It’s squirrel hunting season in both Carolinas, and pursuing these critters can be a nice change of pace from either fishing or sitting in a deer stand waiting for something to happen. With plenty of squirrels around, hunters can increase their chances of success with a these five tips.
1. Wear just as much camouflage (if not more) than you do when deer hunting.
Many hunters complain of all the squirrels they see while sitting in a deer stand, only to come up empty-handed when stalking the tree rats. A lot of these same hunters wear blue jeans, short sleeve shirts of various colors, no gloves, and no face masks when going after squirrels, even though they are fully camouflaged when deer hunting.
It’s true that squirrels are less wary than deer, but they will still shy away when things don’t seem right, especially ones that live deep in the woods instead of in neighborhoods. Camouflage yourself, and refrain from making sudden movements, and you’ll get more than your share of shots at bushy tails.
2. Keep the sun at your back.
When searching for squirrels, walking with your back to the sun means squirrels looking your way will have a hard time seeing you, thanks to the brightness of the sun. Many will be looking the other way while gathering acorns or building nests, and you’ll be able to spot them before they see you in many cases. Plus, you won’t have to worry about being blinded by the sun when you’re setting your crosshairs or iron sights at a treed squirrel.
3. Use an airgun.
Yes, an airgun! These guns are plenty powerful, and more than capable of humane kill shots. And they’re far more silent than rifles or shotguns. Hearing the crack of a .22 or a 20-gauge will send non-targeted squirrels out of sight, and they will stay in hiding for several minutes before you’ll get another shot at one of them. But put a high-powered pellet in a squirrel’s head, and chances are the surrounding squirrels will only look curiously at your primary target’s fall to the forest floor, offering you another shot immediately.
4. Wait before picking up dead squirrels.
When you kill one squirrel, let it lay. Make sure you have a good idea of where it landed, then wait until you shoot another squirrel or two before retrieving them all. Even if you shot that squirrel with a relatively silent airgun, the other squirrels will get nervous when you start walking through the woods, whether it’s to pick up a downed squirrel or not.
5. Crack some nuts.
When squirrels sense danger, they will run to the opposite side of the tree, and can stay put well past the point of most hunters’ patience. One sure fire way to put them at ease and raise their curiosity is to crack one acorn against another. They’ll almost always come back around to your side of the tree expecting to see another squirrel eating acorns. Use walnuts or pecans instead of acorns and you’ll have yourself a nice snack during your hunt.