By Cara Hunt
In The Early Season It’s Easy to Forget Your Hunting Skills
When you’re ready to go squirrel hunting, you’re excited to get in the woods and bag a mess of bushy tails. But if you’re not careful, you’ll be coming home with a lot of nothing to show for all your excitement. The most important thing for squirrel hunters to understand, especially those new to the sport, is that fruitful squirrel hunting doesn’t happen overnight. Here are a few hunting skills in reverse: things to avoid. For seasoned hunters who need a refresher, be honest with yourself. It’s likely you’ve made at least one, if not all of the following mistakes when you’ve gone out on a hunt.
1. You make noise – a lot of noise. Most hunters don’t realize just how much noise they make when they tromp into a hunting ground. Even the slightest snap of a twig can cause every bushy tail in the area to run for cover and stay there for a long time. You may think you’re walking quietly, but to those squirrels you sound like a circus parade. Learning to walk as quietly as possible is a key hunting skill, and as you improve your stalking you’ll find that squirrel hunting becomes much more fruitful.
2. You lose your patience, give up and go home. Every experienced hunter knows that good things come to those who wait. In most cases you won’t walk into a hunting area and immediately come across a large group of squirrels. Be realistic and understand that you may have to wait 15 minutes or more for squirrels to become active after you’ve taken up a position. You may even have to wait 30 minutes or more before you see your first squirrel since, just like people, squirrels sit and take a breather between feedings. And remember, the more noise you make, the longer your wait becomes.
3. You think it’s one and done. Squirrel hunting is not a one and done kind of deal. Once you shoot a squirrel, you should immediately go directly to the squirrel and make sure it is dead. Squirrels don’t always die the first time around and if you take it for granted that your one bullet will do these critters in, you’re likely to go home empty-handed.
4. You don’t hunt enough. Your spouse may not want to hear it or believe it, but the only way you’re going to get good at squirrel hunting is to go out as often as possible. Not only will regular hunting make you better at being quiet and patient, you’ll also become more familiar with the habits of your prey and the lay of the land. The more time you spend in your hunting area, the most likely you are to come home with your prize. Or multiple prizes, each and every time.
5. You don’t give the squirrels enough credit. Deer hunters quickly learn that deer are intelligent animals and that they know when you’re coming and where you’re at, long before you see them. Squirrels are equally, if not more, intelligent than most other animals. Not to mention they’re much smaller, more difficult to lock on and they’re super quick.
Remember, when you’re hunting squirrels, the worst thing you can do is go in half-cocked and overconfident. You should come in believing that you’ll take home the kill but never underestimate the power of animals on their home turf. Seasoned hunters know that squirrel hunting is a great time to hone their hunting skills.
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