6 tips for successful early season squirrel hunting

Squirrel hunting season in Louisiana begins on October 5. Read on for six tips from veteran squirrel hunters for filling your hunting bag early in the season.

Squirrel season is just around the corner, and this popular weekend kickoff (Oct. 5-6) draws an estimated 73,000 hunters to the Louisiana woods looking for this small game species, according to the most recent hunter survey conducted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. .

Here are some shared observations, tips and tactics for a complete game bag on opening day.

After all, the point of squirrel hunting with family and friends is to bring home enough bushy tails to enjoy an enjoyable “Saturday Night in Louisiana” experience consisting of delicious squirrel cooking, camp camaraderie and catch the LSU-Utah State football game at Tiger Stadium or on TV or radio.

hunt squirrel places

According to Cody Cedotal, LDWF small game study leader, mast production was pretty good last fall in most of Louisiana, so hunters will do well when chasing squirrels in hardwood forests, and swampy lowlands when they occur.

However, when hunting pine forests, novice hunters are urged to hunt in management zones alongside streams where hardwoods normally proliferate, rather than seek out the few squirrels that inhabit pure pine plantations.

According to Cedotal, the top three state Wildlife Management Areas that turned over the most squirrels per hunter effort were the Richard K. Yancey WMA in Concordia Parish, the Sherburne WMA, and the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge in Pointe Coupee, Iberville and St. Martin parishes; and Dewey Wills WMA in Catahoula and LaSalle parishes.

Hunt all phases of the moon

Sammy Guillory of Breaux Bridge walks fast, covering a lot of ground during the early part of squirrel season because the trees are thick with leaves, hiding him from the bushy-tailed, sharp eyes.

By Saturday, October 5, squirrel hunters shouldn’t have to worry about opening weekend and the rest of the week. The moon phase will be in its first quarter, shedding little light, suggesting moderate night feeding for the rest of the week.

However, Sammy Guillory of Breaux Bridge won’t let the full or new moon stop him. Most of the time, Guillory, a 57-year-old veteran hunter, will take his limit of eight squirrels regardless of moon phase.

“I don’t let full moons and new moons bother me, although I hope to spend more time in the forest during those periods,” Guillory said. “It seems that the more light there is at night, the later in the day the squirrels will move around and feed.”

Constant and continuous movement

The speed of walking through the woods and catching squirrels depends on the time of the season. During opening week, well-camouflaged hunters can get by by walking fast and killing squirrels, mainly because the thick forest canopy hides hunters from the sharp, bushy-tailed eyes. If the grounds are wet from light rains prior to opening, this is even better as it allows hunters to move quietly without the crunching noise of dried and fallen foliage underfoot.

Use squirrel calls

There are two basic types of manufactured calls for squirrels: bellows-style calls (right) and whistle calls (left). Hunters use bellows-style calls (barrel calls) as a locating call that mimics barking and chattering, and squirrel whistles are used to mimic the distress calls of young squirrels.

Many hunters miss out on a lot of excitement by not using squirrel calls early in the season. Truth be told, squirrels can be called to your location quite successfully in the same way that turkeys and waterfowl respond to calls. It just takes time to practice the same way hunters prepare for waterfowl and turkey seasons.

There are two basic types of manufactured calls: bellows-style calls and whistle calls.

Hunters use bellows-style calls, also known as barrel calls, as a locating tool that mimics the barking and chattering of gray squirrels and foxes. It is usually the hunter’s first call to locate squirrels who will usually respond to effective calls.

Squirrel whistles are used to mimic the distress calls of young squirrels.

Port Barre’s Myron Berzas is certainly attached to his Mr. Squirrel Whistle distributed by Haydel’s Game Calls.

“I use it when I hear a squirrel barking and I can’t get close because there’s a clearing in the woods or some barrier between me and the squirrel,” said Berzas, 51. “I’ll make a few short whistles. while hitting a small, leafy branch on the ground.

“Not always, but quite often, a squirrel will respond by moving to where I’m standing.

“I’ve taken a lot more squirrels with the whistle than with any other call,” Berzas said.

feeding times

Many hunters believe and swear by the feeding times of the Solunar Tables. In the experience of some, there have been successes and failures regardless of feeding times published in newspapers and magazines. You may want to visit the Lunar Times at LouisianaSportsman.com for consideration regarding the game’s move for October.

use your ears to hear

Too often, hunters rely only on their eyes to look for squirrels moving in the trees.

Myron Berzas examines a big-headed, blonde fox squirrel (also known as a laughing head) he killed in western Louisiana.

The beloved late Harry Soileau of Opelousas mentored his sons and many young squirrel hunters in Acadiana and strongly emphasized that they just sit still and listen for a while, especially in the early light of day.

Many hunters mistakenly assume they are hearing dew drops falling from the foliage of trees, when in fact, the tiny parts of falling acorns, pinecones and other masts are responsible for the noise.

“If I hear a squirrel feeding on oak, hickory or pine trees, and I can’t see it, I’ll look at the sun through the suspected food tree to see pine dust or mast particles falling,” said Berzas, one of the members of Soileau. hunting apprentices. “Often, I will follow with my eyes the trail of particles falling upwards to the almost motionless squirrel feeding.”

There you have it, some tips from expert squirrel hunters with many years of experience.

On the Saturday morning of the opening, there’s nothing better than heading into the woods early and killing enough squirrels for gravy or grease by noon or dinner time. After the hunt, it will be necessary to clean, cut and season the squirrels and make other culinary preparations.

And as usual, cook some rice.

Enjoy the starter for the Louisiana Squirrel and the Geaux LSU Tigers.

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