Hunting Squirrels In Spring
Learning how to hunt squirrels in the spring is different than hunting squirrels in the fall or winter. Squirrels eat different foods in the spring and you will find them in different locations, so tactics must be adjusted. You can find squirrels in the same area as long as the food is available. Some areas with squirrels in the winter may not have them in the spring due to this lack of food. Usually though squirrels live in areas where the food is available year round, so keep this in mind.
Where To Find Squirrels When Hunting In The Spring
As mentioned above, squirrels are often located in the same areas during your spring squirrel hunts as during your fall or winter hunts. The difference is what the squirrels eat during the spring. Squirrels will be on the ground more in the spring but they still like to scamper up a tree to dine. While searching the ground cover during your spring squirrel hunt don’t forget to keep your eye open for squirrels on branches at eye level or a little higher. My favorite place to hunt squirrels in the spring is around our local lake. I learned long ago that squirrels love to search the edge of the lake along the shoreline for old mast that they missed in the winter as well as sapling buds and mushrooms.
My favorite way to hunt spring squirrel in with my little jon boat. Cruising the shoreline searching for squirrels is a great way to avoid the thick spring under growth. Squirrels will also pay less attention to a boat as apposed to tromping through the woods. Once a squirrel is spotted cruise on by them with the boat and ease back up the shore to get into range for a shot.
Another great way to hunt squirrels in the spring is by utilizing creek beds to sneak along. I prefer dry creek beds but small flowing creeks work good too, just have a good pair of comfortable waterproof boots. The only good boots to me are all rubber boots. It seems they are the only boots that won’t eventually leak. Sneaking along a creek bed is a great way to sneak in on an unsuspecting bushytail. Creeks, whether dry or wet, also seem to grow the food that squirrels love to eat in the spring. Creeks are good places to hunt in the fall and winter as well. They make it easier to navigate the foliage that can be almost impenetrable. They also keep you away from most of the ticks.
Gun Of Choice When Hunting Squirrels In The Spring
There is an age old debate on what gun is the preferred weapon for hunting squirrels. Some hunters prefer a .22 long rifle or even a .22 magnum to hunt squirrels in the spring. There is also the .17 mach 2. I have hunted squirrels with all of these but for the spring I prefer a shotgun. The foliage makes its tough to sneak in a shot sometimes with the .22’s and .17 mach 2. I use a Henry Lever action .410 gauge shotgun to hunt squirrels in the spring. You have to get close with the 2.5 inch chamber but it makes it a challenge. Besides you have to get pretty close anytime you hunt squirrels in the spring due to all of the cover. Sneaking into .410 range can limit your shot opportunities, but man is it fun.
I remember as a boy walking the many fence rows near my house. Straight home from school, grab the single shot 16, stuff a handful of shells in my pockets and I was set till dark. It wasn’t until I moved to Kentucky that I learned that there was a spring squirrel season. The fact that squirrels have two litters each year made it feasible to allow hunters the opportunity to hunt bushytails in the spring. I have to admit there’s a lot going on during May here in Kentucky. Bass are still shallow; bluegills are going on bed and crappie continue to bite. While it can be difficult to decide what to do, I always find a few days for a springtime squirrel hunt.
When the first settlers came to America the squirrel a vital food source for the many families working to carve out an existence in the new land. Squirrel dishes were even served in fancy restaurants in the early days. Squirrel hunting has long been considered the best way to introduce people, especially kids, to hunting, but it has lost some of its popularity in recent years and that’s unfortunate. With fewer hunters in the woods the squirrel population is booming here in Kentucky and the spring season is a great time to enjoy a high success rate.
The grey squirrel is not only fun to hunt it also hones the hunter’s skills for hunting other game. Squirrels also provides excellent table fare for the hunter. I remember my grandfather making me squirrel stew as a little boy and it was my favorite. It was the only thing I ever knew him to cook. It was his specialty. I knew he was cooking it before I ever entered his house or houseboat, where he lived for several years. I could smell it cooking as soon as I opened the car door. Fried squirrel is probably the most popular recipe among squirrel hunters. However, squirrels can be used in many different recipes and is a great way to enjoy the harvest after the hunt.
I encourage you to get in the woods this spring and enjoy a springtime squirrel hunt of your own and grab a friend to go with you. Spring is a wonderful time to be in the woods. A great way to reconnect with an old friend or teach a kid our hunting traditions. One thing that I encourage everyone is to learn to cook your harvest. Squirrel is delicious and can be used in so many recipes. It’s a great way to enjoy the harvest and continue the memories with others in the kitchen and around the dinner table. Squirrel hunting is a wonderful reason to get into the great outdoors and has long been an American tradition.