John's Journal...

Scrounge Hunt for All Kinds of Game


Click to enlargeEditor’s Note:You’ll find this time of the year in February just right for hunting doves, rabbits, squirrels, snipe, woodcock, quail and predators in many states. Change-of-pace hunting can help you remember why you’ve always enjoyed hunting.Click to enlarge

A good friend of mine, the late Eddie Winkes, Alabama, had a technique for bagging squirrels that produced a limit of bushytails almost every morning and each afternoon when he went squirrel hunting near his home.. “Squirrels in large numbers generally will move to an area with a lot of mast crop,” Winkes told me once. “I’ve often seen squirrels in six trees before in a specific region.” When Winkes found such a place, he’d take a rake into the woods with him and start to clear a 2- to 3-foot-wide path 60 yards from the tree where he planned to sit down to hunt to that tree. Next he’d rake clear a 3-foot-wide circle all the way around the base of the tree. Finally he’d make three to five trails about 2- to 3-feet wide each, spoking out in a hub design away from his base tree. The next morning, Winkes would find the path that led to his base tree, sit at the foot of his basClick to enlargee tree and wait for daylight. When the squirrels started moving, his little .22 bolt action with 4X scope would begin barking out bullets. “Because I’d cleared the leaves and sticks away from my base tree, I could slide all the way around the tree and get shots in any direction,” Winkes explained. “When the squirrels moved away from my base tree, I couldslip quietly down the path I had raked in any direction to stalk in close enough to get a shot at a squirrel.”

Water Slipping:Click to enlarge
You also can take bushytails by water slipping, especially during dry-weather conditions. Wear a pair of knee-high or thigh-high boots, and pinpoint small, shallow streams and creeks that run through hardwood bottoms. By wading in the creeks and watching the timber, you can move slowly and quietly into position to bag bushytails feeding near the creek and make less noise when you slip through the water. Whether you use a shotgun or a rifle, this tactic will produce squirrels for you.

Bushytails on the Run:
When you think of a squirrel hunter, you often envision someone moving quietly and slowly through the timber, stalking the tree rats. However, I’ve learned that the more ground you cover, the more squirrels you can take, especially if the area where you hunt has had a heavy dew in the morning or a light rain to wet the forest floor. I like to hunt down woods roads. I’ll walk at a fairly rapid pace, until I spot a concentration of squirrels feeding in a region. Next I’ll slow down my gait and stalk in close to take a shot. Then I can take more bushytails in a morning or an afternoon’s hunting than if I just slowly hunt individual squirrels.

Tomorrow: Bunnies by the Bushel and Bunny Drives

Check back each day this week for more about "Scrounge Hunt for All Kinds of Game"

Day 1: What Hunters Learn by Scrounge Hunting
Day 2: Why Scrounge Hunt
Day 3: Take Squirrels with Dogs
Day 4: Stalking
Day 5: Bunnies by the Bushel and Bunny Drives


Entry 445, Day 4