Illustrations by May Van Millingen
Squirrel hunting with dogs has all the excitement of raccoon hunting of yesteryear, but is easy to manage on public lands and smaller forest tracts. Below, three squirrel dog breeders share their thoughts on the best dogs for bushy tails and the best way to get a clear picture of a squirrel hiding in tall wood.
Where I hunt: The Mississippi Delta.
my kind of dog…it’s a bit of a feist, 20 to 25 lbs. A small dog is easy to handle and you can fit more than one dog in a dog crate. I think most fighters use their eyes more than a dog, and catch the squirrel a bit quicker. I also don’t like dogs that bark loud and loud. I prefer to listen to what the other hunters say and where they move.
Target Shooting Trick: Use a green laser pointer and pass that point directly over the squirrel. Even if your friend can’t see the squirrel, just say, “See my point? Shoot him.”
Where I hunt: bottom of the Texas river.
my kind of dog…is a Ladner’s Blackmouth Dog. His lines go back more than 200 years. They range in size up to 90lbs, but I like a 40-50lb dog. Larger dogs will tire more quickly and tend to go around bushes that a small dog will pass through. Black-mouthed dogs have incredible curling ability. They will walk on their two hind legs, like a kangaroo, with their noses in the air trying to sniff out a squirrel.
Target Shooting Trick: Hunt with three or four people. One guy pulls on a vine or shakes the bushes to get the squirrel moving. All the others surround the tree. Someone will have a chance.
Where I hunt: West Virginia Mountains.
my kind of dog…is a purebred original mountain dog. I’m a long time bloodhound, and I like the similarities between the tree walkers and the original mountain dogs. Dogs tend to spread out a bit more and follow a scent trail. I like to see them work a good track. When they climb, they climb the tree, hold tight and bark a lot, like a bloodhound.
Target Shooting Trick: Tree squirrels tend to move suddenly, so keep your .22’s scope set to low power. That way, when he runs out of your crosshairs, you can follow him until he stops again.