Like many of my generation I cut my teeth in the outdoors hunting squirrels along creeks and pastures. I will always remember my first successful hunt, sitting under a large cedar tree near an old abandoned farm house, motionless, imagining the family that used to call this place home, daydreaming of children playing under the tree, of chickens scratching for food and fields of cotton, corn and vegetables where giant trees now stand.
I remember the scurrying of the squirrel in the leaves and searching desperately for his movement. He appeared on the siding of the old home, 25 yards away. Cocking the hammer on the Western Auto 16-gauge single-barrel shotgun, I slowly raised the gun to my shoulder, placed the bead on his body and began my life as a hunter.
My first 10 years as a hunter, from age 14, I filled my days chasing squirrels. My only guns were the 16-gauge shotgun and a .22 rifle from Sears & Roebuck; I didn’t have many options for a kid growing up with a dad who didn’t share my passion. But it was in those squirrel woods where I garnered a love for the outdoors. I developed a system for stalking, a bent for patience and an eye for game.
Squirrel hunting is still the second most-popular form of small-game hunting as millions of Americans take to the woods annually in pursuit of bushytails. When it comes to hunting squirrels, three tried and true methods stand out; all have their place and can be successful. All of which have their place and their ability to be successful.
First is stand hunting, which is really a misnomer, because you’re really simply slipping into the woods, sitting by a tree in a likely location and allowing squirrels to reveal themselves. It may take a minute or two, or maybe 15, but any squirrels in the area that were spooked by your arrival will soon enough forget the danger and start scurrying about. Small rimfire rifles are