Where should I scout?
Truly if you think about it, the question of “Where do I scout?” is quite funny because where don’t you see squirrels on the planet of ours? The question really becomes, “Which places am I allowed to hunt?” rather than the former. So in this case, just find a local spot where the property owner is okay with you and your hunting partners scouting and stalking the area for your hunt. OK, Let’s learn how to squirrel hunt!
When should I hunt?
Squirrel hunting can occur when there’s snow on the ground or when the sun is still blazing in the sky. From September to February is when the most squirrels are shot, so it really seems as though we can experience all weathers while hunting squirrels.
Throughout all the seasons, though, really pay attention to the feeding grounds that the squirrels are partaking in. As the weather gets colder, these squirrels will change their feeding patterns little by little depending on which type of food is readily available.
For example, in early fall there are nuts everywhere, especially on the trees. So where do you think these squirrels will be scurrying? You got it, right above you. Try to pay attention to the sounds that the squirrels make above you and note where there is falling leaves or branches. The squirrels are probably scurrying above your head. For late fall start of winter, the squirrels will switch their feeding habits to feast on crops, so perhaps the forest areas next to corn fields may be your best bet. By full blown winter time, use the same logic, but when there is snow on the ground you look for one thing. Foot tracks.
Most common types of squirrels
You’ll mostly see grey squirrels in the northeastern United States, and yes you guessed it, they are of grey color. But they aren’t all grey. This squirrel’s species consists of a variety of different colors depending on where they live and what type they are.
These squirrels are much smaller than the average squirrel, so it might be tough to land a shot on these types. Red squirrels have changing colors depending on the season. You’ll most likely see these squirrels as having grey fur in the winter while their fur changes to a red texture in the warmer seasons.
Ground squirrels are a vast squirrel species, and included is a very large number of subspecies. These squirrels love to burrow in the ground and feed on crops. You’ll see these little guys plundering your local corn fields in the late fall months.
Fox Squirrels are typically large. These little critters can measure up to over two feet! Fox squirrels can be dark grey and black, with a black head and white feet, or they can be a dark reddish color.
This squirrel is a large, moderately bushy-tailed ground squirrel found mostly on the ground, but don’t be surprised that they can climb trees as well as any squirrel.
How should we hunt?
Since squirrels are everywhere, but they are also quite sensitive animals, what way should we hunt these critters of the woods? Well folks, we are faced with two options.
The first thing we can do is sit in one place. This can be a good or bad option depending on how good you are at staying patient and quiet in one place for a long time. But here’s the thing; you don’t want to stay quiet and still all the time. What you’ll want to do is make some noise of 5-10 minute intervals intentionally shuffling around some leaves. This signals to the other squirrels in the area that another squirrel may be feeding. At this point they’ll come running
The second strategy is to stalk. This is the preferred method by many because quite frankly, sitting in one place is quite boring. What do we mean by stalk? Well really it is just slowly walking and surveying the area. We want to keep quiet when we stalk and always notice what is going on above our heads, because squirrels are quick little animals and we want to stay alert.
In the midst of the forest, squirrels can blend in so easily and it seems like they don’t even realize it. This being so, we have to be very cautious of how much noise we are making. We want to stalk the area very slowly and listen for the faintest signs that a squirrel is scurrying up above us. Whenever you are squirrel hunting, be aware of the many clues these furry creatures can give off.
Things to bring
- Hunting licenses- Don’t forget all your paperwork. Squirrels may be plentiful out there but whenever you are bringing a gun out into the wild you need those certs
- Boots- Especially in winter season, make sure your boots are up to par. Also you never know what type of terrain you’ll hit so always be prepared with good boots
- Shotgun- Here, we’ll use a shotgun for a large spread. If you don’t have the best aim, especially for small game, this is your go to. If you hit on a shotgun fire, the pellet will almost certainly either kill or weaken the squirrel to the point where it will be immobile.
- Air gun- Air rifles are your best bet for cheapness and if you have an accurate shot. This is a great gun to get for practice, because it is super cheap and ammunition is readily available in most places like Walmart.
- .22 Caliber rifle or handgun- This is the most convenient and common for squirrel hunting. If you have a good shot with a pistol, you’ll gun down many squirrels in your hunting career. These are quick and easy to operate out there on your squirrel hunts.
- Bow and Arrow- What is seeming like a lost skill nowadays, the bow and arrow is lethal because of its silence on the hunt. If you’re interested in hunting with bows, this could be a great choice.
- GPS Unit-You’ll want to bring your GPS. Stalking squirrels all day can lead you astray and you’ll never know where you’ll end up sometimes. Thus, track your travels with your GPS and don’t get lost. You can also make marks as to where the squirrels are plentiful in a certain area.
- Game Bag (for carrying squirrel)- You’ll need these for carrying your prey home. Make sure it’s big enough to fit the maximum game allowed in your state and county.
So time to hunt some squirrels! Every fall and winter all over the USA squirrel hunters are getting ready so now you can too. Just a quick word on safety: remember we are shooting up much of the time when squirrel hunting, so we need to be extra cautious when it comes to being aware of who and what is in front of us.
Once we are safe, and you know the basics of squirrel hunting, you’re good to go. Be sure to find a good mentor or partner to take with you on your squirrel hunts and that you are all on the same page. Enjoy!