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Squirrel Hunting: When and Where You Can Do It and a Few Tactics to Try

If you're new to chasing bushytails, these are the basics you need to know before heading into the squirrel woods.

For many hunters, squirrel hunting may seem like a way to kill time, but in certain regions of the country, hunters await the opening of squirrel season with the same excitement most of us have for deer hunting season.

While we often see squirrels on a day-to-day basis, they're never has plentiful when you have a gun in your hands for some reason, so it does demand a disciplined approach.

Here are a few tips to consider before you hit the woods.

When to Hunt Squirrels

If the small-game hunting season in your state allows for it, the best time of year to hunt squirrels is throughout the fall as these critters are gathering food for the winter.

You'll have the best odds in the early morning followed by just before dusk.

While gray squirrels are most active before sun-up, fox squirrels typically forage after dawn. Because squirrels are so wary of predators, calm days with little to now wind make the best squirrel hunting days.

Best Places for Hunting Squirrels

Fox squirrels and gray squirrels are most prevalent on forest floors through out the Eastern, Midwestern, and Southern states. To locate unpressured squirrel populations even on public land, sneak along creeks or streams bordered by hardwoods dropping hickory nuts and red oak or white oak acorns.

Firearms for the Squirrel Hunter

Guns for squirrel hunting run the gamut from .22 rimfire rifles to .22 air rifles to 20-gauge shotguns. Some bowhunters even use the small-game season as an opportunity for archery practice and still manage to fill daily bag limits. Do your research, get some practice shots in, and choose the tackle you feel most comfortable using.

Squirrel Hunting Tips

If you've got a buddy who owns a squirrel dog, ask to tag along for one the best small-game hunting experiences. When chased, squirrels will scurry to the opposite side of the tree as the dog. As they both circle, you should have plenty of opportunities to get a shot off. A good hunting dog will also retrieve any squirrels that drop from the treetops.

If you're hunting solo, take your time and carefully sneak through the woods. Treat it like a spot-and-stalk situation, and you'll be well on your way to bagging your first squirrel.

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