By Brandon Wikman
Trampling through crackling frost painted oak leaves during October in pursuit for bushytailed squirrels is not always looked at as the most vivid outdoor adventure. Especially when squirrel season overlaps opening day of the most sought-after big game species in the world, the whitetail deer.
Squirrel hunting is one of the most underrated sports in America. Massive chocolate antlers, bushy turkey beards, and hefty waddling black bears captivate many hunters across the Midwest. These enticing animal characteristics may lure the big game hunting crowd, but, unfortunately, they are missing out on a key element to being an expert outdoorsman.
There are many lifelong lessons a hunter can learn from chasing the scampering nut collector of the forest floor. When venturing into the woods with a firearm, squirrel hunting will provide you an assortment of valuable hunting lessons that will enhance your marksmanship and patience.
This tree-dwelling species require some of the most difficult shooting challenges to even the most seasoned marksman. Squirrels tend to be a toilsome target to hit considering they are slim and slender. They grow to be no larger than two feet long, which isn’t much when their tail is as long as their body. Hunters must sport keen eyesight and swift decision-making skills because squirrels are agile on their feet and quick-witted. You must always be on top of your game when stepping into their territory.
Squirrels are an animated adversary to aim at, but also a critter that spends a lot of time above ground lunging from branch to branch. It is often very difficult to spot them in timber, especially when you have to wince through a maze of green foliage to find them as they scurry up and down tree trunks.
The chirping fur balls of the woods will even make the most persistent hunters lose their composure. They typically will only move to search the forest floor for nuts a couple hours after sunrise and before sunset. This only opens a slight window of opportunity to put one in your sights.
Patience is a key element to successfully bag squirrels. They move on their own time and will only spend a short time period foraging at ground level. Many hunters will conceal themselves by hunkering into a snarly root system against a large tree. This will drastically break up their outline and provide a comfortable backrest. The name of the game in this sport revolves around controlling your urge to call-in an early breakfast – because a bushytail may just be around the next tree.
Squirrel hunting blends a unique assortment of valuable tools that hunters can use to enrich their experience in pursuit for other wild game. Marksmanship and patience are only two of the many attributes one must possess when prowling the woods. Although scrawny and uncelebrated, squirrels provide an enlightening outdoor affair for all ages. They are not only plentiful across the hardwood forests of North America, but also quite tasty.