Where Are the Squirrel Hunters
As I’ve done for more years than I can remember, to celebrate my birthday on September 29th, I donned my hunting garb, loaded up my backpack, grabbed my Winchester Model 12 - 20 gauge shotgun, placed all my gear in my Ford truck and went squirrel hunting. The morning was cool, about 43 degrees, and there was a slight fog in the air when I parked the truck at round 7:00. After a 30 minute hike to my favorite spot, I decided to sit a spell. I sat for an hour and only saw one squirrel so I decided to move on to another spot.
It was 9:00 as I was sneaking through the new area I was hunting when I spotted a deer about 60 yards away. Looking through my binoculars, I discovered it was a mature doe. As I was squatting, I eased my video camera out of my pocket. Too much movement…she saw me. But as does do from time to time, her curiosity got the best of her, and she started moving towards me to discover what this creature she saw was. She closed the distance to about 40 yards when she decided to let out a couple of snorts. Little did I know her snorts would alert the local squirrels. I heard four different squirrels barking while I continued to film the doe. Finally after several more snorts, I decided to slowly stand up. This was all she needed to bolt.
Now I turned my attention to the squirrels. I was able to visually locate three of the four squirrels I heard barking. I set my sights on the closest one and began my sneak to get closer. I got to within 20 yards, took aim and one was down. The second squirrel was moving through the trees and when he decided to come down, he was around 20 yards away when I shot him. I had to put on a sneak to get close to the third squirrel. He eventually saw me and I decided to take a shot. He lived to tell the story to his friends on how I missed him.
All in all, another great day in the woods! As I was walking back to my truck, I reflected back to when I began squirrel hunting at the age of 11. I’m now beginning my 45th year to hunt squirrels. In case anyone is calculating how old I am, I will save you the trouble...lol. I celebrated my 55th birthday. Then I tried to remember the last time I saw a young boy or girl squirrel hunting. The sad fact was, I couldn’t. It’s been years since I have seen anyone squirrel hunting! And most of my squirrel hunting is done on public hunting areas.
I don’t have any statistics, so it’s just my personal opinion, but if we want to get more young people involved in hunting, take them squirrel hunting. It doesn’t require a large investment. They don’t have to wear camouflage clothing…a pair of blue jeans with a dark long sleeve shirt and ball cap will do just fine; a decent pair of hiking shoes to keep feet comfortable and dry; a lightweight jacket; and a shotgun. I’ve seen used single shot .410 shotguns for around $100. Most states have liberal squirrel seasons starting in August or September, so the weather is still mild. Kids don’t have to sit for long periods of time. And while they are squirrel hunting, you have the opportunity to provide them with knowledge about the woods and deer hunting. And by the way, nothing tastes better than an autumn dinner of squirrel stew with homemade biscuits!
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