SPOT AND STALK SQUIR­RELS LIKE BIG GAME

Field and Stream - - EAST -

I saw the green leaves rus­tle and spot­ted an arc of long, fine hairs through my bi­nos. “Stay right be­hind me,” I said. We slipped to the back side of a huge oak, and when we peered around the side, there he was, sit­ting on a burl and close. Jack­son shot—and the Nerf dart bounced off the tree as the squir­rel turned it­self in­side out get­ting away. My son’s not old enough to carry a real gun in New York yet. But my real .410 worked fine, and we had a blast that day. The opener is per­fect for bring­ing a kid squir­rel hunt­ing be­cause all that fo­liage means you don’t have to sit and wait—which is bor­ing for a kid. In­stead, you have enough cover to go af­ter them. Bring good glass, and give the hunt all the drama of a big-game spot-and-stalk. Most squir­rel open­ers in the East start far enough ahead of bow deer sea­son that you needn’t worry much about the dis­tur­bance. Just avoid bed­ding ar­eas. If you’re wor­ried, use sub­sonic .22s. Or make it easy for the kid—hand him a shot­gun, let him shoot, and the deer be damned. —D.H.

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