Tennessee Spring Squirrel Hunting

Spring Squirrel Season, Is Here!

Spring Squirrel Season opens this weekend here in the Great State Of Tennessee. In Tennessee we have mostly grey Squirrel’s, even though you may run up on a Red Squirrel every now and again. The Gray Squirrel ( SCIURUS CAROLINENSIS). Can be found MOSTLY East of the Mississippi and all the way up into Canada.  Remember to buy your small game hunting license before you attempt to target those bushy tails. Seasoned squirrel hunters probably already know this, but let’s hope there are some new-comers out there wanting to learn to squirrel Hunt. I’m not a professional but I have harvested my fair share, and it is one of my favorite wild species to target.

In the spring- time here in Tennessee, most of the time you will find the squirrels are still on the grond looking for food. The Mulberry;’ don’t get ripe until later in June, so there is not a lot in the trees for them to eat. Yes, there are buds that are starting to pop out that they may target,but for the most part they are on the ground looking for a cache that they or another squirrel may have hidden sometime back.

It would be wise to remember you have to use different tactics for spring squirrel hunting than in the late season. In the late season, the squirrels are targeting the nuts (Hickory or acorns) and they are all in the trees. So, then all you need to do is find a hickory tree that has an abundant crop of nuts and sit down and wait, and they will come. How do you know that you have found a good tree? Look around the base and if you see lots of cuttings (that’s where squirrels have eat nuts, and when they chew on them the carvings drop to the ground). When you find that target tree, get comfortable. The squirrels will be there. You may need to get into the woods before daybreak and wait for them.

In the spring, they will most likely be on the ground, so you can either stalk them or just sit down and wait for them to come to you. This is when I like to use my tree stands that I set up for Deer hunting. If I have a stand set up year around, I will climb up and sit there with my rifle and try to watch the ground.

Here are some interesting facts about the Grey Squirrel or the (Sciurus Carolinensis)

Teeth Squirrels have 22 teeth. The incisors have a hard layer of enamel that keeps the teeth sharp. They bite and shred food with their incisors and grin their food with their molars.

Eyes are positioned that they can see to the front side and above without ever moving their head. Studies have shown that squirrels probably don’t react to different colors.

Sense of smell is is highly developed and they can tell when a nut have been invaded with insects.

The adult squirrel’s fur is molted twice a year, once during the spring and fall.

The Tail, is used for shade and protection from the elements also with balance warmth and communication. The squirrel tail can also act as a parachute when they are jumping through the air. If you have ever wondered if a squirrel you have harvested is old or you, just look under the tail. The young or juvenile squirrels will have a black- stripes but the adults will not.

Diet-Squirrels love trees that produce nuts ( acorns, beech, hickory and walnut) to name a few. I have even killed squirrels eating Pine Cones. They also like Corn mushrooms and insects. Ever wondered why you didn’t find any antler sheds after deer season, yep the squirrels love bones to. Ask anyone who has thrown out chicken bones and seen the squirrels go after them. They get a lot of minerals from the bones.

Hoarding- the squirrels ability to store food is a measure for its survival. They hoard food so that they can survive the winter months when nothing is in season or ripe.

Nests- Nests for most grey squirrels are made from leaves (called dreys) in the summer and then they will resort to hollow trees for the winter. They call these dens.

Reproduction-The reproduction rate depends on the food supply. In seasons where the mast crop is low there may not be any litters or very few. I guess when there’s not much food, ma and a don’t feel like messing around much. In other seasons where the is plenty to eat, squirrels can have up to 2 litters each year. The average litter size is about 3 per litter and they are weaned about 8-10 weeks later.

So, what is the best way to hunt squirrels in the spring? Like I said earlier, I like to stalk down old log roads. I like to find a spot at slightly higher elevation and watch for them to come bouncing around looking for caches of food. My favorite is getting up in my treestand and sniping them. Keep in mind, Squirrels can jump vertically five feet and can leap over ten feet from object to object. Squirrels can run up a tree at 12 miles per hour. How does a hunter get the upper hand on such a fast elusive animal ? Dress in your camo clothes to blend into the environment. Be quiet in the woods. Walk slowly and quietly. Find a spot sit and wait.

Just a little information I wanted to pass on to you folks. Remember this time of year when it gets warm those pesky ticks and chiggers are out. So use some good tick and insect repellent and watch out for those snakes. I will be doing a article about squirrel hunting gear pretty soon. So until them, be safe happy hunting and God Bless.

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