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Old February 7, 2019, 11:36 AM   #1
SmellyShooter
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Squirrel Hunting Techniques

I'm basically a brand new hunter and I have never attempted squirrel hunting. I plan on using a shotgun and I'm curious about techniques. Would it be better to still hunt or to roam the woods slowly and watch the trees?
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Old February 7, 2019, 12:48 PM   #2
David R
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Still. Sit in a spot for 15 to 20 minutes. Move to another....., Bring a seat of some kind. Mine swivels quietly.

It’s a blast.

David
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Old February 7, 2019, 02:26 PM   #3
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F you shoot one, don’t move. Wait awhile longer and another one will appear. Remember watch your backstop.
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Old February 7, 2019, 03:26 PM   #4
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Have you ever shot one and then the sound of the shot flushes out more?
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Old February 7, 2019, 03:30 PM   #5
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Great fun and eating

The two replies so far, are fundamental and spot on. I would add the following;

1) Get familiar with your woods and trails. You are now, in their neighborhood.

2) Looks for nut trees and nests. Don't shoot the nests.

3) While sitting, listen to the sounds and scan the trees..

4) Wear camo; my squirrels always look forward to seeing my new patterns.

5) If there has not been much hunting pressure, you have a slight advantage.

6) Learn how to properly dress and cook them. Midwest Squirrels they are good eating.



Have fun and;
Be Safe !!!
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Old February 7, 2019, 04:15 PM   #6
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From an old, old book by John Popowski: if a squirrel goes on the back side of the tree from you, toss a stick to that side, and be ready for the squirrel to move to you side.
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Old February 7, 2019, 04:43 PM   #7
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Main thing is to hunt where there is feed. Squirrels have an order that they cut the different
nuts. Different areas have different nut crops, learn these in your area. In my area the first
thing they cut that is common are hickories, they last is black walnuts. Watch the ground under the trees if squirrel are present you will see the cuttings from whatever they are eating. You can tell if they are fresh by edges of cuttings. When they are into it the cuttings sound like rain coming down through the leaves. I like to slide around slowly and quietly rather than sit. I always hunt early to about 10am or go out about 5pm and hunt till dark.
Always do better on overcast days too.
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Old February 7, 2019, 05:03 PM   #8
std7mag
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When i lived in MD we would walk and hunt.
Here in PA it's different.
Walk and find. Get in decent position. NOT directly under the tree you saw them in. Sit and wait.

Eastern squirrels taste just as good as elsewhere. Lol
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Old February 7, 2019, 05:06 PM   #9
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Challenging and fun .....

Quote:
I always hunt early to about 10am or go out about 5pm and hunt till dark.
I use to be in my woods before daylight, park my butt under a nut tree and wait for the sun and squirrels to show. They always did and would watch them stretch and yawn. Then around 9 start my stalk and sit, following my defined route. ..

Quote:
if a squirrel goes on the back side of the tree from you, toss a stick to that side, and be ready for the squirrel to move to you side.
This trick will work as well as a number of other tricks you can use. Sometimes I sit away from a nut tree and using a plastic spoon. Flick small pebbles and Hickory shells into the leaves of the Hickory tree. The dumber the squirrel, the more fun you can have with them. …..

Be Safe !!!
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Old February 7, 2019, 11:54 PM   #10
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What do you guys think about using high powered air rifles instead of shotguns? It is a lot quieter and you won't be picking a bunch of pellets out of your dinner. The range and power of more powerful air rifles will easily dispatch a squirrel. Pre-charged pneumatic guns are the best since they have the least recoil and allow faster follow-up shots. I have a Benjamin Marauder in .25 and it is a great gun. It has plenty of power and is very quiet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmYEp7Cs3qc
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Old February 8, 2019, 04:46 AM   #11
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A PCP would be as good as anything, I suppose. To me, what is used to dispatch the critters isn't near as important as just being out in the sticks and enjoying the moment. Heck, if I thought I was good enough, I'd try a slingshot or a dart gun- may come home empty handed, but I still would've had a great experience.

To steal a line from fishermen- "A bad day hunting is still better than a good day working."
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Old February 8, 2019, 07:42 AM   #12
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Squirrel hunting is easy for me. i take a scoped .22 LR and lawn chair and park close to a tree loaded with big pecans.
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Old February 8, 2019, 09:44 AM   #13
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What's a good rimfire scope? I have a 10/22 already so I'd just have to stick a scope on it and I'll be ready to go.
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Old February 8, 2019, 10:22 AM   #14
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Nikon

I bought the Nikon 3 X 9 that is specifically made for .22

I must admit the 335 rounds of .22 ammo I got with it did help that decision along, it was during the great shortage.

Still I am not disappointed with the scope.
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Old February 8, 2019, 11:09 AM   #15
603Country
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My Grandpa was a pro at squirrel hunting. I think the Great Depression helped hone his technique. What I learned:

- Hunt where the acorns are
- Hunt preferably on low wind days, so you can see distant squirrels causing limbs to move as they go to acorns or move from tree to tree.
- Move to where the squirrel was. He’ll see you and hide.
- sit quietly and get comfortable, and don’t move much.
- the squirrels, having seen you, will normally wait till you move away. They’ll know this when other squirrels start eating and dropping acorn shell bits. My Grandpa always had a pocket full of pebbles, corn, or acorns. After being still for 5 minutes, he’d start flicking pebbles or corn into the dry leaves. The squirrels would then come out of hiding to eat, thinking the coast was clear.
- And when the squirrel is on the other side of the tree, the tossed stick works pretty well. Even better is having the grandson (me) just walk on the other side of the tree.

I loved hunting with my Grandpa.
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Old February 8, 2019, 11:36 AM   #16
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When I used to hunt, I took a ball of string. When you find a good spot and the squirrels play now you see me now you don't, around the trunk, I'd walk past the trunk and tie the sgring to a bush on the other side, retrace your steps, find a comfortable spot and sit down. Wait a minute, then pull the string to shake the bush. Mr. Chatter box will come around to your side.
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Old February 8, 2019, 12:01 PM   #17
603Country
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Oooo, that string tip is great. Thanks.
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Old February 8, 2019, 01:56 PM   #18
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We mainly moved around and stalked them when I was growing up, but I had friends who were taught to just sit on a log and wait. You can have success with both methods. If you're under a big nut tree full of leaves, and just can't see them up in the branches, then have a seat. But if I can see movement or hear them cutting a short distance away, I lose patience and move closer to them.
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Old February 8, 2019, 02:35 PM   #19
T. O'Heir
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"...better to still hunt or to roam the woods..." Still hunting is roaming the woods. Stand hunting is sitting under a tree(best nap I've ever had was while doing that. Buy one of those foam Heat-A-Seat cushions.). However, which method is used depends on the type of trees in your bush, the weather and how much local hunting pressure there is.
When still hunting you're not looking for the whole tree rat. You might just get a wee tiny flicker of tail fur on the edge of a branch joint moved by the wind. Or one of 'em laying flat on a high branch in the sun. It's not like a city park.
As mentioned, you need to know exactly what's behind the rat and be very careful of angles if using a rifle and shooting up. A .22 bullet can travel several miles.
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Old February 8, 2019, 09:27 PM   #20
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I prefer to find a good spot and still hunt. The guy that taught me to hunt always carried a piece of candy or some Acorns in his pocket for throwing...... I always had good luck just sitting still and waiting and usually they would come around. The best squirrel hunting I have ever had was out of my second story apartment bathroom window. We had about a dozen walnut trees about 20 yards from the house. I killed my limit in Squirrels on more than one occasion from that window.

Yummy little critters IMO. I like to fix them a bunch of ways, but My favorite is cleaning them up and smoking the whole skinned and cleaned squirrel till she is done. Seasoned of course.
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Old February 9, 2019, 11:57 AM   #21
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Using a scattergun on squirrels is safer than using a rifle. With a rifle...I prefer using rimfire subsonics, because it spooks the squirrels less. For a full choked shotgun...I prefer using #4 or 5 shot --- with turkey loads being the bestest.

Here in the Eastern Allegheny's... mountain fox squirrels tend to inhabit along nearby drainages --- because that's there migration routes. Foxes are noisier than the grays, because they like to rummage amongst the leaves on the forest floor more than the grays; with them tending to travel along on fallen trees and logs.
A fox/gray squirrel call is effective at times.

Both species preferring early morning and late afternoon jaunts, unless it's really cold out.

I prefer using amplified hearing protection, but it's harder for a person wearing them to detect the direction of sounds.

Cooking: Quarter them and lightly pan fry...then throw them in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes.

If you wound one...they tend to hide inside hollow dead logs, under leaves and holes in a tree.

For stands: I like to sit on my daypack, up against a tree that has a larger diameter than my backside; so I'll have less of a possibility of getting shot from behind.

I always recommend blaze orange clothing and a hat or sweatband, including eye protection.
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Old February 10, 2019, 06:58 AM   #22
littlebikerider
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The Marauder airgun - my case, a 22 - has been my preferred weapon for squirrel hunting the last three or four years. You can give up some shots on moving squirrels that a decent shotgunner will take. But its quietness will often let you get a shot at a second squirrel who comes back to check on his buddy.

Focus on brain shots and cleaning the squirrel is much neater, and meat is fully preserved.

While backstop is always important, in general the lower energy and range of the airgun is much safer on a small space of land, in my opinion, and still fully up to the task.
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Old February 10, 2019, 10:15 AM   #23
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Rimfire scopes???

May I suggest getting a scope that has a side parallax adjustment turret that goes from 10 yards to infinity.

Something on the line like: Bushnell Rimfire Scope 3-9x40 3BDC Turrets or the Hawke 2-7x.

For those close rimfire shots...maybe 12 yards an under --- You'll need an approx. 3/4" hold above the X-ring to compensate for the scope being mounted about 3/4" above the bore.

Before the first frost...some squirrels have "warbles" (bot fly larvae) just under the skin ---Those squirrels are still edible, but I would skin him quick before the warble hatches. I've also encountered a grub worm...here in Maryland, that can also burrow under the squirrels skin --- but I don't know the name of it.

For field dressing: Besides a 3, 4 or 6 inch bladed knife --- I always like to carry a pair of game or pruning shears...which makes it heck-of-a-lot easier to cut off the head, feet, tail and the splitting of the aitch bone in the pelvic region.

My brother prefers a loaded down 223 centerfire for mountain squirrels, with his CZ 527.

Squirrel & chipmunk nut cuttings come in much smaller pieces than deer nut cuttings. Chipmunk warning chirps are the biggest nemesis for me while deer or squirrel hunting --- As most of ya'll probably well know. I also prefer wearing 17" high snake proof boots. Squirrel woods can become easily "shot out."
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Old February 10, 2019, 11:47 AM   #24
2wheelwander
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Glad I read this thread. I haven't hunted squirrels in over 30 years. Always loved it with my Dad. Mom wouldn't cook them so we quit shooting them. Loved using a scoped .22.

Going to get my son out and enjoy this again. Great memories.
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Old February 10, 2019, 05:40 PM   #25
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Biggest issue most new squirrel hunters have, is they tend to think those squirrels running around in the woods are like their cousins that live in town. Urban tree rats don't really have a fear of people, usually just the opposite....they identify humans with a food source. They also tend to be more curious, as a commotion or disturbance(think parades or a family picnic) may again, be a source of food. In the woods, truly wild squirrels know humans are a prime danger and real predators are generally stealthier than town pooches and kittys. Thus they learn quickly to avoid humans quickly in life where they are hunted, or they die young.

Squirrel hunting is really no different than many other forms of hunting. One needs to be quiet, limit their movement when waiting for game to appear and to try and blend in with the woods as much as possible. One also needs to be a pretty damn good shot with whatever they are using too, as squirrels are small targets, especially when using a rimfire, instead of a shotgun. The best squirrel hunters are also the best shots. squirrels don't give one a lot of chances and you need to be able to take advantage of the opportunity when it presents itself. Missed squirrels are educated squirrels.
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