Gray squirrels are Superb Consuming – some say even much better than Venison
Hunting tree squirrels in the West has by no means hit the fever pitch noticed
in Midwest and East Coast states. There are several motives that could clarify our lack of bushy tail hunting mania, but suffice it to say, if you have a versatile gun dog, it is however an additional excellent chance to get out and have enjoyable.
Gray squirrels are exceptional consuming – some say even much better than venison – and they can be identified in several habitats. From the Coast Variety to the valley floors, the Cascades to the higher desert, from Canada down into Mexico, western grays are adaptive.
AT ABOUT A year of age gray squirrels start to breed. The breeding season can run from December via June, and following just more than a six-week gestation period, up to 5 kits are born. Western gray kits will stay in the nest for up to six months – occasionally longer – which equates to setbacks in the species’ potential to effectively propagate in an region, in particular when competing with squirrels that fledge sooner.
Due to the vulnerability of western gray populations, verify neighborhood hunting regs for seasons and bag limits. At present, westerns are protected in Washington and can’t be hunted there.
Acorns and pine seeds are main meals sources of these squirrels, even though they’ll feed on fir and other seeds in the region. Populations are largely impacted by how a lot meals there is every year, which is determined by climate circumstances.
Western grays are diurnal, producing them excellent to hunt with a dog. When
they typically feed in and travel via treetops early in the morning and in the evening, they can also be identified foraging for seeds on the ground
all through the day.
I like to come across fantastic habitat and glass the trees early and late in the day, and cover ground with my dogs the rest of the time.
Gray squirrels leave a lot of scent on the ground, and dogs can simply track and tree them. Chases are generally quick, so your dog will not get winded, or run as well far in some of the rugged lands these squirrels get in touch with residence.
A Great BINOCULAR is important when hunting western gray squirrels, as is a quite correct .22 rifle. I shoot a Browning lever-action .22 topped with a 3×9 Trijicon AccuPoint scope, with a green fiber optic illuminated dot reticle.
A top quality scope aids choose out the squirrel’s little head, which is a fantastic target so as not to ruin the meat. For the reason that these squirrels can be
in shade, thick cover, heavy shadows and extra, they take on several
shades of gray, white, and black, which is exactly where a top quality scope shines. There is some excellent .22 ammo readily available currently, a lot extra impressive than 40 years ago when I began squirrel hunting.
Be positive to test out a couple of brands to see which ones shoot most effective in your rifle. I like a scoped .22 versus an open sighted rifle simply because iron sights typically cover the head of a squirrel. When danger is sensed, grays typically climb higher into trees, or lay flat on a fat branch or amid thick cover, producing precise shot placement important.
If hunting in an region exactly where a .22 projectile is questionable, opt for a shotgun. Field loads of size six shot are a fantastic decision, and the pellets will not travel far. I also like taking a mono-pod into the squirrel woods. It not only tends to make for a excellent walking stick, it aids steady the gun for an correct shot. Occasionally you may well be waiting numerous minutes for a treed squirrel to present a shot, and holding a gun that extended can outcome in shaky aim.
A VERSATILE GUN dog is also excellent at retrieving downed squirrels, which is a luxury when hunting forests with tall ferns and thick salal. Knock a squirrel out of a significant Doug fir, on a steep, downward-facing slope, and the retrieve can be nicely more than 100 yards, which tends to make obtaining a dog quite good.
If you cannot hunt gray squirrels in your region, think about traveling to states that do. A rapid get in touch with to a fish and game workplace ought to aid reveal exactly where squirrel numbers are fantastic, even what other species there are to hunt, like fox or Douglas squirrels.
Yes, there’s lots of birds to hunt with your gun dog this time of year, but do not overlook squirrels such as western grays, which have a lot to give on the chase and on the dinner table, and aid make your 4 legged hunting companion that a lot extra beneficial in the field. AmSJ
Editor’s note: To see some of Scott Haugen’s puppy education video suggestions, pay a visit to scotthaugen.com. Stick to Scott on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.