Winter is a great time for squirrel hunting in the Ozarks

With one of the longest hunting seasons in Missouri, more hunters have found that hunting squirrels in the winter can fill the gap until the spring turkey season begins in April. The squirrel season that began May 26 will continue through February 15 with a daily limit of 10 and a possession limit of 20 bushytails.

Harry Jackson, now 80, recalled how he used to start hunting squirrels around Memorial Day, when ticks, flying insects and thick brush made hunting difficult, but a few years ago he discovered that hunting in the winter months you can succeed without fighting the above drawback. He pointed out that the fact that the leaves are gone offers a better view in the forest so he can spot the squirrels more easily. He said: “In the winter months, you have the advantage of seeing squirrels without heavy cover, and you don’t have to fight ticks or mosquitoes. You don’t have to wear camouflage like you do when hunting waterfowl, deer and turkey.” … I usually find a good spot where I can see active squirrels and be ready when they’re in range.”

I went on my first winter squirrel hunt the day after Christmas when I found a .22 single shot rifle under the Christmas tree. My brother took me to a place that he had hunted and was always successful.

A young winter squirrel hunter with one of his squirrels.

It was a great day for winter as the temperature was in the 50’s with little wind. We found a spot near a stream where we could see 100 yards into the woods. It wasn’t long before my brother pointed out a red squirrel moving through the leaves on the ground. I watched as he approached, rifle at the ready. About 30 meters ahead, he stopped and I fired. We had the first bushytail of the day with my new gun.