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Squirrel Hunting - What Am I Doing Wrong


HeavyUser

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This is my first year small game hunting. I've gone out twice so far, 3-4 hours a piece, and haven't seen a single damn squirrel! I'll go out in the woods and basically walk around from Noon to 4. Is still hunting not popular for squirrel hunting? Should I post up and sit back for a few hours and let them come to me?

 

Thoughts?

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What time of day are you going. They tend to lay up during the day, so mornings and evenings are best, even this time of year. 

Also, this time of year, they are on the ground a lot, so I end up scanning forward more that above. I also use a shotgun more in the winter, as most shots are moving and at a lower level. I'm not a good enough shot to consistenly hit a moving target with a .22, and I also don't like shooting a rifle through the woods. You have to be quick with the shotgun, they can really see well when they are on the ground, and if they spot you, they'll hit the tree tops and be gone. I don't know that I've ever killed a squirrel that has seen me and started running, but I've naievely chased them in hopes of getting a shot. I'm learning to let the ones that got away get away and focus on what's ahead. 

If you can find a place where they are moving and sit (a foodsource they are hitting) you're apt to do okay, as the ground this time of year is noisy and harder to navigate. I struggle sneaking up on them when there's a crunchy snow on, and it's not all that fun to walk in the stuff. 

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12 minutes ago, crappyice said:

You need to pretend to deer hunt!!! 

I'm def moving much more aggressively. That could be part of the issue.

 

11 minutes ago, Splitear said:

What time of day are you going. They tend to lay up during the day, so mornings and evenings are best, even this time of year. 

Also, this time of year, they are on the ground a lot, so I end up scanning forward more that above. I also use a shotgun more in the winter, as most shots are moving and at a lower level. I'm not a good enough shot to consistenly hit a moving target with a .22, and I also don't like shooting a rifle through the woods. You have to be quick with the shotgun, they can really see well when they are on the ground, and if they spot you, they'll hit the tree tops and be gone. I don't know that I've ever killed a squirrel that has seen me and started running, but I've naievely chased them in hopes of getting a shot. I'm learning to let the ones that got away get away and focus on what's ahead. 

If you can find a place where they are moving and sit (a foodsource they are hitting) you're apt to do okay, as the ground this time of year is noisy and harder to navigate. I struggle sneaking up on them when there's a crunchy snow on, and it's not all that fun to walk in the stuff. 

Usually around Noon-4, I figured they would be out during peak warmth. 

 

Good advice from experience, thank you!

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Just now, HeavyUser said:

I'm def moving much more aggressively. That could be part of the issue.

 

Usually around Noon-4, I figured they would be out during peak warmth. 

 

Good advice from experience, thank you!

I've had to learn a lot since moving to NY, and am still learning. Where I grew up in Southern Illinois, we have more hardwoods, especially hickory trees. Hunting squirrels cutting hickory nuts is like hunting deer over a poorly harvested cornfield. If you could find where they were cutting, you could sit in one spot and get limit in 15 minutes. 

Here, the squirrels move a lot more, usually higher in the trees. It's hard to get clear sitting shots, and I see a lot of squirrels on the ground. I hadn't hunted squirrels with a shotgun since I was in my early teens until I moved to NY, and now it seems like it's my go to more often than not. 

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2 minutes ago, Splitear said:

I've had to learn a lot since moving to NY, and am still learning. Where I grew up in Southern Illinois, we have more hardwoods, especially hickory trees. Hunting squirrels cutting hickory nuts is like hunting deer over a poorly harvested cornfield. If you could find where they were cutting, you could sit in one spot and get limit in 15 minutes. 

Here, the squirrels move a lot more, usually higher in the trees. It's hard to get clear sitting shots, and I see a lot of squirrels on the ground. I hadn't hunted squirrels with a shotgun since I was in my early teens until I moved to NY, and now it seems like it's my go to more often than not. 

Im assuming you use a 410?

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3 hours ago, HeavyUser said:

This is my first year small game hunting. I've gone out twice so far, 3-4 hours a piece, and haven't seen a single damn squirrel! I'll go out in the woods and basically walk around from Noon to 4. Is still hunting not popular for squirrel hunting? Should I post up and sit back for a few hours and let them come to me?

 

Thoughts?

Bring a portable treestand in and sit in it . Guaranteed, you will see squirrels. ;)

It would be an extremely rare sit for me without seeing multiple squirrels.

Seriously, I'm not sure what the answer is. I am an opportunistic squirrel hunter and have never specificaly tried to hunt them.

Are you hunting an area with nuts?  Beech,oak,hickory etc. .

 

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Go into the woods and act like a nut and they will swarm to you. Someone had to say it.

 

 

 

I see more of them in areas that have acorns, beech nuts, etc. Pines here and there but I tend to see more reds in pines than grays. I also see more of them deer hunting than when I actually go out chasing them. I never care anymore of I see one or not, much less shoot one. I enjoy just being out there in nature as much as zapping a tree rat.

I don't feed trolls.

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Back in the day. We would walk into an area to hunt and sit . Maybe twenty minutes with eyes trained to the tree top's while ears listening for ground zones. If nothing - move along to another area.

 

Plus just poking around the woods and seeing what other sign we might find to make note of for future hunts.

I always enjoyed squirrel hunting.

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