BUSHYTAILS - THE RIFLEMAN'S
The Right Gear Makes A Difference
Note: My Remington 543 Sporter cracked. The lead from
the .22 long rifle rudely introduced itself to the gray
squirrel 60-yards away. As I saw the squirrel fall,
I marked the spot and waited. Through my binoculars,
I spied in less than two minutes another squirrel on
the tree next to the willow oak where I had harvested
the first squirrel. Once more I mounted my rifle. When
the crosshairs on my 3-9X riflescope came to rest on
the squirrel's shoulder, I squeezed the trigger again.
The second squirrel fell. Before the report of my rifle
died, I heard a chattering in the treetops. I looked
to my right 40 yards and spotted a third squirrel that
had come out of its hole to bark at the report of my
rifle. This squirrel met the same fate as the first
two. Although I waited for another squirrel to appear,
10 minutes passed, and I failed to see another target.
After picking up the squirrels, I moved back to the
power line right-of-way deep in the woods where I had
hunted and then walked briefly toward my next bushytail
who hunt deer like to brag about making 300 yard or
more shots on whitetails. However, I consider anyone
who can take a squirrel at 60 to 80 yards with a .22
rifle much more of a marksman. You'll find the .22 bullet
smaller than the larger-caliber bullets used for taking
deer, the target much smaller and fewer margins for
error. But to make these long shots at bushytails, you
must have the right equipment. Those who deer hunt often
pay high prices for quality equipment because they consider
whitetail hunting the glamour sport in the hunting fraternity.
However, when you consider that in many states, you
only can take one to three deer each season and the
season only may last for a week or two, a deer rifle
doesn't provide nearly the amount of hunting opportunity
as a smaller .22 rifle does. Squirrel season in much
of the south extends to the end of February. And, in
Missouri, for instance, hunters can start back hunting
squirrels in June. To shoot accurately at long distances,
you need to purchase one of the finer-grade .22 rifles
on the market. A quality rifle that shoots accurately
over long distances may be a once-in-a-lifetime purchase.
Often when you buy one superior squirrel rifle, you
rarely will have to purchase another .22. I got my old
Remington 543 Sporter almost two decades ago. I've hunted
every squirrel season since with it in all types of
terrain and weather, and it still shoots as accurately
as it did when I took it out of the box.
many who hunt squirrels buy quality .22 rifles, they
often put 4X scopes or 2-7X scopes on them. But I've
discovered to reach out and touch these bushytails at
long range, I prefer a 3-9X riflescope. To squirrel
hunt, one of my favorite hunting sports, effectively
and accurately, I need a good rifle, a quality scope
and also the best binoculars I can buy. I'll only find
the rifle and the scope effective if I can see the squirrel.
Spotting a bushytail lying on the limb at 60 yards will
test even Superman's X-ray vision without binoculars
and a riflescope. However, from 60 to 80 yards with
these optics, I can distinguish the difference between
a squirrel's tail swishing or a bird's wings flapping.
I also can determine if a bump on a limb is a squirrel's
head or a knot on the limb. I particularly enjoy lightweight
binoculars that have superior light-gathering qualities,
which many optics companies offer today. Using quality
optics enables me to bag bushytails at long range.
like most squirrel hunters, I wear camouflage clothing.
Early in the year, I like the green-leaf patterns. However,
when the leaves leave the trees, I prefer a more bark-type
camo because the forest floor will have more browns
and tree-type structure present. If the trees and bushes
have little foliage, I wear a full headnet and gloves
like I do when I hunt turkeys. Like a soldier, the squirrel
hunter lives or dies in his boots. Because I like to
hunt all day, I rank foot comfort as very important.
If I hunt under dry-weather conditions where I have
few if any streams to cross, I wear the most-comfortable
and supportive boots I can buy. In wet woods or when
I know I'll have to wade creeks, mudholes or sloughs,
I wear knee-high, uninsulated rubber boots. When squirrel
hunting, I like to wear some type of game-coat or hunting
vest with a gamebag on the back, not only for carrying
my squirrels but also for packing my lunch, a compass,
my long rifle shells and squirrel calls. I always carry
a wide variety of squirrel calls including barkers,
cutters and distress calls, from various companies.
On different days and under various conditions, I may
use any or all of these calls, because I've found that
on some days some calls may work better than others.
To learn more about squirrel calls, type the words,
“Squirrel Calls,” into a Google search on
the web, and see what it brings up. For more information
on Remington’s .22 rifles, go to www.remington.com.
To learn more about camouflaged clothing, type the words,
“Camouflaged Clothing” into Google.
TOMORROW: HILL TOPPING & BUNCH