Score more tree rats with these squirrel hunting tips
Squirrel season is going strong in the Carolinas, and hunters will continue to chase them for the next several weeks throughout both states. For some, it’s just something to pass the time now that deer season is over. For others, it’s a passion. Either way, hunters that follow a little advice will bag more bushytails.
These five tips will help.
Pretend you’re deer hunting
That means camouflage yourself just as well as you do when hunting deer. Many hunters complain of being covered up with squirrels when deer hunting. And some of these same hunters see nary a squirrel when actually pursuing the little critters.
The reason? They’re in full camo when hunting deer, but forgo facemarks, gloves, and in many cases, any camouflage at all when targeting squirrels. Camo up, and you’ll kill more squirrels.
Don’t face the sun — make the squirrels do that
Keeping the sun at your back means squirrels looking your way will have difficulty identifying you. The brightness of the sun is your friend. Squirrels hearing you may freeze as they look your way, but nicely lit by the sun, you’ll get the jump on them.
Setting your crosshairs or iron sights on a treed squirrel is much easier when the sun is not in your face.
Shoot ‘em with an airgun
That’s right! Many manufacturers make airguns specifically for squirrel hunting. They pack a huge punch and are more than capable of making humane kills with little sound. When you shoot a squirrel with a small-caliber rifle or even the smallest of shotguns, other squirrels will disappear immediately. And they’ll stay out of sight for 10 minutes or more.
Placing a high-powered, nearly-silent pellet in a squirrel’s head, however, will have nearby squirrels wondering why that squirrel slipped off the tree. They may pause a minute where they are, but getting out of sight won’t be their first thought. So you’ll have other targets right away.
Let the first dead squirrel lay
Once you kill one squirrel, resist the urge to immediately walk over to pick it up. Make a mental note of where it landed, then stay still until you shoot another squirrel or two before retrieving them all. Even if you shot that first squirrel with a fairly-silent airgun, your walking to it will alert others. Just stay as still as you can until you kill at least one more squirrel.
Crack some nuts (or snap two coins together)
A squirrel that senses danger will run to the opposite side of the tree they’re on. And they can stay put on that side well past the point of most hunters’ patience. Stand still when you notice one scurry around a tree, and wait a moment or two. Then put them at ease and raise their curiosity at the same time by cracking an acorn, pecan, or walnut against another.
That sound will almost always bring them back around to your side of the tree. They’ll be expecting to see another squirrel eating acorns. And they’ll want a piece of that action. This also works by snapping two quarters together, which simulates that nut-cracking sound.
Squirrel hunting provides a lot of fun, but there’s more to it than just tromping through the woods and expecting all the squirrels to offer you an easy shot. Try these tips next time you’re out there and you’ll kill plenty of them.
Have you been squirrel hunting lately? Click here to send us your photos and a summary of how you did it.
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