Squirrel hunting is a challenging sport that requires skill. Not only has squirrel hunting has been around for years, but it is also a great way to scout for deer in the weeks before deer season opens. Hunting squirrels can be effective for a skilled hunter and is fun once you know what you’re doing. In this article, I will talk about some tips you can use in the squirrel woods, the gear I like to use, and some stories of my squirrel hunting experiences.
Things You Should Know Before Hunting
When going out to the woods to begin a squirrel hunt, you have to make sure you enter with a stealthy approach or all the squirrels in the area will scatter for their nearest den or nest. I had to learn this the hard way as do many beginning hunters. Many times I would crash into the woods eager to set up or begin my stalk and not see a single squirrel the whole day because I was too loud.
Along with entering the woods with stealth and being sneaky the whole time you are there, it is a necessity to have good camouflage on. Squirrels have excellent vision and without camouflage you will stick out like a sore thumb.
I prefer to use a lightweight Ghillie suit when hunting tree rats because you can slip it over your ordinary clothes and it doesn’t fry you when you’re hunting in early September and October when the weather is still nice and hot. It breaks up your outline perfectly and is something I recommend you use when hunting.
You also will need to cover up your hands and face as they are almost constantly moving and without camouflage a squirrel will pick this up immediately. Since I started wearing a camo mask and gloves, I found that the squirrels don’t pay as much attention to me simply because I blend in with my surroundings.
Using Squirrel Calls
Last squirrel season, I was out hunting and hadn’t been seeing much activity so I used the fox squirrel’s bark. Within a minute or so, I got a hoarse reply from a nice-sized male fox squirrel. Fortunately, I was able to stalk into position and squeeze off a shot that nailed him in the heart and dropped him dead. Without the call I would have one less squirrel in my game bag. If you aren’t having much success in the woods, you should try a squirrel call. There are many other tips that I have not gone over but here are some very important ones that will increase your success when going out to the squirrel woods.
The Best Weapon
I use a lot of gear when hunting bushy tails but I will tell you some of my favorite guns, ammo, scopes, binoculars, etc. that will get the job done. Many squirrel hunters prefer to use either a 22. long rifle or a shotgun on squirrels. I have used both effectively but after I became a more experienced hunter I decided I would start using high powered air rifles to go after bushy tails.
Recommended Air Rifle
This is like bow hunting is to gun hunting when you are hunting big game because you have to be stealthier since your range is limited and you have to be accurate unlike a shotgun where you aim, shoot and a whole cloud of BBs comes out. Some hunters scoff at air rifles but they can’t argue with the results. With some practice, it is rewarding to hunt with an air gun.
One of my favorite air rifles to hunt with is the Gamo Whisper Silent; I am fond of its power, accuracy, and the attached silencer which dampens the sound of the shot and doesn’t alert nearly as many squirrels as the loud crack of a 22. does.
The range on this air rifle is also surprising as I learned last hunting season. I had slipped into my spot and had been waiting for about 20 minutes when a gray squirrel bounded out from behind a tree on the other side of the creek. I raised the air rifle and aimed my scope a little high. My first shot dropped him dead and after I had stepped off the distance between him and me a couple times, it proved to be an amazing 105 yard shot!
There are many other air rifles that are more expensive and better than the Gamo Whisper Silent, but this is a great budget rifle and it proves that air guns can definitely do the job when it comes to hunting squirrels.
When I am hunting with air rifles, I like to use Crosman premier hollow points on bushy tails. This pellet has very good knockdown power and is accurate even out to long ranges.
When it comes to scopes, everyone who hunts with any rifle, whether it be a 22. or an air rifle, should use a scope on squirrels. Without a scope it is difficult to pick out squirrels peeking at you from high in a tree or playing around in the distance. I prefer to use a Centerpoint scope on my air rifle because of its good quality, zoom, awesome features, and colored mil-dots.
Also, in my gear bag are binoculars which help me spot squirrels that could be hidden to the naked eye. Two other essential tools are a rangefinder which tells me the exact range of the shot so I can correct for it, and a good skinning knife to gut the squirrels after I bag them.
Squirrel hunting is fun and a great thing to do on a lazy afternoon or a day off. Also it is a great way for beginners to learn the art of hunting so they can get ready for deer and other big game. Hopefully these tips, tools and techniques will help you to be a successful squirrel hunter. Happy hunting!