LITTLE ROCK – What’s a hunter to do? January is running out. Deer season is over, except for a handful of bowhunters looking for a last chance tag. Duck season is also beginning its swan song for the year, and turkey season is still months away.
This is a tip that many Arkansans already know. Squirrel and rabbit hunters have the forest practically to themselves from now until the end of February. Squirrel and rabbit seasons are open, and there is good hunting throughout the state. The daily bag limit for squirrels is 12, so reaching your limit is an all-day affair, even on the best of days.
Both rabbit and squirrel populations are good in most of Arkansas, and this year should be a bumper year for bushtail hunters. The mild winter has prevented many natural die-offs, and last year’s explosive acorn harvest in much of the state should ensure plenty of chipmunks hopping in the treetops this season. Combine this with the relatively low number of squirrel hunters visiting the woods, as bushy-tailed hunting has fallen out of favor with deer and duck hunting and you have the ingredients for excellent hunting on public land with little chance of crowding. .
Almost all of the wildlife management areas managed by the Arkansas Fish and Game Commission are open during the season dates throughout the state. A quick reference to the current Arkansas Hunting Guide or a visit to the “Where to Hunt” section of AGFC.com will guide you.
Many squirrel hunters like to hunt in late January and February for another reason. The snakes, which can cause hunters some concern in September and October, are generally not around during the winter, so hunters don’t have to keep one eye on the ground in front of them and the other eye looking up into the treetops. trees.
Long range shots are often required for late-season squirrel hunting, as most trees in the forest have long since lost their leaves. A hunter with a keen eye can see squirrels jumping in the treetops for 100 meters or more. That open sight also makes it easier for the squirrel to notice a hunter trying to stalk within shotgun range, making the rimfire rifle the tool of choice for most hunters this time of year. Many rimfire cartridges have been introduced over the years, and while some have definitely been favored by some hunters, the .22 Long Rifle is still the standard. It is often the first firearm a young hunter receives, and is a perfect fit for late winter hunts.
If a hunter chooses to go with a shotgun, a 12 or 20 gauge with brass cartridges loaded with lead will not. 4 shots will give you a little more distance to reach the treetops in mature hardwoods. Lead shot is allowed for squirrel hunting in most WMAs, but hunters should be careful to check the regulations for the specific area they will be hunting. Many national wildlife refuges require the use of non-toxic shot, regardless of the species of game being pursued.