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  Squirrel Hunting

Squirrel hunting is one of the best ways for a new or even a seasoned hunter to refine  their marksmen skills, teach hunters safety and have a great time doing so in the process. Here in New York, we can find the grays, blacks, fox and red squirrels depending on where you live. I would have to say that the majority of the time, the reds will be the ones you encounter most and are unprotected in NYS.

Squirrel hunting is usually the first hunting experience for youngsters new to the sport of hunting. With an experienced mentor guide, the young squirrel hunter will learn the basics of the safety, technique and good marksmanship of one shot one harvest that will help later in life when they move on to big game. Squirrel hunting seasons typically open in late
September and continue to mid February. If your hunting reds, they can be hunted at any time with no bag limits.

You are required to attend and pass a hunters safety course to get your certificate and posses a small game license. Squirrel hunting is one of the cheapest sports to engage in, in that with a little camo and a single shot shotgun or .22 is all you really need to get you into the sport. If just starting out I prefer getting the youngster a .410 single shot shotgun to begin with and working their way up to a .22 are a great gun to hunt squirrels, but the added fact that if you are shooting up into the trees...what is beyond your target and where that bullet is going to land becomes an issue.

The are the basics of squirrel hunting... Squirrels are pretty common and just about everywhere. One of the first things I take into consideration is what is their food source. They love trees that produce nuts, so any mature oak, beechnut, and hickory can be a good place to start to find a group of squirrels. If you look on the ground under the trees, you can tell when a squirrel has been around because they leave small pieces of shells and hulls all over the place and dug up spots in the leaves and snow of looking for the nuts.

During the fall the squirrels are in the gathering mode trying to get and find nuts to store foe the winter. I have sat countless hours during deer season watching these little critters scamper here and there gathering oak and beechnuts. The majority of the time when they will find a nut, they take it to a specific location and bury it. How they keep all these locations of buried nuts is beyond me. I have also seen where they have made homes in hollowed out sections of standing trees. During these times I have watched then take the nuts to these locations for storage.

While out scouting, look for bunches of leaves grouped up in the trees. Squirrels will take the leaves and make nests up in the trees. One of the tell tailed signs you have squirrels in the area are tracks made in the winter.


Unlike the chipmunks...squirrels don't hibernate and are out all winter. So what are you waiting for? There is nothing more memorable than going on their first hunting trip. This is a great way to spend some quality time with your youngsters and do what parents do best.... teach your children how to hunt safely and ethically and it will in turn be teaching other valuable lessons to be used later in life. 

Good luck and let us know how you turn out and maybe you might have some good advice, tips or the stories you would like to share with the rest of us...send them to us!

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In the fast paced world we live in its even more important now than ever to take the time to get out into the woods for some quality downtime. Take a youngster hunting and continue the family traditions and values, you won't regret it

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