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Whether you like the thrill of squirrel hunting or really like the tasty meat, the best squirrel hunting tips will help you take down more squirrels. Squirrel hunting tests not only your shooting skills but also your patience, hearing skills, and many others. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced squirrel hunter, these hunting tips will make you a better squirrel hunter.
Best Squirrel Hunting Tips
1. No Hurry To Retrieve
After choosing a good spot to wait for squirrels to show up, you should not hurry to retrieve the first two or three you take down. Mark the spot where they went down and continue to sit tight. Watch for other squirrels to show up.
2. The Restless Hand
If you are in an area noted for lots of squirrel activities, but you neither hear nor see any squirrels, put your hand in the litter and stir the leaves at random intervals, repeating it in a broken pattern. The sound of your hand in the leaves mimics squirrel feeding. It just might get others to start feeding.
3. “Trunk-hugger” Squirrel
When you see a squirrel hugging the tree trunk high in the tree and not moving, it is usually facing up the tree. When you hug the tree yourself, you can give the squirrel the impression that the coast is clear. This will convince it and it will make a move, allowing you to take a shot.
4. Squirrel Hunting By Boat
Hunting squirrels by boat, to say the least, is challenging. They like to feed along creek banks and be in trees above a river. However, squirrels are aware of the danger when they are at the edge of rivers and creeks.
To successfully hunt squirrels at the creek’s edge, you will have to do a good job of camouflaging your boat to keep it conceal as much as possible.
5. Trophy Squirrel
The big, dark fox squirrel is not as palatable on the table as the smaller and more-plentiful gray squirrel.
6. Be Aware of the Sun’s Position
Always have the sun at your back which makes it difficult for the squirrel to spot you. When you sit or stand against a tree, keep the sun behind your shoulders. This will make it easier to place an accurate shot without the sun in your eyes. You can learn how to hunt from a treestand from this article.
7. Deep-winter Squirrel Hunting
When you are hunting squirrels in deep winter, you should always be scanning the trees far in the distance. You will spot your target at a much longer distance in the winter. Once spotted, move quietly and get in position to take a shot. Using a scoped .22 rifle in the deep winter for squirrels is the choice firearm.
Look for food sources like fields of corn, groves of oaks, hickories, walnuts, pecans, and other foods. With so many brands and models of riflescopes on the market today, we reviewed the best hunting riflescopes to help you find the right one for your hunting adventures.
8. The Weapon of Choice
The shotgun is arguably the best firearm for beginners to hunt squirrels. With the large spread of the shell, you will have a better chance of hitting your target. You benefit from greater accuracy with a shorter barrel and .410 shells are ideal.
Moreover, a shotgun is good for safety in a semi-populated area as the shot is less lethal over a long distance. However, it produces noise after the shot which may spook other nearby squirrels. Experienced squirrel hunters use the .22 rifle as it is more accurate than a shotgun and delivers precision kill shots. The squirrel can also be hunted using a bow and an arrow. You can read our review of the best hunting crossbows to choose the right one if you use crossbows to hunt.
9. Remain Still
Staying still in a tree stand, just like in deer hunting or in a duck blind, will reward you handsomely. Some hunters have a hard time remaining still. We reviewed the best climbing treestands and you can access that review from this link. Additionally, you can improve your deer hunting with the article on the best whitetail deer hunting tips.
10. Trees Near the Water
One of the best places to hunt squirrels is in trees near a water source. These trees might have the largest fruits and nuts. Keep your eyes open for squirrel signs like broken acorns, nuts, and bark scattered on the ground underneath the trees. Knee boots or hip waders are great to have if you hunt squirrels near a water source. If you are also in need of hunting boots, we reviewed the best hunting boots on the market today to help you choose the right one.
11. Hide-and-Seek Game
When the squirrel is on the opposite side of a tree and keeps going around and around when you circle, to get a shot at it, you should throw something noisy to its side. This might move him to your side and give you the chance to take a shot.
12. Be The Early Bird
Squirrels are most active at dawn and dusk. For the best chance of a successful squirrel hunt, go early.
13. Good Squirrel Dog
A good squirrel dog hunts close to the gun and has its nose, eyes, and ears to find squirrels. You can train a squirrel dog puppy to let it hunt with an accomplished squirrel dog. In this article, on how to train your hunting dog, we discuss the steps and strategies to implement when training your dog.
14. Stay Put For A While
When squirrel hunting and you see signs that they are in the area, it is always a good idea to stay longer than you want to. It is possible that you may have spooked them when you came in, therefore you will need to stay a little longer for them to be comfortable that the danger is no longer present for them to come back. Staying put for a minimum of 45 minutes should be the yardstick.
15. Be A Good Listener
If the trees are too thick to see the squirrels, listen carefully for their activities like cutting and opening nuts and shells dropping to the floor. You might get a chance to take down one that has revealed his position with his activities.
16. Move Slowly
Learn to slow your pace down when hunting squirrels. Naturally, we move fast and it takes effort to learn to really slow down when squirrel hunting. Learn to take a few, slow steps, then pause, lean against a tree, and stand still for 10 minutes. Study the trees above you and look over the ground in front of you.
17. Fifty Cents Squirrel Calls
An easy and effective way to get a squirrel to give away its location is to strike two quarters together, edge to edge. if you do this right, it will sound like a squirrel barking to get another squirrel to bark back.
18. Fox Squirrels In Midwinter
When the temperature has dropped and there is snow on the ground, fox squirrels won’t come out early morning. They will start to come out by ten o’clock. Fox squirrels will go after corn that is nearby instead of acorns and other nuts in midwinter.
19. White & Red Oak Acorns
When the crop of acorns on the white and red oak trees is running low, you will find squirrels in areas where some oak trees still have a good quantity of acorns.
20. Optics Make It Better
You can bag a lot of squirrels without using optics, but take along a pair of binoculars and a scoped rifle, it will be more fun when you hunt squirrels. If you are in need of hunting binoculars, we reviewed the best hunting binoculars and you can read it from this link.
21. Pecan Trees
Pecan trees attract squirrels. You will find squirrels in the forested edges of the groves. If you get the landowners’ permission to hunt the area, you will be rewarded.
22. Don’t Shoot The Nests
You may get the idea to shoot at squirrel nests that are high and out of your reach to get them out and moving. It is illegal and not a good idea. It could result in wounding or killing a squirrel that you could never retrieve.
23. Shooting Squirrels With Erasers
When you hunt squirrels with a recurve or longbow, you can prevent your arrows from sticking in tree limbs that are too high for retrieval by using a rubber pencil eraser in the place of a metal field point. The large, arrow-head-shaped kind is the one to buy at any art supply shop. You can read our review of the best recurve bows from this link if you are interested in recurve bows.
Types of Squirrels
1. Fox Squirrels
Fox squirrels, also known as the eastern fox squirrel or Bryant’s fox squirrel, are the largest species of tree squirrels in North America. Fox squirrels have very good vision and good senses of hearing and smell. They have sharp claws to help them climb. In most areas, the fox squirrel’s upper body is brown-grey to brown-yellow and has a rusty orange underbelly.
In the eastern regions, you can find more dark brown and black squirrels with white bands on the face and tail. Fox squirrels communicate with other fox squirrels by using scent marking. They can be found in open forest areas with little understory vegetation.
2. Eastern Gray Squirrels
Also commonly known as the gray squirrel, is a tree squirrel that is native to eastern North America. It features a bushy tail and gray fur. You can also find some with a brownish color. Its underbelly is usually white, unlike the fox squirrel which has a rusty orange color.
3. Abert Squirrels
Named after John James Abert, the Abert squirrel, also called the tassel-eared squirrel, is a tree squirrel found in the southern Rocky Mountains from the United States to the northern Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico. It has tufted ears, a gray color, a pale underbelly, and a rufous patch on the lower back. They eat seeds and cones, ponderosa pine, fungi, buds, bark, and carrion. They are found in mature ponderosa pine forests.
4. Pine Squirrels
Pine squirrels are small tree squirrels found in the northern and western United States, most of Canada, Alaska, and northwestern Mexico. These squirrels have bushy tails. Pine squirrels eat pinecones and seeds. These are some of the most vocal squirrels.
The Bottom Line
Squirrel hunting involves more skill than is obvious. Head shooting these bushy tails with all the game of evading predators brings out your best hunting and marksmanship skills.
The best squirrel hunting tips will help you take more of these tasty little ones for your dining table. If you hunt rabbits, then you can read the best rabbit hunting tips to improve your chances of taking more rabbits home.