There is a time of every year when parent and child have a rare opportunity to share a unique bonding experience that is certain to be recalled with fondness and pleasure for years to come. Squirrel hunting with ones parent is oftentimes a youngster’s first hunting experience, one that is sure to be treasured for years to come. Squirrel hunting is a good place to begin understanding the secrets of nature, the challenge of survival in the wild, and the extraordinary beauty and simplicity of nature itself.
To begin, fall is the time of year when the autumn sun warms the forest floor buried beneath layers of orange, red and brown leaves that rustle and stir with gentle breezes and the squirrel hunter’s careful progress. Listening intently for the chatter and bark of red and gray squirrels, the hunters carefully search the naked oaks and maples for those crafty creatures that can easily out run and outmaneuver the unprepared hunter. Beagles, redbones and blue ticks can make squirrel hunting fast and exciting, but stealth, a good ear and a sharp eye separate skill from sport.
This is where being a parent and a mentor can be distinguished from being just a squirrel hunter. The parent understands the value of the squirrel in nature and takes the time to point out the importance of squirrels to maintaining new growth in the aging forest. He or she acknowledges the craftiness of squirrels and how they serve as guardians for turkey, deer and other wild creatures when they chatter and bark angry warnings that can be heard for quite some distance. They also point out that it is those very same sounds that betray their position and works against them when a hunter equipped with a .22 cal rife or a .410 shotgun spots them in the treetops.
There are as many ways to hunt squirrels as there are hunters, and the novice squirrel hunter should have a chance at all of them. Still hunting, for example, requires continual silence and endless patience while listening carefully for the rustle of a squirrel among the leaves littering the forest floor. Careful observation of the surrounding area coupled with a broad awareness of everything that moves within the range and shooting ability of the novice hunter are important considerations. When still hunting for squirrels, it’s best to make yourself as comfortable as possible, and not to be surprised if taking a nap in the warm glow of the autumn sun becomes more important that listening for the intrusions of the gray rascals.