John's Journal...



EDITOR’S NOTE: I've learned you can take more squirrels by talking and walking to bushytails rather than by sitting and waiting on them. Instead of moving into an area where I've seen cut nuts and uneaten nuts and sitting and waiting on one or possibly two squirrels to appear, I aggressively walk, hunt, call and cover a lot of ground to find large groups of squirrels. Squirrels often travel in bands with as few as five to as many as 20 squirrels moving and feeding together. Hunting areas with larger numbers of squirrels allows me to take more bushytails in a shorter time. I call to the squirrels, listen for them to call back and then stalk in closer before I start calling again. Squirrel calling can add a new dimension to your bushytail experience and actually increase your odds of finding and taking more squirrels. The many new tactics that have Click to enlargebeen developed and the new calls on the market have made the sport of calling squirrels much more fun, exciting and productive than ever before.

Squirrels make two different types of screams – a contented call and a distress call. The contented scream often will be heard at the end of a bark or after excited playing. Squirrels may give this call just at dusk and dawn. A contented scream is slow and very quiet - much like the meowing of a satisfied cat. The distress scream is the cry a squirrel makes when it is caught by a predator. Just like some people who will go out of their way to see a wreck or look out of their windows to view a shooting, some squirrels will move from their hiding spots when they hear a distress call.

Click to enlargeShannon Talkington, the inventor of the Mr. Squirrel call produced now by Haydel Game Calls, taught me the value of using the scream call when he explained, “When a hawk or owl catches a young squirrel in its talons, the bushytail screams for its life. The scream is loud at first followed by several smaller screams with less volume. At the same time the squirrel is screaming, the bird is beating its wings against the ground to maintain its balance as it kills the squirrel. When the other squirrels in the area hear this life-and-death struggle, they often will run out of their holes and nests, begin to scream and bark.

“I learned this tactic by watching a hawk kill a squirrel and listening to how the squirrels in that section of the woods reacted to what was happening. After the hawk flew away, I went to the place where I had heard the squirrels and bagged a limit.” With this knowledge, Talkington returned home and began to build a whistle Click to enlargeout of bottle caps to try and imitate the screams of a dying squirrel. Finally, he refined the call that today is known as Mister Squirrel. To make bushytails bark, blow a call like a dying squirrel screaming and whip the ground with a leafy limb. The limb resembles the sound of the hark’s wings, and the call sounds like the dying squirrel. Repeat the call twice, and listen. If you don’t hear any squirrels barking, move 100 yards, and call again. This call is most productive after 9:00 a.m. when the squirrels already have fed and are lying up on limbs or inside of hollow trees. I have used the distress screams of Mister Squirrel to pull bushytails out of hiding and into the sights of my rifle scope.


Check back each day this week for more about “HOW TO HUNT SQUIRRELS AGGRESSIVELY”

Day 1: Calling All Bushytails
Day 2: Barking
Day 3: Screaming
Day 4: Cutting
Day 5: Rustling Leaves to Draw Squirrels



Entry 320, Day 3