On Thursday, a free webinar was offered to introduce people to squirrel hunting strategies and an entry into hunting in general.
The webinar was offered by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, where speakers gave tips on the types of squirrel species found in North Carolina, habitats, exploration, hunting strategies, and cooking techniques.
R3 fighter specialist Walter “Deet” James, who was a speaker during the webinar, said in a press release that the event was open to people of all skill levels.
“However, it is especially designed for people who have never hunted and don’t have access to a hunting mentor,” James said.
Other speakers during the webinar included Luke Weingarten, President of the North Carolina BHA, and Phillip Widener, President of the North Carolina State University BHA.
Speakers discussed the three species of squirrels: gray, red and fox squirrels, which can be hunted throughout the state.
James explained at the beginning of the webinar that active hunting in the state has decreased since the Baby Boomer generation is getting older and has been less active, with people reaching age 60 dropping significantly.
“That is a large cohort of people who are going to leave,” he said. “Are we really replacing people like we once did? No. Do we need to replace them? No, but again concerns about stabilization. We want to keep hunting.”
Maintaining a healthy game population helps fund conservation, James said.
Weingarten said that hunting provides an opportunity for people to learn about the outdoor world, and squirrel hunting is a great introduction to hunting.
“It lasts a lifetime,” he said. “The skills you develop and build in the squirrel forest are absolutely transferable to pretty much every game you can chase in the woods of North America. So this is something that is an incredibly valuable skill or skill set that you can develop. It’s a very low-impact way to get out into the woods.”
One thing that was emphasized was the required hunting license and the value of the Hunter Safety Course, which is valid in all 50 states for life.
Weingarten said he and other hunters have found that taking the course as an entry into the hunt is beneficial and can even be done online. He also made it clear that bright orange 360-degree visibility is required, which a hat does “very well.”
For hunting seasons, Widener explained when people might hunt a specific squirrel:
• Gray and red squirrels (2021-2022), from October 18 to February 2. 28 with a daily limit of eight with no possession or season limit.
• Fox Squirrel (2021-2022), from October 18 to January 1. 31 with a daily limit of one, possession limit of two, and a season limit of 10.
The group discussed all ranges of shotguns to be beneficial for squirrel hunting and a .22LR is sufficient. According to the discussion, the location of the shot included the head apart from the general central mass area.
According to the group discussion, the best places to hunt are usually hunting grounds that have trees marked with double horizontal lines in red or orange paint and NCWRC signs indicating public hunting land. Areas marked with purple paint are private land.