I love me some deer hunting! But my season is over, and deer season in general is quickly ending. A few short days are left here in Zone C, which ends on January 21st. But don’t forget the southeastern portion of our county, which lies on Zone B, still has whitetail opportunities open until February 18th.
But, as I mentioned, my gears have already shifted. My whitetail gear is cleaned and stowed away for a while. I’m not through hunting, though; heaven’s no! I’m just looking a bit higher up in the forest for squirrels. And I’m having a ball.
Focusing most of my hunting between the Croom and Citrus Wildlife Management Areas, I’m raking in the fixings for many a fine supper to come. As I write this, I have a big crockpot full of Brunswick stew on my mind. Lots of folks make it the same with a fat cottontail or two, but I prefer it with a half-dozen bushy tails. It never fails to make my old belly feel good all over!
Now, there are as many ways to approach a squirrel hunt as there are to cheat at cards, but my favorite way is to sit still and quiet on the edge of an oak scrub and wait for them to reveal themselves. Once I knock one back to earth, I don’t move; just let it lie and wait. It usually takes less than thirty minutes, and another will reveal himself.
If I have to wait more than an hour, I’ll relocate to a new area and start over. I can usually get four or five from an evening hunt this way. My weapon of choice has always been an ancient single-shot .410 shotgun that’s been handed down through my family. I’m the fourth generation to collect entrees with it.
More important than family history, though, shotguns are limited-range weapons. I don’t have the worry of errant shots coming down to inflict harm on anyone’s property or, God forbid, themselves. The pattern of tiny shotgun pellets goes up with plenty of force to collect a careless squirrel, then falls harmlessly back down.
Don’t forget, too, that all of my squirrel hunting now is excellent practice for the fourth annual Brooksville Squirrel Hunt, which will take place on February 17th this year. The outpouring of community support for this event has been heartwarming, to say the least. The entire premise of the hunt is to get kids into the outdoors and off their cell phones or gaming devices for a day, and they love it!
A little bit of mentorship on a fun little hunt like this can go a long way. They won’t likely remember to long about the time they leveled up or got a funny cat meme sent to them. But a day afield hunting squirrels with family members and attending the day-long Bushytail fiesta can make memories they’ll cling to throughout a lifetime!
If you’d like to sign up, email me for the information, or if you want to participate but have nowhere to go, hit me up as well. I know the local wildlife management areas like the back of my hand and will be quite happy to put you in a spot with plenty of squirrels.
And if any of you wild game chefs would like a peek at my recipe for Brunswick stew, hit me up via email as well. If you try it yourself, I know you will not be disappointed!
As always, you can reach out to me directly at [email protected]. God Bless, and good hunting!