Many hunters, both experienced and otherwise, hear the words "squirrel hunting" and scoff. They give the activity the same kind of brushing off that many people give small game hunting in general. But squirrel hunting, especially during the winter months, is a very enjoyable activity for a number of reasons.
Chief among these is that squirrel hunting is different from other types of hunting. For one thing, there is not much competition in the way of other hunters. For another, reading sign and tracking in the snow is highly enjoyable. And then there is the peace and quiet of the hunting experience in general. Simply put, squirrel hunting can be a very fun winter activity when done correctly. Use the tips discussed below to make the most out of your first trip and improve your overall chances of success.
Though squirrels are small and skittish creatures (in addition to surprisingly smart), it is easy to track them with a little winter camouflage. When there is snow on the ground, wear whites or snow camo (and don't forget a cap!). As long as you don't make any sudden movements, the squirrels you are tracking probably won't spot you.
Winter squirrel hunting is all about head shots. An accurate, close-range rifle like the T/C Classic semi-auto .22 is generally a good bet. Throw a decent scope on there and wait. One of the best ways to hunt squirrels is to sit down and wait for them to come to you. Patience is key as waiting for a stationary squirrel results in a much higher success rate than shooting at moving ones.
Wait for Retrieval
Even after you wait for and shoot a stationary squirrel, you should continue to wait some more. Winter is hard on squirrels and after a few minutes other squirrels in the area will forget about the shot you fired and start looking for food once again. Sit tight before retrieving your first kill and you might end up with a few others to add to your catch.
With squirrels, it is generally best to skin them immediately. This is especially true in the winter when cold temperatures quickly freeze dead squirrels and make them much harder to skin. It can be a great idea to carry a good pocketknife and a handful of gallon-sized, zippered plastic bags. These will allow you to skin the squirrel while it is still slightly warm and safely store it until you get back home.
Winter squirrel hunting can be an incredibly fun activity when gone about in the right way. Yet too many hunters scoff at the idea of hunting the small rodents and never give it a try. By making use of the tips above and going out for a day of squirrel hunting yourself, you might just find that it is your new favorite winter activity.