People have been hunting squirrels since the beginning of time and will not be stopping anytime soon. With specialized squirrel dogs or simply a .22 in hand, diehard small game hunters and youngsters alike take to the woods and chase squirrels in an effort to fill the frying pan and spend some time in the woods. From deep woods to college campuses, squirrels can be found virtually everywhere. However, hunters should target wooded areas with nut-bearing trees like oak or hickory to improve their chances of success.
Squirrels are typically hunted two ways. The first involves the use of a squirrel “treeing” dog that is trained to run through the woods, chase a squirrel up a tree, and then bark to let the hunter know he has found one. Then, the hunter uses a rifle or shotgun to shoot the squirrel out of the tree. The other method involves still-hunting, where the hunter walks through the woods very slowly and uses either binoculars or just their eyes to locate a squirrel. They then sneak up to the tree and make a shot. This may sound easy enough, but do not be mistaken, as squirrels are crafty animals that have an incredible ability to simply disappear amongst the branches. Small caliber rifles, such as a .22, are the weapon of choice for squirrels as they do not damage the meat. However, a shotgun is preferred if the squirrels are on the move.
People seem to have an aversion to eating squirrels today and often think they are either dirty or too small to eat. This could not be further from the truth. The taste of game meat is greatly influenced by what that particular animal is eating. Squirrels eat a lot of acorns, which also happens to be a favorite of the whitetail deer, an animal that is revered for its meat quality and considered a very clean animal. When looking at size, grey squirrels and fox squirrels are significantly bigger than a quail or dove. This makes the “too small” argument invalid, as thousands of those birds are eaten every year.