Squirrel Hunting: Getting Started
a catch, mulberry trees, though found throughout Missouri, do not dominate our woodlands. They occur scattered, here and there, and not every mulberry tree produces fruit. Male flowers and female flowers commonly occur on different trees. Only trees with female flowers produce fruit. Sometimes it takes a little searching to find a female tree.
Mulberry trees do not have to be big to draw large numbers of squirrels. A tree less than 20 feet tall and less than a foot across at the stump, if loaded with fruit, will draw squirrels for weeks. Look for mulberry trees at the edge of woods or growing in the richer soil along stream bottoms.
When mulberry production drops off in July, squirrels turn their appetites to the fruits produced by black cherry trees and hackberry trees. Just before the nuts of oaks and hickories ripen, squirrels feed heavily on the fruits of black gum trees. Like mulberry trees, male flowers and female flowers of the black gum occur on different trees. Find a fruiting black gum, however, and it will be worth your efforts. In southeast Missouri, squirrels also feed on the seedpods of yellow poplar.
Gear and Guns
Equipment and clothing for squirrel hunting is simple. During the warmer months, light camouflage is in order. For safety, a hunter orange cap is a good idea. When you are stalking to get in shooting range of a squirrel, if you find the hat compromising your approach, take it off and lay it on the ground. If you have already killed a few squirrels, lay your orange hat on the ground alongside your squirrels as a good way to relocate them after you have made your stalk.
An easy way to carry squirrels is to cut a hole in one of the hind feet, then thread them on a small green stick that you cut to 3 or 4 inches in length and sharpen on both ends. The stick fits well across your fingers.
Up until the killing frosts of November and early December, squirrel hunters must deal with ticks, chiggers,
and mosquitoes. You may want to treat your clothes with a permethrin-based spray, which kills ticks, as well as a deet-based spray, which you can spray on your clothes, as well as your skin, to repel ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes. Or take other measures to avoid bites from these pests.
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