A Morning Hunt

My small game license has been resting in my wallet since I got it in August. Not having grown up in a hunting family at all, I decided that this was the year I was going to quit talking about hunting "one day," and begin hunting. Earlier in the year, I had done some fishing and camping at nearby Pine Log and had in the back of my mind that it would be a great and convenient place to hunt about 20 minutes from my home. Not only have I never seriously hunted myself, I also don't know very many hunters either. Surprising since north Georgia is quite populated with hunting folk. So much so that camo is acceptable apparel at any time of the year.

Pine Log has it's own species specific hunting dates even within the statewide hunting seasons. Deer season is on hold at Pine Log until some time in Dec, so the parking area and ranger station were empty when I got there. Apparently, not a lot of small game hunters in the area maybe since that is all that is available to hunt there right now. I loaded up and headed into the woods with my new canvas ruck and 20ga H&R.

I could make this into a long drawn out story, but suffice it to say that I only saw 2 squirrel and neither of them came home with me. One was probably 100 yards away and sprinting in the other direction. The other I watched for about half an hour, waiting for him to come out of a thick stand of trees. He must have caught sight of me maybe, because he bolted and I didn't get a shot on him either. Regardless, it was an excellent morning out in the woods with the shotgun. I told my wife that with no one else around, it could have been the 1800's back there. We have a few months left in the small game season, so I am hoping to get two or three more trips out during this winter and see if I can get a squirrel or rabbit or two.

Anyone who has any squirrel hunting tips they'd share, I am all ears!



It was pretty high up there, but I think this is a bee hive or wasp nest

Coyote sign?





12 comments:

  1. just sit under some hickory trees - its infallible

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    1. Hickory huh? Well, we do have plenty of those. Thanks!

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    2. As stated below oaks and walnuts are good,but hickories are by far the best.
      Shooting squirrel nests is like shooting ducks that are sitting,its bad "etiquit" it just isn't done.

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  2. Looks like a beautiful morning outing! I'm sure you'll get some critters next time. :)

    I had an H&R single-shot 20ga a few years back. Nice little gun.

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    1. Ha, well I'm glad one of us is confident I'll do better next time!

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  3. Whether or not game is taken the hunt itself will awaken instincts that lay dormant within us, at least this has been my experience. Slow moving and observation are the critical foundation for any hunting endeavor. Just watching will tell you a lot. Picking up some tracking skills will take you a long way towards finding prime locations. Reading up on game habits is also good. One of the most important components to hunting success is understanding your quarry.

    If you've got oaks the hunt they are a prime habitat for many animals and most of my eastern squirrel hunting was done beneath them. A good second is spruces if you have them, squirrels here love them and often that's my go to for taking them.

    I grew up hunting and it is an integral aspect of who I am. I learned from my Grandfather first, then others over the years. I'm not an expert or a guru as I learn something new every time I go out.

    Wish we lived closer, after reading your thoughts over the past year I'm certain you'd make a helluva friend and hunting pal.

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    1. Agreed, we'd be amigos for certain.

      Someone warned me that this would be addictive, and I think they're proving right. I may just take a half day this week to try out a few of the tips you guys have offered!

      AG, what's your favorite prey to go after?

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    2. I love elk, and mule deer when I can hunt them, small game of all varieties, grouse have become a staple these days.

      Deer though are where my heart is at. I know them like I know myself. They are our meat more than any other. The relationship plays out every year, not only in the fall.

      In winter I'll walk their trails and assess how they are doing, see which bucks survived and how many doe. I'll find their sheds, and their bones for the unlucky.

      In spring I'll find the does dropping and watch the fawns from a distance. I'll kill the coyotes I see, and replant the food plots.

      I'll cut wood through the summer, the wood that will heat my home in the coming winter but I'll also be planting those cuts. Browse will be abundant, deer will thrive as will all small game than benefits from fringe and edge and browse.

      In the fall I'll take deer and fill my freezer, and the cycle will start all over.

      Because the whitetail and I are as intertwined as we are I've got to put them at the top of my list of animals I hunt.

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  4. My squirrel advice is similar to AG's above. Oaks are great. To add something different I would say to try and take notice of dens. Most of the time they're in a tree but I have seen some that are basically massive birds nests. Either way though, if you can find one of those you can basically wait them out. It doesn't take long usually but they'll come out of the nest or back to it at somepoint. Good luck.

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    1. Massive bird's nests - that's exactly what they look like and they were everywhere. We have eagles out here too now, so some of the bigger, higher ones I thought could have been theirs. Someone was telling me how they used to shoot the nest and then shoot the squirrels if/when they ran out, but that tactic didn't sound like one I want to try. Calling or waiting them out, like you said, is what I'll try. I really think I was just moving around too much, making a racket and probably scaring every living thing for miles. Like Pat McManus says, "Anything making that much noises couldn't possibly be hunting!"

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  5. Squirrels in NC make nest out of leaves and branches usually about 50 feet up next to the trunk. Like other comments mention, they like nuts so find acorn, hickory, walnut or other nut-bearing trees and just look around. If the area is hunted often they get smart and start hiding on the opposite side of the tree from you. If you sit still they will forget you are there.
    If you're in a hurry, have someone flank the tree and they will move into view.
    That third pic is a hornets nest, they aren't active in winter unless you disturb the nest.
    The scat looks like owl or hawk droppings.

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  6. I think the most fun hunt is one for small game. Keep it up and you will learn the area and become successful. Best of luck!

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