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#3358575 - 09/13/13 08:47 PM Squirrel limit tips.... (long read)
redblood
16 Point


Registered: 01/22/06
Posts: 15381
Loc: Lewisburg

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I have recieved several pm's and questions asked with in threads about sharing tips and techniques that for being effective in the squirrel woods with a rifle. I apologize it has taken me so long to post this but my schedule has been terrible the last couple of weeks. I will say first hand there are NO tips that i could give with a shotgun because i have never hunted squirrels with one and never plan to. My first tidbit advice is to read the thread TN'S TOUGHEST LIMIT, you should find it on the first page in this forum. It will highlight the motivation for trying to perfect hunting technique for TN squirrels (something i still have not done except for one hunt).

I guess the most important thing that i have seen from years of hunting tournaments and with other people is that you have to be focused on killing squirrels. Seems like a ton of hunters who take the woods in search of bushytails are more focused on checkin trail cams, hanging stands and scouting for deer. Those are great activities, no doubt, but they are going to hurt your chances for killing a large number of squirrels. if you are truely serious about it, and are consumed with desire to reach your limit, deer shouldnt be on your mind at all.

The second factor of success is that kill a bunch of squirrels you have to see a bunch of squirrels. I figure that to kill limit, most times you will need to see 15-18 squirrels and shoot at 11-13. Those October oak thickets that were crawling with squirrels, right before halloween last yr will more than likely not produce a limit in August or September. Limits ride on the limbs of hickories not Oaks. In addition, the block being hunted needs to be large enough to handle the foot travel and shooting required to reach the magic number of 10. The smallest block of woods i hunt is roughly 7-8 acres. Small tracts must be prime to be huntable in my experience. It doesnt take long to shoot those blocks out. Better make those shots count.

The third factor of success hinges on the shooter and the gun. I strive to kill 10 squirrels in 10 shots. I did it once in 2006. i have gone 10-11 many times. I typically go 10-12 or 10-13. Seems there is always a squirrel that requires an additional shot to finish or dislodge from a tree. I read alot of hunters on here who say that they use a shotgun because there are too many leaves on the tree or the squirrels are too high for a 22. I have never seen a tree that is too high for a 22 and i hunt some really old forests, that have never seen a chainsaw. To be successful you have be patient on the shot and quick on the trigger. sounds impossible but seasoned squirrel hunters know of what i speak.you must anticipate the opening they are gonna to cross and be ready to touch off a precise shot at a milliseconds notice. A light trigger and thin crosshairs will help your cause. Hunters who are used to hunting big slow targets like deer will often struggle with this. Time and repetition will cure this. I have hunted with (predominatly)deer hunters who wait and wait on the perfect steady still shot. AINT GONNA HAPPEN. when i see limbs swishing, its locate a rest tree, safety off, track him, let him settle, shoot.I say this to myself many times during the hunt. It is a part of the process.

Next, to kill a limit, you must be able to recover the squirrels you shoot. That can be tough in a tight canopy. As a kid, i couldnt count how many times i flirted with a limit, only to fall a squirrel or two short because i couldnt recover a squirrel or 3 that i shot out. Nothing is more frustrating that to lose a squirrel that u know u killed because you dont know where he fell. I had to learn to mark my trees BEFORE the shot. I rarely ever lose a squirrel now- 2 yrs and counting since my last one (knock on wood). Also i had to find the right ammo to minimize ground travel on a fatality hit squirrel. Those 4 or 5 feet can make a difference between a recovered squirrel and a lost one, especially in heavy foliage. High velocity hollow points are the only way to go in my experience.

To kill a limit, you need to be able to recognize a killable squirrel from an unkillable squirrel. After many years in the fall squirrel woods, i have come to the conclusion that all squirrels can be classified in 3 ways- barkers, travelors and cutters. Your success will be hinged to killing travelors. They work faster and offer kill shots more quickly. Barkers often take too much time to locate and spook before you locate them. Remember, they are barking for a reason- they are spooked. Cutters can be nice bonuses but can be tough to locate in the early season. I usually ony mess with cutters if i know that my limit is not in jeopardy and if the cutter is in a small tree.

Finally, stay mobile. watch the clock. squirrels slow down at 8 and shut off at 9. Over time you will learn which squirrels to follow and which to wave at. Rarely will I wait at one point beyond 20 minutes.I can always hear the clock ticking. If i am at squirrel 8 at 6:50, i will take my time and maybe give a cutter a trial run. If i am at squirrel 6 at 7:45, i am trying to locate a travelor.

I never use calls, shoot nests, sit in a treestand or use any gimmicks. I have owned all the rifles, but feel the 22LR is the only option. They are light, quiet and have the right blend of accuracy, bullet selection and affordablity to shoot.I have hunted with guys who used 17 hmrs and 22 mags and they typically did not fair well in the competition- those guns are just a bit loud and suppress activity, especially in smaller tracts. Likewise, the super heavy 10/22 configurations with high mounts and big scopes are too heavy and cumbersome to be consistently effective- You will find those guys wanting to set up and wait on the squirrels to come to them and that just dont work. I believe that if you have a light, balance accurate rifle with good optics, quality ammo and a steady hand you have everything you need.

Stay light, stay mobile. I think squirrel hunting is the purest form of hunting. What could be better than trying to harvest a limit of animals who have the vantage point on us. It incorporates stealth, accuracy, tree ID, mobility, tracking and time management. It is truely a southern heritage and for some, it is an untapped resource. I hope that u will take advantage of some of the finest hunting the Volunteer State has to offer, and one of the toughest challenges you can embark on.




Edited by redblood (09/13/13 11:23 PM)
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#3358731 - 09/13/13 10:58 PM Re: Squirrel limit tips.... (long read) [Re: redblood]
JAD
4 Point


Registered: 07/04/02
Posts: 231
Loc: Murfreesboro,Tennessee

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Great post. Thanks.
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#3358733 - 09/13/13 11:11 PM Re: Squirrel limit tips.... (long read) [Re: JAD]
Stevie Ray
Spike


Registered: 12/03/07
Posts: 41
Loc: Collierville, TN

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Thanks Redblood. I was one who had requested information from you and this read was very informative. Now, if I can just put it in use and make it work, lol.
Thanks again for taking the time to answer the many questions.

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#3358734 - 09/13/13 11:16 PM Re: Squirrel limit tips.... (long read) [Re: Stevie Ray]
redblood
16 Point


Registered: 01/22/06
Posts: 15381
Loc: Lewisburg

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 Originally Posted By: Stevie Ray
Thanks Redblood. I was one who had requested information from you and this read was very informative. Now, if I can just put it in use and make it work, lol.
Thanks again for taking the time to answer the many questions.



i apologize for taking so long. i started on it last night and fell asleep about 5 minutes in. i guess i even bore myself, lol
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#3358746 - 09/14/13 12:04 AM Re: Squirrel limit tips.... (long read) [Re: redblood]
FOX FIRE
8 Point


Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1325
Loc: Mt. Eagle

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Good idea for the post, thanks Stevie Ray & Red blood, always love anything squirrel hunt'n.
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#3358898 - 09/14/13 08:41 AM Re: Squirrel limit tips.... (long read) [Re: FOX FIRE]
TNRazorback
6 Point


Registered: 11/28/11
Posts: 950
Loc: Tipton County, TN

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Awesome insight redblood, appreciate you writing it up
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#3358902 - 09/14/13 08:45 AM Re: Squirrel limit tips.... (long read) [Re: FOX FIRE]
JAD
4 Point


Registered: 07/04/02
Posts: 231
Loc: Murfreesboro,Tennessee

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I'm the guy who's guilty of spotting the squirrel, then waiting, and waiting, and waiting for that perfect shot....and wind up with no shot. Advice taken, Redblood, I'm taking the first decent shot I get and doing it QUICK! Thanks.
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#3358940 - 09/14/13 09:55 AM Re: Squirrel limit tips.... (long read) [Re: JAD]
redblood
16 Point


Registered: 01/22/06
Posts: 15381
Loc: Lewisburg

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 Originally Posted By: JAD
I'm the guy who's guilty of spotting the squirrel, then waiting, and waiting, and waiting for that perfect shot....and wind up with no shot. Advice taken, Redblood, I'm taking the first decent shot I get and doing it QUICK! Thanks.


i think that is the hardest thing to do. I think tomorrow morn will be prime. got some sleep last night, so i will be in the saddle in the morn. good luck to all
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#3358958 - 09/14/13 10:17 AM Re: Squirrel limit tips.... (long read) [Re: redblood]
Deer Assassin
Non-Typical


Registered: 08/01/03
Posts: 88400
Loc: Kingston Springs

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great post great tips
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#3359009 - 09/14/13 11:19 AM Re: Squirrel limit tips.... (long read) [Re: Deer Assassin]
ghostfive
8 Point


Registered: 05/05/13
Posts: 1682
Loc: Bedford county TN

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Great post.
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