Spring brings new opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, including squirrel hunting.
Whether you're a seasoned hunter or a beginner looking to explore this sport, these tips will help enhance your springtime bushytail hunting experience.
Check Your Local Regulations
Before heading out, familiarize yourself with the hunting regulations in your area. Each region may have specific rules regarding squirrel hunting seasons, bag limits and licensing requirements. Some Wildlife Management Areas may require a special permit.
Scout Your Hunting Area
Springtime alters squirrel behavior as they become more active and forage for food. Spend time scouting your hunting area to identify the best locations where squirrels are likely to be found. Look for areas with abundant food sources like nut- or berry-bearing trees, as these are hotspots for squirrel activity. In Arkansas, Ozarkers will often set up an ambush at a mulberry tree as the bushytails can’t resist those berries in the spring.
Wear Good Camouflage
Blend into your surroundings by wearing appropriate camouflage clothing. Squirrels have keen eyesight and can easily detect human presence. While the weather can be warm, long pants and long sleeves will also offer protection against ticks - which are back after a long winter’s absence. Wearing good bug repellent will also keep the blood suckers at bay.
Practice Shot Placement
Accurate shot placement is crucial to a clean kill. Aim for the head to ensure a quick kill and to preserve the meat. Consider taking shooting sticks or leaning against a tree to steady the rifle for the high-angle shots you’ll be taking.
Using squirrel calls and decoys can be effective strategies to attract curious squirrels within range. Mimicking their vocalizations, such as the "bark" or "squeak," can pique their curiosity and bring them closer.
Find a comfortable spot and settle in. Consider taking a lawn chair or turkey-hunting seat so you can sit against a tree.
Keep your eyes and ears open for any signs of squirrel activity. Squirrels are agile and can quickly move through the treetops, so being observant is key to spotting them before they spot you.
When you do move, do so quietly and slowly.
Prioritize safety throughout your hunting trip. Always handle firearms responsibly, keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot.
Since you will be shooting upwards, make doubly sure your pellet has a safe path and nobody is on the other side of the squirrel if you miss. Remember, what goes up will come down and can hurt you.
Be sure you tell somebody where you are going hunting and when you plan to return as well.
Top Airguns For Squirrel Hunting
Ruger Impact Max Elite .22 - A classic wood stock rifle that comes with a 4x32 scope and sling. It will send a lead pellet downrange at 800 FPS.
Umarex Emerge .22 - The 12-shot rotating magazine will keep you shooting, instead of having to reload after every trigger pull.
Umarex Origin .22 - The No. 1 entry rifle into the world of pre-charged pneumatic airgunning comes with a high-pressure hand pump so you can top off the tank in the field.
Notos .22 Carbine - The hottest PCP rifle of 2023 is a compact carbine that is whisper quiet.