Gray squirrels are the most populated small game species in the state. And their hunting seasons are lengthy.
These bushy-tailed, nimble, acrobatic residents of tree tops, are bird feeder robbers and are opportunists. The other day I watched as one had a piece of pepperoni pizza in its mouth that it deposited on my neighbor’s porch. I couldn’t resist calling my neighbor to tell him Domino’s just delivered a pizza to his house.
And as said, they’re nimble, as they can hang by one foot on a thin limb to grab a nut from another branch of a walnut tree. One time while bowhunting from a tree stand, I watched as a squirrel was being chased in a tree by another squirrel and it lost its footing. It fell about 14 feet to the woodland floor but merely bounced once, then scampered off seemingly unscathed from the fall.
Squirrel hunting is a good way to introduce youngsters to the sport of hunting. As a mentor, this can be done by sitting together against a tree and scanning the treetops. And sometimes they can be called in. One simple trick used for generations is to suck on the back of a hand to make a squeaking sound. It may be enough to pique a squirrel’s curiosity and draw it into shooing range.
Speaking of shooting, squirrels can be hunted with a shotgun and small #8 shot. Problem with this is picking the spent shot out the squirrel’s body so you don’t break a tooth when eating it. A scoped .22 caliber rifle is better for a youngster as recoil is negligible compared to a shotgun, plus it sharpens a junior hunter’s shooting skills.
One good choice if you don’t already have a .22LR, is a Henry Rifle that are made in the USA. You may have seen their TV ads as they offer .22s in lever and pump actions, plus carbines that are shorter in length for a youngster. They’re quality rifles that can be handed down to upcoming generations.
In addition, squirrel’s make good table fare as their meat is sweet as their diets consist of nuts, flower buds, berries, mushrooms, pine seeds, germ at the base of a corn kernel, dogwood, wild cherry and black gum fruits. (Incidentally, the pizza scavenger squirrel didn’t eat the pizza, but merely deposited it for my neighbor to throw away)
For junior hunters, with or without a required license, squirrel hunting season runs Sept. 11-25 and that includes a Nov. 14, Sunday hunt, one of two with the other falling on Sunday, Nov. 21.
The regular squirrel season runs concurrent with a split season of Sept. 11-Nov.13; Sunday, Nov. 14; Nov.15-20; Sunday, Nov. 21; Nov. 22-26; Dec. 13-24 and Dec. 27-Feb. 28, 2022.
LIL’LE HI TROUT NURSERY SUSTAINED FISH LOSS
As a result of the rains from hurricane IDA, Lehigh Parkway’s Lil-Le Hi trout nursery sustained some damage and loss of fish. Visiting there after the storm on Thursday, volunteers from local sportsmen’s clubs were in the process of cleaning up and attempting to recapture any live and dead fish that got swept away. At that time, workers said they couldn’t get an idea of the number of fish loss until the water receded.
Since then, Herb Gottschall, president of Lehigh County Fish & Game, said they believe they lost about 200 fish that were in the 6-20-inch class. And those would have been stocked in area streams in 2022.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.