How to hunt squirrels with a gun

All you hear about southern spring squirrel season is “It’s a great fit for deer season.” Forget it. It’s a hell of a lot of fun in its own right. And it’s even more exciting if you like to hunt squirrels with a gun, as this is probably the best time of year to do it. That’s how I do it with a gun.

1. Be soft
Ignore the hickory and oak trees now because the squirrels feed on soft things, like flower buds and berries. A mulberry tree with ripe fruit attracts squirrels like nothing else, but if you can’t find one, focus on edge habitat, including fences with mature trees and small swathes of woods with plenty of new growth.

2. Use your eyes
Between scraping their teeth on hickory nuts and scampering on dry leaves, fall squirrels make a fuss. But in spring, you’ll usually see them before you hear them because the forest floor is wet and green, and they can silently munch on berries. Fortunately, the berries and shoots are quickly eaten and continue to feed squirrels on the move, making them easier to spot.

3. Get closer
Hunting with firearms is productive now because the leisurely pace, thick foliage, short wood, and unaware young squirrels allow a stealthy hunter to get close. But you still have to make the shot. For that, you need a good weapon (see sidebar) and a solid rest. I create a two-point brace against a tree by placing both the bottom of the gun barrel and the leading edge of the trigger guard against the tree trunk, with my free hand braced under it. It’s an unusual grip, as the weapon is slightly angled. But I haven’t found a better way to hold a rimfire pistol to shoot a squirrel in the treetops.