I was more than eager to take you up on your offer, when Kenny Talbert recently invited me to go squirrel hunting. Although it has been many years since I had a squirrel dog, I still have a passion for the sport.
In fact, I often long for another four-legged hunting partner. But I also wonder if it would be fair to the dog.
Of course, the annual squirrel season lasts nearly 10 months, and you’d think that would give you ample hunting time. But it’s not like that. In fact, there are several variables that notoriously discourage my decision to take responsibility for another dog.
Although squirrel season begins in mid-May and continues throughout February, it makes sense that the time one spends in the woods with a squirrel dog would be limited.
Okay, let’s just say January through February is a good time as the trees are all leafless and all big game seasons are closed except archery.
So are we going to consider scheduling some hunts after the season starts back up in May? Well, one can hardly get excited about hunting during this time of year, as fishing is at its best. This is a time of year when largemouth bass are active and often continue to feed throughout the day.
Then come the first months of summer. Granted, bass aren’t that active, but one can plan on biting periods during early morning and late afternoon, and daytime highs are still tolerable enough to stay in the water long enough to catch one or two stragglers between peak biting periods.
Well, I’ll be the first to agree that you can’t blame fishing during the worst part of summer, as bass are finicky at best. In fact, it’s not uncommon to return home empty-handed after several hours on the water.
But it’s also important to recognize that with the season comes some of the most miserably high temperatures of the year. The forest canopy is covered in leaves, and let’s not forget those pesky ticks and chiggers. And much less snakes, spiders and other critters that are capable of causing a nuisance. And did I mention that this is a time when squirrels are likely to be infested with fleas?
I don’t find the idea of wandering around in the woods during this particular season intriguing. I certainly wouldn’t expect my dog to go into an environment where he could get bitten by a snake or, worse, get heat-related illness.
Now is the fall season and hopefully milder temperatures. Again, all of the aforementioned pesky creatures will be lurking in the middle of the forest. However, I suspect temperatures would become more tolerable.
So with the return of less extreme temperatures and knowing that insects and reptiles will soon disappear wherever they go during the winter months, I guess this is a time of year when one could schedule some hunts.
But wait. It’s only a matter of weeks before archery season, and I certainly need time to prepare for that long-awaited October morning when archery season is declared underway.
Modern gun deer season is coming soon, and I hardly see myself taking time to hunt squirrels when I’m focused on getting all my ducks in a row before the hunt begins.
Well, the modern weapons season will last for pretty much the entire month of December, which will take us right back to the start of next year. And here we are. Anticipating no more than a couple of months to hunt squirrels with a dog.
Of course, this is enough time to enjoy the sport. But I have to wonder how much he would actually hunt during this time of year. I must face the fact that there would be days when it would simply be too cold to go out and enjoy a season outside. And then I also have to consider other responsibilities.
So the way I see it, I could drop the tailgate and let the dog out maybe 10 or 12 times a year. That being said, I could hardly argue in favor of owning a squirrel dog at this point in my life.
I guess there’s a chance my priorities will change. But until they do, I guess I’ll wait for a four-legged hunting partner until a more opportune time.