The Squirrel Hunt: A Family Affair
Now when most of you guys think about what kind of meat to add to a stir-fry, you probably run through the standard options. Venison, elk or maybe even waterfowl might come to mind. But when I think stir-fry, I know that I need to grab my .22 or shotgun and start looking for squirrels!
If you haven't tried squirrel, you are missing out. I know it is cliche, but the best way to describe it in my opinion is, you guessed it, chicken. The big problem with the little bushy tails is the fact that you need to harvest quite a few of them to make a substantial meal. They are great fun to hunt though. And they are just about perfect game to teach a young hunter the basics. You can hunt them in just about any way that you hunt big game: Spot and stalk, still hunting or making a stand and calling. I started off hunting them with a shotgun because of my hope of running across some rabbits at the same time. I would suggest starting a young hunter off hunting them with a .22 long rifle however because it will force them to take more time and put more focus into their shot. It will help teach them to focus on a spot on the target while shooting at an animal instead of just painting the target with a shotgun bead.
The best part of squirrel hunting is that it is a great way of getting the family together. There is not the pressure that comes along with other forms of hunting and therefore it is lends itself to walking side by side with a family member through the woods. It is a very relaxed form of hunting. You can take everyone with you, including members of the family that won't be hunting. The place that we normally hunt squirrels lends itself to an entire family gathering. It's a great opportunity for us to all get together and have some winter fun. We let everyone that won't be on the hunt know exactly the direction we will be going and we don't waiver from that game plan. The place where we park the trucks is in a big meadow where many a snow ball fight and snowman making contest have been conducted.
My favorite squirrel hunting technique is to slowly move through the woods, scanning for silent squirrels within range and to listen for distant squirrel chatter. The species of squirrel that I hunt most commonly is the red (or pine) squirrel. They are very vocal and this is a great way to locate them. I like to hunt once there is a nice layer of snow on the ground to make things a little quieter.
You never know what other types of game that you might see while on a squirrel hunt. I have had the opportunity to take countless other small game animals from foxes to coyotes. So the next time you want to get out there and hunt with the family, I suggest taking them on a squirrel hunt. You won't regret it.