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
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.
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