Squirrel hunting can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience. However, squirrel hunting isn’t without its challenges. We’ve put together a list of the best squirrel hunting tips to help you become more proficient at tracking, luring and hunting these fast and agile creatures.
Using the Proper Gun & Ammunition
There are various schools of thought when it comes to choosing a squirrel hunting gun. Many hunters prefer to use a 12 or 20-guage shotgun, especially if there are a lot of leaves and light tree cover between you and your target. If you use a shotgun, utilize a #6 shot high brass ammunition or something similar.
To avoid leaving the squirrel in tatters many hunters prefer to use a .22-caliber, bolt-action long rifle. This allows you to aim for the head or neck while leaving the rest of the body intact. You can also use a .22-.28 caliber sidearm. It’s also possible to hunt squirrels using just a pellet gun, but most hunters settle for either a shotgun or .22-caliber rifle.
The land near a pond or creek is your best bet for finding squirrels to hunt. The soil and moisture promotes the growth of trees that squirrels find most attractive. You’ll also find lots of squirrels at the edges of fields where there is a large amount of mast. If you’re in a snowy area, search out (or create) a snowless patch. A dry area surrounded by snow is like an oasis for squirrels.
Anywhere there are lots of mature nut-bearing trees you are likely to find lots of squirrels. However, it’s important to know that there are two types of oak trees: white and red. White oak acorns are preferable to squirrels and white oak trees produce acorns more regularly than do red oak trees. Squirrels are also drawn to beechnuts, butternuts, hickory nuts, pecans, and walnuts.
Squirrels love sunny, calm weather. It allows them to forage, and the dry weather also allows them to hear predators coming. If you hunt in sunny weather try to remain stationary as much as possible to avoid altering the squirrels to your presence.
If the ground is wet and/or if there is a mild drizzle, things are more in the hunter’s favor. Some squirrels, especially bushytails, don’t mind a little rain and they can often be found scurrying about looking for food during or after light showers. The moisture in the air and on the ground makes it easier for hunters to stalk squirrels.
Conditions that drive squirrels into their nests include high winds, bad storms, extreme cold and snow. If such conditions exist you might be better off staying at home or looking for something else to hunt.
As a general rule, using bait and then waiting to pick squirrels off as they enjoy the unexpected treat is considered somewhat unsportsmanlike. If you need to bait squirrels for population control or if you suspect that they are carrying diseases, you can use corn or any type of nut (preferably straight off the tree).
However, in other situations it might be better to set up near a nut tree or use bait piles simply to attract squirrels to the general area. It won’t take long for the squirrels to realize you’ve set a trap if each squirrel that visits the bait pile immediately gets shot.
Some hunters have reported more success when they use “chatter” or “chirp” squirrel calls. You can buy these calls online or you can make your own. Some people even prefer to master the craft of making such calls with their own mouth.
One affordable squirrel hunting tip that we have found to work involves using two nickels, quarters, or half-dollars. You can rub the coins together or hold one coin flat and tap its surface with the rim of the other coin. This creates a very effective squirrel call.
Other hunters take a handful of pebbles or small stones with them to their blind or stand. Toss a stone into the air in the vicinity of a tree every few minutes. Squirrels could believe the stones are nuts falling from the tree and they will rush to the area.
As with all types of game hunting, patience is a must. Don’t be too anxious to pull the trigger or move from one spot to another. Trust in the process and know that if you’ve done your homework the squirrels will come. Squirrels can be erratic, finicky and paranoid so any unnecessary movement or noise will surely send them scurrying away.
If you follow the aforementioned best squirrel hunting tips, you’ll be sure to have a load of squirrel sausage or squirrel gravy in no time. Do you have any additional squirrel hunting tips that have worked for you? If so, we’d love to hear from you so we can test the tactics and then add them to our list. Happy hunting!