John's Journal...


Tree Standing

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.

Most of us don't have too much trouble taking squirrels in the early part of the year when the animals eat acorns on the ground or cut nuts up in the leafy hickory nut trees. However, hunting squirrels becomes tough later on in the year when the bushytails rarely range far from their den trees. You'll have a difficult time stalking then because the squirrels can spot you from about as far away as you can see them. Here's a different way to bag bushytails.

A close friend of mine, Dr. Bob Sheppard of Carrollton, Alabama, a longtime, avid squirrel hunter, learned through observation that when a squirrel came out of its hole or nest, it looked for danger on the forest floor and not up in a tree. Sheppard decided to hunt from a tree stand. Then the squirrels in the other trees probably wouldn’t see him. Once he found an area with a high squirrel concentration, he used his rifle with its 3-9X scope. Although Sheppard had his rifle sighted in at 50 yards, he knew he could shoot well up to 80 yards. In a morning of hunting, Sheppard could sit in his tree stand 12 to 15 feet in the air and bag a limit of bushytails before 10:00 a.m. Sheppard explains, "These squirrels never know what hits them. When I shoot a squirrel, the other squirrels in the area will look all around but can't decide from where the sound has come. Then the squirrels will return to the ground and feed again. All I have to do is mark the spot where I've taken each squirrel. When I'm finished hunting, I come down the tree, collect my squirrels, go home and clean them for supper."

For the rifleman, squirrel hunting offers an exciting challenge, an opportunity to hunt a long season in most states, a chance to fine tune his shooting skills and a delicious treat, which makes the rewards of a good shot last even longer. When you become weary of sitting on a cold deer stand and seeing nothing, you have sore and achy muscles from chasing elk up and down mountains, or your feet need to dry out after wading wetlands for waterfowl, take up the challenge of hunting bushytails with the little rifles that bark with deadly accuracy.


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 5