13 Hunting Tips (Best Times, Guns, & More)

It’s a question that drives you nuts. Should you hunt squirrel? Also, how do you hunt squirrel? Thankfully there is an answer to each of these questions.

Finding squirrels like the red squirrel, western gray squirrel, round-tailed ground squirrel or tree squirrel in the woods is exhilarating. You can get quite a bit of squirrel meat off these small game mammals, too.

Squirrel meat can be delicious when you beer batter and fry it. You can also use it in stews or barbecue it. Some people wrap the legs in bacon and toss them on the grill, too.

Squirrel hunting helps control overabundant squirrel populations. You can use a squirrel’s coat or hide for many purposes. Squirrel hunting requires planning and preparing, as well as having the right gear and equipment.

Always keep an eye on what you are doing when hunting squirrels. Safety is a crucial factor when you are out there on the hunt for these pesky little rodents. Take the time to find the best weapon to bring along, so you can be safer and more successful during your small game hunt.

1. Review the Legal Terms

Most importantly, you must have the legal right to go squirrel hunting. Before you head off to the woods, get a small game license (you need licenses for almost all types of game) for the place you are going to hunt.

The terms for attaining a license vary by state or province. So, review the regulations for hunting squirrels in your specific area.

You might only be able to go hunting during specific times of the year when it is squirrel season. This season takes place in most regions during the fall and winter months. The dates vary by each place. There are also rules on where you can hunt.

You may be allowed to hunt on a certain state or provincial park grounds. Some places require you ask for direct permission from the property owner before you start hunting.

Check the bag limits, too. There may be a limit to how many squirrels you can hunt in one day, as well as during an entire season.

2. Choose the Right Time

Look for squirrels during the early morning or late afternoon hours because squirrels are most active at these times. Morning is when squirrels go out to look for food.

It is easy and necessary for them to find food early in the day when they are at their hungriest.  Avoid hunting squirrels in inclement weather, as like deer, they move around and can be harder to track.

Late afternoon to early evening is when squirrels bring food back to their habitats. This is when most squirrels are busy foraging, so you should be able to spot them moving around.

3. Look in the Right Places

Plan your hunts in areas where you are the most likely to find squirrels. Check areas where there are lots of trees. These include trees that produce nuts and other items squirrels commonly consume. An oak tree is one of the most popular places to see squirrels.

Any tree that produces the types of nuts or fruit that squirrels enjoy is the place to locate squirrels. Be aware of the type of trees in the area, so you can determine if they are places squirrels may be searching for food.

4. Find the Best Weapon for Squirrel Hunting

Shop around to get the right squirrel hunting weapon before leaving on a hunting trip. Do some target practice using a small game weapon that works best for squirrels.

In the end, choosing the right squirrel hunting weapon boils down to personal choice. Here are the best weapons for squirrel hunting in my opinion:

The Shotgun

Shotgun Squirrel Hunting

Use a shotgun to cover a larger amount of space during your hunt. The spread of a shotgun shell can cover much of a squirrel’s body at once, thus ensuring a better chance of a kill without damaging too much meat.

Be sure to aim the shotgun carefully so it targets the precise area you want to shoot.

Look for a six-shot because it is large enough to target a squirrel without ruining the flesh. Also, choose a barrel 26 inches in length or greater so the shell will move precisely.

Remember, a shotgun will make a loud sound with each round. The noise will most likely scare the other squirrels away. Focus on being precise and cautious when shooting at squirrels or any other small game, for that matter.

When you take aim, remember that the spread on the shotgun shell will move outward a few centimeters after you shoot.

The .22 Caliber Rifle

22 Rifle Hunting Squirrel

The second option for a weapon to use is a .22 caliber rifle (my favorite). This rifle uses a smaller ammunition that targets the squirrel  and other smaller game with precision.

The ammo will not damage much of the squirrel meat, either. A .22 caliber rifle produces a longer range than a shotgun. The rifle also lets you go after just one part of the squirrel’s body.

Aim to be accurate and hold your firearm steady. Fortunately, most .22 caliber rifles come with an automatic reloading feature. This feature lets you add multiple rounds into the rifle before you start shooting and release one of the rounds every time you fire the trigger.

Be sure to regularly clean the muzzle and barrel to get a more accurate shot.

This rifle works best when you attach a scope to it. A scope gives you a clearer view of your target. It is also important to take wind, elevation, and distance into account when using a scope.

Bow and Arrow

Bow Hunting Squirrel

Another option for hunting squirrels is with a bow and arrow. But take note that most squirrels are small and less than a foot in length.

Because they are so small, it could be difficult to hunt squirrels with a large bow and arrow.  In other words, leave your deer hunting bows at home.

You should sharpen any arrow you use so it can pierce the squirrel’s body with ease. Even so, any arrow you aim incorrectly could cut through too much of the squirrel’s body, leaving little meat or fur to use.

The Air Rifle

While this might not look daunting, an air gun can be deadly to squirrels, and it is the cheaper option of the bunch. Air rifles are best suited for small game like fowl, rabbits and squirrels.

The only major downside is that it requires a lot of practice for a humane kill, as the area that you must hit is very small for an instant kill.

If you want the animal to die instantly and avoid needless pain or tons of frustration, aim for a head shot, which is also difficult to pull off on such small targets. Plus, larger squirrels can absorb multiple hits and evade if you miss the head.

Here’s some smooth action with an air rifle:

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