What Are The Tips For Successful Squirrel Hunting?

Squirrel hunting bothers me every deer season, walking over the leaves as though they’re trying to imitate a huge buck prowling through the woods. Every winter after I’ve punched my tag, I swear to return and get my revenge on the bushy-tailed rascals. It’s also beneficial that they are delicious.

Whatever your reason for going hunting, now is the time to get in there. Here’s how you can fill your freezer with more squirrels this season.

How To Hunt Squirrels Legally

squirrel hunting

Squirrels are not protected by federal law. Squirrel hunting is regulated at the state level, like most hunting regulations, which means you should contact your state’s park service for more information. The strictest regulation for squirrel hunting in New York is the red squirrel, which is not protected by law. However, before going out on your hunting trip, you may need to acquire a small game or furbearers license for certain species. 

Depending on the state, you may only be allowed to purchase a squirrel permit if you have a certain amount of acres, or if the property meets certain requirements. Many states and provinces allow squirrel hunting on public parkland. If you are hunting on private ground, though, you will need permission from the owner.

Tips For Squirrel Hunting

squirrel hunting

Find Food

White oak acorns are preferred by squirrels, although they will consume the seeds from a variety of other oaks. Black walnuts and Hickory nuts are two important foods. In other words, if you see a tree dropping nuts of any sort, you’ve probably stumbled upon squirrel territory. Sit and wait for nutshells on stumps and logs when you detect them.

What do you do if the mast crop doesn’t come through? Of course, you must hunt. Squirrels will consume a wide range of foods when acorns are in short supply, including tree buds, seeds, berries, and even mushrooms. That’s not necessarily a negative thing. They’ll have to cover greater distances and more frequently, making them easier to see and target.

Have The Right Tools

Binoculars are more essential than your weapon. Aside from your gun, no other item is more important than a pair of binoculars. They enable you to search the distant woodland floor for movement while also providing a close-up view of the trees. Squirrels are experts at hiding high in a tree’s fork or flattening themselves on a limb. Binoculars will reveal them where the naked eye can not.

A seat cushion on a turkey vest or predator harness can be just as helpful since they’ll make a lengthy sit more comfortable. If you have space, consider bringing one for your back as well.

Go Slower

Still-hunting may be a fantastic way to pass the time on a long sit, but it can also spook every creature in the woods. The majority of us hunt too rapidly. We walk and stop for a few minutes before resuming our journey. Many hunters treat it as if they’re on their way to church.

Instead, take a few careful and deliberated steps, lean against a tree, and stay quiet for 10 minutes. Look up at the trees around you. Scan the ground ahead of you. Although ten minutes isn’t long enough to settle the closest squirrels, those off in the distance will go back to moving through the vegetation, revealing their position.

A still-hunter spends considerably more time glassing and listening than he or she does moving. If that doesn’t work, call it a day, move to a new location, and try again.

Stay Longer

If squirrels are prevalent, the best thing to do is sit down and wait. Patience is a virtue. You may have startled many squirrels on your approach, but they will return if you give each location a complete 30 minutes. 45 minutes is even better. If you’re in an area with a lot of squirrel signs, you should start seeing them within 15 or 20 minutes, depending on a variety of circumstances such as weather, squirrel population density, and hunting pressure.

In other words, consider a squirrel hunt to be like a deer hunt. The longer you wait, the higher your chances of success are. If you hit something, move at least a few hundred yards and try again.

Go Early

Squirrels may appear to be scampering about from sunrise to sunset, stashing nuts for the season ahead. They are sometimes active, but more frequently than not, if the weather is nice they relax on a branch or snooze in their dens. For the greatest possibility of success, hunt in the woods when squirrels are most active at dawn and dusk.

Hunt Along With A Friend

A pair of hunters makes twice as much racket and movement as a single hunter, but hunting with a partner may improve your chances. You may observe two different directions, carry two distinct types of weapons, and travel greater distances.

This method is also effective against the craftiest squirrels. They are notorious for circling a tree as you walk around it, staying hidden with every stride you take. Simply park one hunter on one side of the tree while the other walks around it. That will force a squirrel to walk into your partner’s line of fire.

Choose Your Day

Above all, fish when the weather is good. A chilly, blustery day? Forget about it. Sure, you may get a squirrel when the wind is howling, but they will most likely stay hidden. Squirrels dislike the biting wind as much as you do. The continual motion of leaves and limbs makes finding predators all the more difficult. Squirrels are most energetic on calm days, whether it is sunny and clear or overcast and damp.

When To Hunt Squirrels

Squirrel hunting is most successful during the fall when they’re beginning to gather food for the winter. Squirrels are most active early in the day as they search for food and have break inactivity during the hottest part of the day. You may also encounter them searching for food throughout the morning until late afternoon. 

This is true, depending on the species. Gray squirrels, for example, begin gathering food before the sun rises. If you’re after fox squirrels, they’re most active between the second and fourth hours after sunrise.

Squirrels, like humans, prefer bright, sunny days. They will spend most of their time in the trees during clear, sunny weather. Wait for a little fog or a light drizzle if you want to capture a squirrel on the ground; they utilize the elements for the protection and stay near the tree’s base. 

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