John's Journal...


Float-Trip Planning”

Editor’s Note: To squirrel hunt, one of my favorite hunting sports, effectively and accurately, I need a good rifle, a quality scope and also the best binoculars I can buy. I'll only find the rifle and the scope effective if I can see the squirrel. Spotting a bushytail lying on the limb at 60 yards will test even Superman's X-ray vision without binoculars and a riflescope. However, from 60 to 80 yards with these optics, I can distinguish the difference between a squirrel's tail swishing or a bird's wings flapping. I also can determine if a bump on a limb is a squirrel's head or a knot on the limb. I particularly enjoy lightweight binoculars that have superior light-gathering qualities, which many optics companies offer today. Using quality optics enables me to bag bushytails at long range.

If you plan a float trip for squirrels, first check the state’s game laws where you plan to hunt to familiarize yourself with them. You can use a motor on your boat or canoe when hunting squirrels, but you must pull the motor into the boat when hunting. Also you must have the permission of the landowners on either bank to shoot from the water. In many national forests and state lands, you can float and shoot bushytails without additional permission other than a WMA permit. But talk with the landowners and appropriate government officials before your trip.

On any outdoor adventure, I always try to expect the unexpected. Then I can deal better with any adversity. When float hunting for squirrels, let someone know where you will put in, where you will take out and at about what time you plan to arrive at your take-out point. Then someone will know when and where to search for you, if you don't return when you say you will. Never make a foolish decision. If a craft capsizes or you fall out of a boat, normally you can swim to shore. However, thigh-high waders, a hunting coat and insulated clothing make even a short swim complicated. Wear a life jacket, or have one within easy reach. You cannot substitute for safety on the water. I also believe in packing waterproof matches and a large piece of plastic in with my squirrel-hunting gear. Then if the craft capsizes, or if for some reason I have to spend the night on the riverbank due to a severe rain or a windstorm, I can enjoy a warm fire and some shelter from the elements.

Although you may begin your trip under blue skies, white-and-puffy clouds, singing birds and a harmonious world, by mid-day thunderclouds may build up, and rain may come down in sheets. Also during a flash flood, don't get on the water. Pull into shore, seek shelter, try and find dry wood, and build a fire with the waterproof matches you have on hand. Although bad weather rarely happens, you may get caught in these circumstances several times, as I have. Being well-prepared pays off. But usually you'll have fun experiencing squirrel hunting on a lazy river.

To learn more information about survival/emergency products, visit To learn about the laws governing squirrel hunting, go to



Check back each day this week for more about BUSHYTAILS - THE RIFLEMAN'S SPORT

Day 1 - The Right Gear Makes A Difference
Day 2 - Hill Topping & Bunch Hunting
Day 3 - Boat Hunting
Day 4 - Float-Trip Planning
Day 5 - Tree Standing



Entry 287, Day 4