Bushcraft and Bushy-Tails

As dawn approached, the summer clouds blessed the hillside with much needed rain. Dripping water from the hickory leaves tapped a rhythm on the ground. Squirrels emerged from nearby trees and climbed to the ends of branches where their breakfast hung in tough hulls.

Practice may not make you perfect, but it’ll sure make you a better hunter.

Waiting for the perfect shot was almost more than the young hunter could take. Making a shooting rest against a sapling, he put the sights on a squirrel and squeezed the trigger. Dad gave a thumbs-up approval.

A vest full of squirrels makes a fine meal, but the skills you learn and practice while squirrel hunting can pay off while hunting larger prey.

BEING INVISIBLE

From their perches high above, those little eyes don’t miss much in the way of movement on the forest floor. During fall squirrel season, a normally dry time of the year, navigating the woods is a tough task, but the quieter you are, the more success you’ll have.

If you spend much time in the woods squirrel hunting, you will also encounter turkey, deer and other wildlife. You can learn a lot about their day-to-day habits without the pressure of hunting them.

HOME ON THE RANGE

Some hunters only practice shooting a few days before the season opens.

As with any sport, practice may not make you perfect, but it will make you better. Shooting a squirrel that is moving from nut to nut and tree to tree is tough, but waiting for the perfect shot will pay with success. Shot placement is key to bringing home squirrel meat.

Practice on a safe range from different shooting positions. Shoot your rifle or shotgun freehand, from a rest, stand and sit to brush up on your shooting skills and learn to adjust for different angles and obstacles.

SCOUT IT OUT

During the early squirrel season, you can easily prep for deer season. Look for travel paths leading to and from your favorite deer hunting areas. Squirrels also will help you find the flats and ridges that have the biggest supply of protein-rich acorns. Finding white oaks that are hanging heavy will give you the edge on prime feeding spots when the acorns begin to shake loose in the fall.

Late-season squirrel hunts can key you in on turkey roosts and other sign to help you locate turkeys on opening day.

Squirrel hunting is one of the best classrooms for hunters of all skill levels.

Take advantage of your days in the woods chasing squirrels to build woodsmanship, and polish your stalking and shooting skills as you look to the trees for some bushy-tail fun.

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