Squirrel Hunting Tips
If you have never hunted Squirrel, you are missing out on a day of fun and excitement. It is a great way to sharpen your hunting skills while bringing meat to the table.
The easiest way to hunt squirrels in with either a shotgun or .22 rifle, but I have also taken many with a high powered pellet gun. Grey and Red Squirrels* are most active and therefore best to hunt for the first 2 to 3 hours after sunrise and 2 hours before sunset. The larger Fox Squirrel is typically more active and better to hunt a little later, coming out a little later after sunrise and staying active longer into the day. Middle of the day is not the best time to hunt squirrel as you may see the occasional squirrel, but the numbers will be significantly less than earlier or later in the day and your hunting success much less. Winter months see the Squirrel coming out after sun rise, but they will return to their nests earlier and wait for the next day, avoiding going out at sunset. Don't bother hunting on particularily cold days as Squirrels may not venture out at all.
Grey and Fox Squirrels like acorns so watch for and hunt near Oak Trees, but they can also be seen around apple trees. Red Squirrel can be seen in the vicinity of evergreens eating conifer cone seeds. All three spend the majority of their time in the trees, but come to the ground to forage for their food.
Hunting success can be found either sitting under a large oak tree or from walking through the woods. While hunting, listen for rustling as the squirrels forage for food, or keep your eyes up scanning the trees. If a squirrel spots you it will hide by running into a hollow in a tree or sitting on the far side of the tree opposite you and out of view. If they do hide in a tree, sit and wait for five minutes, then begin to call. Squirrels are a curious animal and will shortly come out to see what is going on. See below for Calling Techniques. If the Squirrel hides on the other side of the tree, try throwing a large stick or rock to that side. The loud noise it makes may frighten the squirrel into climbing around the tree, making itself visible again and giving you the shot.
When taking the shot with a .22 or pellet gun it is best to aim for the heart or lungs. Squirrels have very small heads made even smaller with distance, and jump quickly at the noise of your gun. There is not a significant amount of meat to loose on the rib and chest area where as the majority is found in the front and back legs and the back strap.
There are several Squirrel calls available on the market that can cost from $10 on up. These work well but can start adding up. If you are in a quiet area, you can simulate the sound of a Squirrel foraging for food by simply rustling your hand sporadically in the leaves. Many Squirrel will come to see who is foraging for food in their area.
Some alternative and simple techniques are taking two coins - typical currency works well - and rubbing the ridged edges together. This simulates the chatter well enough to get their attention.
Another technique is to use a metal screw and the blue plastic anchors with many ridges used to anchor a screw into drywall. Rub these against each other so that the ridges of each are opposing the other. This same technique can also be done by rubbing the ridges of a screw against a piece of wood, or a plastic threaded rod against a striker. Click Here to watch a video of a homemade Squirrel call. These also make a chattering noise that calms the squirrels and coaxes them out of their hiding places. Some may even begin to chatter back.
I hope that you have found a new joy in Squirrel Hunting. Please check our Field Dressing page for a quick and easy method, and try some of the recipes offered as well. We would love to see your pictures and if you have a recipe not listed please share with us.
*Please note that in some areas the Red Squirrel is considered a fur bearing animal and cannot be hunted. Please check your local guidelines.