Because of this awkward shooting position, the hunter frequently will miss the squirrel or fall-in and get wet, if he leans-out even a little too far. The problem always has been my nemesis when hunting squirrels from a canoe. Click for Larger ViewHowever, through trial and error, I believe I’ve found a solution to the situation. Once the hunter spots the squirrel, the next most-important ingredient to bagging that squirrel is to place the canoe in the proper position to shoot. Usually you can point the bow of the boat at the squirrel, which is the best shooting position I’ve found. Then if the animal moves to the right or the left, you still can swing 15 to 30 degrees off-center and hold your rifle fairly stable. Click for Larger ViewMost hunters fail in bagging bushytails by boat, because they’re so concerned about taking their shots that they overlook first putting the boat in the proper position to take the shot. If there’s a sloping bank or shallow water close-by so that you can paddle the stern onto the shore or into the shallows, this action also will add much stability to your shooting platform (the canoe). One of my favorite places to park my canoe when hunting squirrels is in the backs of sloughs. With the bow planted firmly on the bank, I can sit in the stern, have a stable shooting platform and ambush bushytails on both banks.

Tomorrow: Strategies for Taking Squirrels


Check back each day this week for more about "Boating for Squirrels "

Day 1: Choosing the Right Boat for Hunting Squirrels
Day 2: Equipment and Boat Position to Hunt Squirrels
Day 3: Strategies for Taking Squirrels
Day 4: Using Binoculars, Riflescopes and Calls for Squirrels
Day 5: Screaming to Squirrels

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Entry 651, Day 2