Your alarm goes off and you stretch as you get out of bed. You start a morning pot of coffee and get your camouflage out of the closet because you’re going squirrel hunting today. You are excited to get back into the woods. As you open the front door…RAIN! (Insert curse words here)
Does Rain Keep You Indoors?
Rain can ruin many types of hunting plans, including the plans of the squirrel hunter but does rain have to always keep you indoors? How do squirrels naturally react to rain? These are some of the questions that we are going to try to answer.
Let me begin by saying that I searched and searched for some scientific articles that could support the actions of squirrels during the rain but could not find anything. This means that this information provided here will be 100% opinion and personal experience.
Let’s go Squirrel Hunting
So, if you wake up to a rainy morning, should you go squirrel hunting? I find it hard to EVER have an excuse not to get into the woods; even a bad day hunting is better than a good day at work.
With that said, If you wake up to a downpour…stay home or try to wait it out. I’ve had too many experiences where heavy rains have made hunting almost impossible and in the end, I return home with only a squirrel of two and completely drenched. Often times you may be better off staying at home doing something else.
How To hunt
Now, let me expand on this just a little bit. If the weather is expected to get a little better, if the rain begins to lighten up or if there are no heavy winds (or lightening) I would personally go ahead and go. Take a camo colored poncho or some Gortex and go for it!
There is no sure-fire way to be certain if a weather forecast will come true or not. They say rain, we get the sun…it’s a guessing game, but if the weather seems like it may improve enough to be tolerable in the woods don’t pass up on the chance to go. But before you decide to brave the rain and mud, here are some things to consider if you have never been hunting in the rain.
Things to Consider
The most important thing to consider is that heavy rain takes away one of your most valuable hunting tools…your sense of hearing. Listening to squirrel activity is of paramount importance and when that tool is reduced or taken from you due to heavy rains or winds, you are at a disadvantage that can be difficult, if not impossible to overcome.
Often time wind accompanies rain so you have rain drops hitting leaves all around you and producing noise that masks the sounds of any squirrels nearby. The winds can also move the tree tops and reduce your ability to see a squirrel moving along above.
Plus, it’s hard on the mechanical aspects of your firearm. If you go, remember to clean and lubricate your firearms when you get home. Don’t just stick it in the closet and forget about it, this will promote rust and could eventually ruin your firearm.
After hearing all of that, why would I still say go out and hunt? Well, with any other situation, it isn’t all bad. Let’s look at some of the advantages you may get from hunting in a light rain (or if you’re lucky enough that it stops).
During a light rain or drizzle (without high winds) you can still expect to see squirrels. They are wild animals after all and the rain isn’t abnormal to them so if it doesn’t make them too uncomfortable, they’ll often come out of their dens. My personal experience is that I often see more Red squirrels when it’s raining than any other. I’m not sure if there is any reason for that or not, just my personal experience. Another personal experience that may or may not hold true for everyone is that in an hour or two before or after a rainfall, squirrels seems to sense it coming and can go into hyper drive.
Another thing that I’ve noticed is that most hunters will stay home, freeing up more woods with less competition for you. This can be a great advantage for you. Less spooked squirrels, less gunfire in the distance, less overlap between hunting grounds, these are all good reasons to give it a shot.
You also have to consider that rain softens the ground and especially the leaves that are on it making your trek through the woods quieter. You may find that you can get close enough to throw a rock and hit a squirrel if you sneak up on a squirrel after a good rain.
One last advantage of squirrel hunting after or during a light rain (this does not apply to heavy rain or if it’s windy) is that when a nearby squirrel move, they shake the branches and then all of the raindrops that have gathered on it FALL at the same time making it obvious where a squirrel is active. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I was regretting the fact that I was in the woods when the rain rolled it, but after sticking it out and the rain stopped, I found a squirrel after squirrel for these reasons.
Whether or not you go squirrel hunting in, or around, the rain is a personal choice. You can do it, and be successful, but the question is do you want to brave the elements?
Watch this video for Squirrel hunting in the rain