Saturday, August 13, 2011

Scouting for Squirrel Season at the Chickahominy WMA

A few days ago I went out to scout a new area for squirrels and ducks. I went to the Chickahominy WMA. The area is only about an hour an a half away and I had heard hunters complain that the squirrels were so thick they disrupted deer hunting. I'm pleased with my new find. I saw dozens of squirrels, a couple deer, and a turkey. I thought this would be a great time to show you what I look for when scouting for squirrel season.

Like all animals, squirrels need three things; food, water, and the proper habitat. Find all three and you will probably find what you are looking for. Squirrels are basically everywhere where there are trees. The trick is finding a lot of them.

Squirrels in my area seem to prefer oak and walnut trees. They will live in and eat from pine trees, but only when they have to. When I find a nice stand of oak or walnut trees I search the ground for nut shells that have been chewed open. Squirrels have favorite eating spots, they like to bring their food to one spot and eat it there. If you find a large collection of shells you have found a squirrels dinning room.

Look closely, chewed nuts!
Once I find where the squirrels are eating, I try to find where they are living. There are a few things to look for. Number one is squirrel nests. Large, unnatural bunches of leaves high in a tree are often squirrel nests. They often retire to their nests in the heat of the day, so sometimes it is worth it to stake these out a little before noon.

Another thing to look for is wear on on trees. Lots of shredded bark around the base of a tree means that something climbs it often. I don't know of a way to tell if the tree is being used by a squirrel or something else, but it is a good sign.

This tree is well worn, something lives here
Of course, the best indicator that squirrels live in an area are squirrels! The little buggers are hard to get on camera, but I did get a couple pics.

An easy shot

This one was dumb as a rock, I could have killed it with a rock actually.

I found a quarter mile stretch of woods along a creek that was crawling with squirrels. Everywhere I looked there was another. I can't wait until September 3rd!

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