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Squirrel hunting tips?

 
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So I've been trying to hunt squirrels in the forest for about 5 days now with no luck YET! I've been trying with my slingshot. I need some tips on this. Anything that could help me.
 
steward
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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Nail or tie a rat trap to the side of a tree. Bait with PB or a piece of fruit. Set up a bunch of them and check them often.
 
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You'd have to have a large amount of skill with a slingshot to nail a squirrel...the target is small, fast and wary, got eyesight like a hawk. That's why folks sit in stealth mode~got to sit quiet~ from a little distance and use a .22 or even a .410 shotgun.
 
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Hi Noby, me again, J. Green's advice is pretty clear and to the point. If I am harvesting squirrels, (I don't sport hunt,) I use traps. If you are a sport hunter, or just want to hone your weapon skills, practice a lot. When setting traps I will sometime bring my sling shot, bow, or rifle, and if a target presents, I will make a kill. You have to practice and hone your skills on targets before every attempting to take a life. If you can't hit a target 8 or 9 times out of 10, don't try and take an animal, your not ready.

Regards,

jay
 
Posts: 48
Location: Oregon - Willamette Valley
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Same advice with trapping.... peanut butter brings them in from all over.

A connibear 110 trap is actually a more sure kill than a rat trap.
However they are more expensive, so you will set fewer of them.
 
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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helps to have a noismaker you can trip on the other side of the tree, they will squirt around to get to the farside, away from your line of sight.

figure out a remote noisemaker, and you can get em to come around to your side of the tree....
 
steward
Posts: 1748
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Best noisemaker to get them to your side of the tree is a cur dog.
 
Posts: 33
Location: SW KY--out in the sticks in zone 6.
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wayne stephen wrote:Best noisemaker to get them to your side of the tree is a cur dog.



My FIL swears by his Chihuahua.
 
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All good advice. I use my bow and an air gun. Both of these tool takes practice but the results are good. There are locator calls for sale that work well. I kiss the back of my hand in a fashion that sounds like a squirl in distress. This may help in locating your quarry. A dog is a great suggestion. Enjoy the squirrels. They are tasty!
 
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Location: Seattle, WA
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Check my blog for detailed info on catching, dressing and cooking. I hope you are not offended by my drowning method. It may sound cruel, but after MUCH, MUCH, MUCH, MUCH research, I'm very comfortable with it as the most humane method, especially for city squirrels. http://www.essentialbread.com/2011/10/meat-mr-squirrel.html
 
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Location: Kitchener, Ontario
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Is it that you are not seeing them or you do see them but aren't able to connect?

If you're not seeing them, try looking around the base of hardwoods for cuttings (the bits and pieces of nuts and cones from squirrels eating overhead). Also, if you are alone, try walking about 20 yards then stop and sit for a while, like 10-15 minutes. Keep your eyes peeled and if you don't see anything, walk another 20 yards, sit and repeat.

It's easier if you are with someone. One person walks ahead 20-30 yards or so as the other watches the trees. Squirrels always go to other side of the tree to where the noise is coming from. As your partner walks past a tree with a squirrel in it, the little critter will wind around the tree, hopefully in your sight line.

Now if it's that you see them but can't get them with a slingshot, I'm not surprised. Squirrels are nervous and move around a lot. A slingshots projectile is quite slow, so unless your are very close and the squirrel is still for quite a while, you'll have a hard time getting one. A .22 or 410 would do the trick, as would an air rifle.
 
Posts: 34
Location: North West Georgia
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At my in-town place, we have about a bazilllion squirrels in a 300 sq ft back yard. At the farm I've seen 2 on the whole 25 acres. Therefore it stands to reason the best place to hunt squirrels is downtown! As for hitting them with a slingshot, it can be done. I plink at the city squirrels all the time right from the couch, and can probably hit 4 out of 10. But it took 40 years and half a million misses to be able to do that. Like anything else, practice, practice, practice.


And please, Squirreltarians, I use beans for practice ammo. Can't hurt too much, they still come back to the damn bird feeder within 10 minutes.
 
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If I were going to embark on the challenge of hunting squirrel with a sling shot I would try to find a large area of oak trees. Camp nearby, be ready wherever your going to hunt pre dawn. Ideal situation would probably to be in full camo in a blind of some sort.

Unless you hit it in the head you are probably going to need to finish it off, which can be pretty tricky if you don't have something to inflict some blunt force trauma, or a .22. Squirrels have a thick skin, and a sling shot might break a skull, but anywhere else is going to be a wound, and the squirrel is going to run into the nearest hole it can find if its mortally injured. If not seriously injured its going to run farther than you will ever find it.

Squirrels are early morning creatures, they also like to come out after a hard rain. They like acorns, which is why you find a good stand of oaks to be at pre dawn, as the sun comes up the squirrels come out of the woodwork, rely more on your hearing. If you can't hear the squirrel, it is not close enough to sling shot the squirrel. They make noise climbing trees and searching for acorns.

If you like your slingshot and want a versatile hunting weapon, look at something called a slingbow. It is a slingshot modified to shoot arrows. Used for target, hunting game animals, and fishing. It has been used to successfully hunt deer and even an Alaskan grizzly. You get good enough to put an arrow through a squirrel with a slingbow, and the squirrel won't get away. If your good enough to take a squirrel with it, your good enough to take a deer with it.
http://www.chiefaj.com/


 
Posts: 129
Location: Northeast Oklahoma, Formerly Zone 6b, Now Officially Zone 7
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Squirrel Fishing At the very slight risk of going off-topic, maybe there's an alternative...
Obviously, there's no doubting the efficacy of peanuts as bait!
 
pollinator
Posts: 307
Location: South Central Michigan Zone 6
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I grew up squirrel hunting every year. I was only allowed to squirrel hunt before I was 14. I would not use a slingshot and if you do then you better plan on still hunting by slowly taking a few steps and stopping. If you see action through the woods you can try to slowly move in close enough. Very rare you pick the right tree to sit under with a slingshot predawn... But if you get yourself a fairly accurate 22 you can get a killing by stand hunting, still hunting, baiting or calling. It really all depends on you, the woodlot or forest you are hunting, the weather, your skills, your style.

Try a little of everything till you find what works, and some days or even weeks it can seem like nothing works and then one day they just start moving again. They also, like grouse, come in cycles of high and low numbers from decade to decade. I am sure some will debate this, and I dont even know if I really believe it either. But it is a pretty good excuse for a bad year of squirrel hunting. Which I have had many good and bad, and dont much squirrel hunt these days.

Squirrel meat will always be one of my favorite meats, especially those from hardwoods that lived on acorns instead of corn.

I could also give lots of little tips.
Scan the trees for tuffs of hair, if you can get a shot at one, and you know its on the other side of a tree or burried in a crotch, hold your gun with one hand, and a stick with another, toss it to the other side of the tree a good ways, throw it far so you got plenty of time to raise your gun and take aim. He or she will only come around the tree for a moment before it realizes the trick, so take your shot quick and be true

If that does not work, camp out in any one place no more than 40 mins. If you wait 30-40 mins and do not see it it is best to not waste anymore time and move on to greener pastures. I have on several occasions been sitting under a tree or on a log for 20 mins and a squirrel in the tree im sitting under or next to would just come out and go to work for the day and completely forgot it was just hiding from me a few moments ago. But you must be still and silent or it is reminded what it was doing there. I tell you squirrels have good senses, they dont use the sense of smell to detect humans, and they arent very smart. This makes the right tactics work very well.

If you sit patiently and only see squirrels in the distance then it might be a good idea to slowly head that way. When I was a boy I put about 30 feeders up, designed to hold a cob of corn up in the air in front of a tree, I am sure most of you have seen one. I placed them on the right trees along a trail that ran the perimeter of a 40 acre hardwood forest. I would drive through on my dads tractor and put cobs on when we would get up to the property, and when I got back to the cabin I could take off on foot and I would almost always get one on one pass of the trail. That quickly they would be on that corn eating it. I then learned where each one was and was able to anticipate it so that I could spot a squirrel long before he spotted me.

Once you get good at it, you can clean out a forest pretty quickly. If you own the land it might be a good idea to reserve hunting them for special times when you really got a taste for it. Because when you have outsmarted them on your own land its easy to wipe out the population and it really does take years to recover and bounce back. I am sure many will say that squirrels are territorial and they will move into new areas immidiately but I have seen for myself that was not the case on 40 acres of oak and maple in northern michigan. Took about 5 years before they repopulated.

Last thing I am thinking of. If you are still hunting and you hear a bark of a squirrel from behind you where you just passed through see if you can spot where its coming from, if you do remember the tree do not take your eyes off and go it a straight line to it. The squirrel being the cocky creature it is sometimes cannot take NOT letting you know when it thinks it outsmarted you. But if you are careful you can make that his big mistake and get him afterall. Some forests contain squirrels that will run from you over long distances instead of going into a tree and hiding, this proves a great skill for evading hunters. As a kid (dont know if I would try this as an adult though) If I was in a forest where I knew they had a habit of running, or if one took off running from me, I would take off after it like a bat out of hell crashing through the woods making so much noise and racket on the ground it would scare it so badly it would take right up a tree, sometimes stopping at that and all it would take then would be to scare it to my side of the tree and take the shot. But sometimes it would continue running from you through the tree tops trying to make it to its den. At that point you could either stop and watch where its den is then go sit by it for 30 mins or try shooting it out of the tree while its running. I never used a shotgun for hunting them because it was not enjoyable to bite down on a pellet. So shooting them when they are flying through the trees can be hard, I have done it, as well as regretted wasting ammo, or injuring a squirrel more than it needed to be in order to be my dinner. You make that choice yourself.

Hope some of this helps you all.
 
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My 2 cents: .22 ammunition has been very difficult to find since 2011. This year has been the worst with some places have absolutely no .22lr ammo. I would suggest a 177cal pellet rifle instead if you're able to get one. No shortage on pellets.

As others suggested, oak stands are going to be productive hunting spots for them and I would trap and hunt at the same time. I have heard folks get good results with the largest of the victor rat traps. The ones that are about 4" wide. Rig them with small rope or velcro so your can put them right around the trunk of the tree. Set them about head height and set 8-10 in an area (or whatever you have), one to two trees apart. Then go to another area with your rifle for some sight hunting. Get what you can and check the traps again in 1 hr. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Use traffic ribbon tied to branches to lead you back to your traps so you don't misplace them. Make sure you clean the ribbon up before you leave and please, just take what you need and use what you take.

I see some have suggested blinds and early morning hunting. I have never found either necessary. Squirrel's are moving in all but the very hottest parts of the day.
 
Posts: 98
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I had a guy tell me once that when he was a kid he would take two marbles. Hold one with his thumb and one with his first finger. He clacked them together to make a squirrel call.
 
Travis Schulert
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Nicholas Mason wrote:I had a guy tell me once that when he was a kid he would take two marbles. Hold one with his thumb and one with his first finger. He clacked them together to make a squirrel call.




I have used two coins. But marbles sounds better actually. There is a squirell call called "Mr Squirrely" or something like it, not sure if they still make em. But those are pretty cool because it mimics a baby in distress. tie a string to a bust and move 50 feet away, start calling with the device and shake the bush and it drives them crazy. They cant help but come out and show themselves.
 
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Here is a good video about squirrel hunting explained by some Louisiana girl that lives on the principles of living off the land:



Aside from her advice I have to add in my two cents about squirrel hunting having done it when I was 5-10 years old and just getting back into it last year. When I was young I used to live in New England and be ruthless with squirrels. I would chase them whenever I saw them and shake them out of trees because I hated them destroying my grandfathers crops. I had a slingshot with the wrist guard that created some pretty nice FPS on my shots. Those little buggers are much tougher than you think. I shook one out of a tree one time that was near the road and it landed on the asphalt, broke it's jaw and kept running. I've also tried to kill them with my slingshot several times. First off, squirrels in suburban areas will let you get fairly close to them. I've taken shots at squirrels from 10-15 feet away. Even so, they will most likely not die if you hit them. I have hit a squirrel with a nice size pebble before and all it did was hurt it. It did not break the skin, it did not bleed, it just kept moving.

You really need a BB gun or something with adequate FPS to kill a squirrel. As recommended in the video, if you suck at shooting a shotgun is your best bet. Shotshells with number 8 shot or so should do the trick, something light with a lot of spread with medium or no choke. I myself have a very tight bullet grouping on my .22 LR and am confident enough with my shots that I use the .22 because if you do use a shotgun you will probably get BBs in your meat on occasion when you're eating them.

I now live in Mississippi and I hunt the backwoods of the public wildlife management areas for squirrel. I successfully harvested my first squirrel last year and I was lucky enough to find one out in the forest. The problem is finding them. I have read that the best time to squirrel hunt is in the morning right after sunrise (when the animals want to forage for food) and I believe this is a good rule of thumb. Also, people say if it is raining hard squirrels will most likely fast and stay in their nests until it is clear weather, so I have also head it is best to catch them right after a rain when they are really hungry, looking for food frantically and disoriented.

I went squirrel hunting last weekend and I must have hiked 5 or 6 miles in between sitting, eating, and walking through the forest. The one squirrel I did see was too close to the trail that cars come in on to shoot. I did come 10 feet away from a skunk that I shot at. I believe I maimed the skunk, but I wasn't about to follow him and get sprayed finding out. Skunk are nuisance animals in Mississippi so I kill nuisance animals whenever I see them. How did I get that close? Standing still. People make way too much noise out in the forest and if you just sit still you will hear and see so much more than if you are moving around PERIOD. These are my experiences as a novice hunter.

IF YOU DONT TAKE AWAY ONE THING FROM MY POST TODAY PLEASE TAKE AWAY THIS POINT. If you really want to find animals in the forest do some scouting about their habitat. All animals need to eat and all animals need water (and yes some get their water from seeds, but lets not go there). From what I saw out in the forest area that I was hiking around in last Saturday, I know there are only a few acorn trees in the spot where I was scouting. As the video I linked says, sitting under a food source tree (like an acorn tree) is a great way to find critters. Even the skunk I shot at was only in the spot I was in because I was standing in a wild berry patch. My plan next weekend will be to bring a folding lawn chair, sit out under the acorn tree I found, and just wait for 4 or 5 hours. If there is one thing I've learned form sitting in tree stands, it is that you will see so much more activity in the forest if you just sit and be patient.

P.S. Yes trapping is more adequate, but that requires a separate license as well. I could go into trapping all day from studying up over at the trapperman forums, but yes if you want to harvest squirrels for food trapping is the way to go. I like to hunt squirrels for hunting experience so that I can figure out how to land big game.
 
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Location: SE Indiana
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Didn't see the all time best advise for finding tree rats in the thread yet...

Set up a deer stand and sit in it! Never fails, I see half a dozen every stand we sit in throughout deer season. Be on your toes though, the sneaky little rats like to mimic the sounds of deer walking through the woods.
 
                                      
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Sorry if this is redundant.......slow down......most hunters have troubles because they are moving too fast.......hunt like you meditate......never rush.....take it as it comes
 
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