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The Squirrel Hunting Revival

Brodie Swisher

squirrels in hand

Long before the popularity of deer and turkey hunting boomed across the country, there was squirrel hunting. There was a time when small game hunting was king. It was a way of life and a means of sustenance. However, those days are long gone. 

Deer hunting took over as a favorite for hunters across the country, and turkey populations and hunting opportunities grew to new heights as well. Small game hunting, particularly squirrel hunting, took a back seat and began to dwindle in popularity over the next several decades. 
However, despite declining hunter numbers in recent years, many hunters across the country are discovering a newfound passion for chasing squirrels in the treetops when the fall season rolls around.

There is a squirrel hunting revival taking place as hunters of all ages take advantage of all the excitement bushytails provide. Here’s a look at why squirrel hunting is finding its place once again as one of the top hunts of the season for many hunters each year. 

Supply and Demand

youth squirrel hunter

Squirrels are easy to find. They tend to be in good supply most anywhere you can find a few acres of woods. Access and opportunity are typically a short drive away. High-level squirrel hunting skills aren’t required to have a good time and put squirrels in your game vest.
Slip into the woods as the day begins to break, and lean against a tree. Squirrels will give themselves away as they begin to run the treetops in search of food. The right hickory tree in the early days of squirrel season (August/September) can provide more fun than ought to be allowed. 

The nastiest of weather conditions will typically find squirrels holed up. Otherwise, they’re readily available. You don’t have to worry about lack of activity due to migrations, hunting pressure, or nocturnal activity like with other game animals. You can pretty much always count on opportunities to arise when you’re hunting squirrels.

More Bang for Your Buck

Success comes in many forms for the hunter. And while success is not limited to punched tags, making the shot and bringing meat home at the end of the day is largely a reason why many of us spend countless hours in the woods each season. Deer and turkey hunting will always be among my favorite critters to pursue, but nothing can replace the sheer fun of squirrel hunting and the ample opportunities to do more shooting each time you step in to the woods.
Think about it. Over the course of a deer season, the average hunter might shoot a handful of times a year. Compare that to a decent squirrel hunt where you’re likely to shoot 5-10 times every time you hit the woods. Looking for more trigger time in the woods? Don’t miss out on the chance to hunt squirrels. You just won’t find another hunt that delivers the number of live targets in the woods like you will with squirrels. 

Fine Food for the Table

Let’s be honest. Squirrels get a bad rap being labeled with names like, “Tree Rat.” But despite what some hunters might think, squirrels provide some of the finest wild game you’ll find at the dinner table.

Fried squirrel, or squirrel dumplings, when done right, will change your life and make you commit to squirrel hunting for the rest of your days. My wife was a borderline vegetarian when I first met her. Now, 20-plus years later, she makes some of the finest squirrel dumplings you’ll ever eat. She’ll even admit that she likes them herself from time to time. They’re really that good. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. Squirrels are some of the tastiest table fare you’ll bring out of the woods all season long.

More Time in the Woods

young hunters with squirrels

With seasons running from August to February in many states across the country, squirrel hunting delivers more opportunity for days in the woods than most any critter out there. Go early for warm weather hunting prior to the arrival of deer season, and wrap things up in the late season with squirrels as things draw to a close in the final days of winter. 

Liberal seasons and bag limits ensure you’ll get all you can handle when it comes to one of the most popular small game animals on the planet. *Be sure to check your local rules and regulations for squirrel hunting in your state.

The Perfect Hunt for Kids

I don’t know of a better hunt out there for a child’s first hunt than squirrels. It’s the perfect way to introduce your child, friend, or neighbor to the world of hunting. Unlike deer hunting, or other hunts where you’ll spend long hours sitting in one place, squirrel hunting accommodates short attention spans and energetic young people that need to move often.
Squirrels are generally an easier target for a shotgun-toting youngster with an itch to score on their first game animal. Squirrel hunting, as well as crow hunting, can serve as basic training for many of the skills a child will utilize throughout the rest of their hunting career.  It’s the perfect hunt for a new graduate of the Hunter Education Course that’s ready to embark on their hunting journey.

squirrels on a boat
What about you? Has it been a while since you stepped into the woods in pursuit of squirrels? Whether it’s your first time, or first time in a long time, now is the time to join the squirrel hunting revival! 
Dig back to your hunting roots, and enjoy the simplicity of small game hunting at its best. Squirrel hunting can easily deliver one of your most action-packed hunts of the season, all while staying closer to home and friends and family you love the most. 

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