View Full Version : Small game as practice.

November 29, 2002, 11:11 PM
I have read many articles and discussions suggesting hunting small game as practice. It helps build your skills and appreciation for big game. Most of the legal small game near me is either too small to bother with, too hard to find, or not good to eat. For example the squirrels (not that I would shoot them-I like them) are too small and too hard to clean to shoot. The rabbits are good to eat, but it is hard to find fields near me to hunt them (too hilly). The rest of the small game (excluding birds) like fox, possum, coyote, etc. are not good to eat.

I would like to do some small game hunting for practice, but I refuse to kill anything that I will not eat. For whatever reason, I am not interested in hunting birds. Does anyone have any suggestions? Have I assumed that some animals that are easy to find really are good to eat?


November 30, 2002, 01:33 AM
Well, if you thin out some of the pests (like fox, possum, coyote, etc) there would be more of the good to eat animals(bunnies).

November 30, 2002, 02:12 AM
I don't have a problem not eating what I shoot when it is for pest control. Sparrows and Starlings may not be in your recipe book but need to be controlled and make small agile targets.

November 30, 2002, 10:57 AM
Try paper targets, easy to clean and with the right amount of BBQ sauce there right tasty....;)


November 30, 2002, 02:24 PM
I would figure that Georgia squirrels are the same size as the Louisiana squirrels we used to hunt. Let me tell you, they are monsters compared to the scrawny mountain squirrels around these parts.

Using a scoped .22 on squirrels is some of the best practice you can get anywhere, especially if you try for head shots. I don't find that they are very hard to clean. I would rather gut and clean squirrels than rabbits.

And yes, we eat them. Squirrel and andouille sausage gumbo is great! Some people prefer sauce piquante or fried squirrel. Where's Southla1?

November 30, 2002, 04:23 PM
Well, if you thin out some of the pests (like fox, possum, coyote, etc) there would be more of the good to eat animals(bunnies). Is this proven to be true? If I bring down the population of pests, others will thrive? I know all about the carrying capacity of land, but I thought it was based highly on the space required for the animal, then food, water, shelter, etc. concerns.


The squirrels here are large, but not HUGE.


Keith Rogan
November 30, 2002, 04:56 PM
Why would you need a field to hunt rabbits?

Just start stalking the edges of brushy areas and you'll likely find all the rabbits you want. Rabbits tend to be found along "edge zones", like where brush meets forest cover. Actually, the same places where you'll find deer. Most small streams have brush along them and you can stalk along in the woods peering into the brush for rabbits. Just any place where heavy cover meets light cover will hold rabbits.
It's great practice and will really develop your observation and stalking skills. Trying to find a sitting rabbit and shoot it with a .22 before it bolts is really a challenge. If you can do this regularly, you'll be hell on wheels when deer season comes around again.

I'm going out this afternoon to do exactly that.

Al Thompson
November 30, 2002, 07:34 PM
Rabbits and most ground dwelling birds have suffered greatly due to fire ants. IIRC, turkeys are the only exception due to where they like to nest.

SN, there is indeed a dirct correlation between predator numbers and non-predator numbers. Several species are opportunistic feeders - hogs, possums, fox and racoons are in this group.

Frankly, if you can find a friend or co-worker to take the field dressed squirrels off your hands, this would be a win-win situation. Then again, if you clean Mr. Tree Rat quickly and get him chilled, they are good eating. Just takes a bit more preperation than other species. Think par-boiling here...

Art Eatman
December 1, 2002, 01:21 PM
A rabbit population rarely reaches the carrying capacity of the land. As a population grows, so does the predator population. At some point, the predators become a bit too numerous and the rabbit population declines--which leads to starved predators. It's cyclic.

Now, this is a way over-simplified small piece of a large picture, but it's an idea of "how it works".

So, you kill a few coyotes, foxes and bobcats. This results, generally, in a few more rabbits to be hunted by people. Quail, too, for that matter.

And feral cats are far worse for quail and rabbit populations than any "natural" predators. Hard on squirrels and songbirds, as well...


December 1, 2002, 01:38 PM
I hunt small game with my longbow. Want to talk about a challenge. Every once in a while I get to eat rabbit or squirrel.

I always figured it was good practice for big game by hunting small game. Keeps one more focused.


December 1, 2002, 03:55 PM
Yes, it is a proven fact that in an area highly populated by coyotes and foxes, there is a smaller population of squirrels and other small game.

I am not sure if there are any farms near you, but if there are, many farmers would love to have someone come out and eliminate their foxes and coyotes.

Coyotes will eat all of the small game, and as it gets harder to find small game they will turn to eating farms animals and others of the like...

December 2, 2002, 09:59 AM
Coyotes will eat all of the small game, and as it gets harder to find small game they will turn to eating farms animals and others of the like...

and when they run out of farms animals they start killing you're dogs, cats and stalking you kids.

squierrel nuts, get some small games hunting in this year season. The squierrel & rabbits makes for some of the best hunting times that I have ever had.

December 6, 2002, 08:46 PM
Squirrelnuts, just remember that for realistic training, you have to use your big-game rifle on the small game you hunt for practice. Of course, if you hit a squirrel with a Garrett Hammerhead in .45-70, or a .378 Weatherby Magnum, this means that your skinning and carving skills are unlikely to be necessary... :D

December 7, 2002, 09:05 PM

It is illegal to hunt small game in Georgia with anything but rimfire, of which I have .22 LR and .22 WMR guns.

Now, uprotected non game specias like coyotes, you can use anything from .22 Short to .50 BMG or larger if you wish.


December 12, 2002, 02:10 PM
Any type of shooting practice is good, I do alot of small game hunting in my backyard with my scoped pelletgun;) squirrels are my primary pray, I have shot 28 of them this year, I live on the boarder of a big farm with a tree line that surrounds the perimeter with plenty of hardwoods to supply the Grey's with plenty of food, they must bread like mice, it seems there is always Grey's in the tree's no matter how many I shoot, I call them tree rats, if I get about 5 good size Grey's in a week, this is enough to get a good meal, i make stews out of them, I head shoot them not to ruin any meat, Greys are really tasty critters. The reason I started cutting down the population is due to the little guys get into everything, your shed/attic etc...I had a family in the attic when we bought the house, I could hear pitter patter during the day LOL. Not any more they avoid me like the plague. This also keeps my trigger squeeze and breathing good. During the winter I shoot down in the celler at targets with my pelletgun for accuracy, I consider this the next best thing to practice for the big game hunting other than going down to the range and shooting the big guns. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.