The Lost Art of Squirrel Hunting

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Lost Art: No longer existing because of the passage of time.

In the days of our forefathers, squirrel hunting was a very common way of putting fare on the table. It didn't matter to our ancestors that one squirrel consisted of only a small amount of meat. They harvested the squirrels, enough to feed themselves and their families, and were grateful for the meals God provided.

What happened to squirrel hunting? Are we too busy in these modern times to bother with hunting such small and insignificant game? Granted there's nothing glorious or monumental about taking a squirrel, but hunting shouldn't always be about the trophy.

Squirrel hunting may very well be the most unconstrained type of hunting in existence. It doesn't require countless hours of sitting in one spot, nor does it involve a great deal of advance preparation or specialized equipment. All you have to do is locate the appropriate habitat and stroll through the area with your eyes on the trees.

So, what constitutes an appropriate habitat for squirrels? In North America, some of the most commonly hunted species are the fox squirrel and the gray squirrel. Both species dwell in trees and are particularly partial to oaks. Oak trees provide an abundance of acorns, one of the staples of the squirrel diet. While squirrels live in a variety of habitats, oak forests are the ideal place to hunt. The majority of the squirrel population will be found in such an environment.

Now that you've located the meat source for a batch of homemade squirrel dumplings, how do you go about bagging some dinner? There are two general methods of pursuing squirrels. Method number one involves the hunter finding a comfortable place to sit on the ground and using a large oak tree for a backrest. You will want to choose this spot carefully. The ideal location will not only be comfortable, but will also give you a clear view of several other oaks in the area. You will be looking for movement in the upper branches of the trees. Squirrel activity may come to a standstill during your approach to the area, but once you've been seated and motionless for a few minutes, the squirrels will likely forget that you've encroached on their territory and begin to go about their usual activities. Watch for opportunities to harvest squirrels at your leisure from your seated vantage point.

Method number two involves a relaxed stroll through the woods. Often, squirrels will become upset then they see a human entering their territory, and they will sit on tree limbs and make vocal warnings to you. These warnings are called chatter or barks. During moments of warning chatter, you will have opportunities to harvest squirrels. However, if you wait until the squirrel has stopped chattering, you may find your shot to be a little more challenging. Many times, the squirrel will give you a warning, then scurry farther up the tree, or maybe even disappear into a hole in the trunk. Squirrel hunting involves many opportunities, as well as plenty of missed chances.

Squirrel hunting is not only a relaxing hunt for adults, but can also be an excellent way to introduce a child to hunting. Because this is a hunt that can be done while walking, it is an especially excellent opportunity for children who have difficulty with sitting still for long periods of time.

Take some time during this squirrel season to dust off your shotgun, pull on your boots and slip on that old squirrel vest you haven't worn in years. Get away from civilization for a few hours. Spend some time communing with nature, while harvesting the main ingredient for a mouth-watering bowlful of squirrel dumplings. Don't let squirrel hunting truly become a lost art. Head to the woods and enjoy the hunt.