Over the past few decades squirrel hunting has become a lost art. What was once a staple meal for people living in rural areas, squirrel hunting has been reduced to a hobby.
When I was around six years old and my brother was around five, our dad started taking us squirrel hunting. We would leave the hunting camp, ease across a shallow sandy bottom creak and work our way through old growth timber.
Dad would sometimes fuss at my brother and I if we made too much noise. Walk gently, slowly, and look around. I learned that squirrel hunting is an art of observation and patience.
Time of Year
Depending on the time of year defines whether squirrels will be on the ground or in the tree tops.
Early in the year when pine cones are closed and acorns are in the trees, squirrels will be running limb to limb looking for food.
Later in the year as pine cones open and acorns fall, squirrels will be on the ground.
On the ground they are a little more difficult to spot than running through the tree limbs.
Squirrels do not like wind. When the trees are swaying from heavy winds, they will be in a tree hollow or maybe in a nest.
High winds makes it difficult for them to jump from limb to limb. When the trees are swaying, squirrels do not move much.
Signs of Squirrel Activity
Just because an area has pine and oak trees does not mean there are going to be squirrels.
Look around the base of pine trees. What do the pine cones on the ground look like? Have the pine cones been torn open to get to the seeds inside? Are the pine cones whole, or have they opened and fallen?
Look for half eaten acorns. Squirrels are wasteful animals. They will eat half an acorn and throw it on the ground.
Are there small pieces of oak branches on the ground? These may be around 4-12 inches long or so. The branch will look like it has been bitten off the main branch. Squirrels collect small limbs to build nests. Small pieces of branches on the ground are from Squirrels building nests in the area.
Squirrel Hunting Gear
Stuff I usually take hunting:
Waterproof boots that are well-insulated.
Good pants for getting through stickers and underbrush.
Firearm: Shotgun or 22 rifle. My personal preference is either a Mossberg 500, Remington 870, Ruger 10/22, or a Marlin model 60.
- Shotgun – #4 shot.
- 22 rifle – CCI stingers or Federal with copper bullets.
Good sharp pocket knife.
Patience, lots and lots of patience.
Squirrel Hunting is a Lost Art
With so many people leaving rural areas, what used to be a family tradition is now a forgotten art, which is a shame.
There is so much more to squirrel hunting than just killing squirrels. This type of hunting brings the hunter close to nature. Rather than sitting in a deer stand and looking at a feeder, you are walking around or sitting and watching nature.
This is a wonderful way to get kids involved in hunting without the boredom of sitting for long periods of time.