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Thank You for asking...
Posted by Michael Strahan on Dec 09 2004
... because it once again gives me the chance to display my vast command of squirrel hunting in Alaska.
Ahem! (Mike steps up to the podium and clears his throat... the room goes silent. You wonder- is he really ten feet tall? It looks more like eleven... )
Ah, yes. The spring squirrel season. Days are long and warming up. Squirrels are scampering hither and yon. Hunters are restless... Papa's goin' huntin'!
Spring squirrel hunting, though not commonly-known, can be a productive bridge between the noisy, rambunctious chase-the-caribou-down-with-your-snowmachine season, and the rowdy, tear-up-the-tundra-with-your-ATV season. The downside is that you have to walk. The good news is that you don't have to walk far. Sure, you can hike in and set up a spike camp, but you'd be overlooking those secret little spots close to town... behind Walmart. The ornamental spruce forest next to the library. The University campus. Look for piles of spruce cone pieces, which are sometimes as much as four feet deep, beneath large spruce trees. This sort of huntin' is a waiting man's game, so be prepared for lots of sitting and glassing. Make up a few cheese sandwiches ahead of time (I use processed American cheese and lots of mayo on white bread) and seat yourself beneath a likely tree. Eventually a squirrel will show up, or you'll fall asleep. Either way, you've had a great afternoon huntin'.
On hunts like this, I like to have a friend along to back me up, just in case things get dicey. Some bull squirrels are very territorial. One false move and he's gonna take you; mostly if you're alone. That's one reason you don't see a lot of solo spring squirrel hunters. The more mature bulls also have the ability to communicate with other animals, another little-known fact. One year a good friend of mine (I can't tell you his name, but his initials are Dave Parry) was huntin' squirrels all alone. Just as he sighted down the barrel, the scope went dark. Thinking it was a mechanical failure, he looked over the top of the scope to see a chickadee perched on the end of his barrel (I am not making this up- why would I do that?). He flicked the muzzle of the rifle, and the chickadee fluttered into the air and settled once again on the muzzle. Another flick, another flutter, then again... and again. Finally the gun "went off", and the squirrel was gone in a puff of feathers. Smart squirrel.
Yep, you want to check out that spring season. One final tip: Avoid going into squirrel dens in the spring. Now, I know a lot of you younger hunters are curious about what goes on in those dens. I assure you, you don't wanna go there. Cow squirrels are very protective of their young, and have been known to charge unprepared or careless hunters. Some have been seriously hurt. One more thing (c'mon, you know I always have one more): NEVER bring nuts or seeds with you on a squirrel hunt. For starters, it could be considered baiting. Anybody with half a brain (there's a few folks here that, if you were to add it all up might be able to come up with half a brain) knows that the baiting season for squirrels is in the fall. Second, you're putting yourself at serious risk of being attacked by hungry squirrels. Sometimes the adolescent squirrels hang out in bachelor groups; in packs, and they'll attack if they think you have food. That's why I go with cheese sandwiches- peanut butter is just too risky. I used to do it years ago, but now I have a family to think about.
You're welcome for the expert advice. I know it's way more than what you asked for, but that's what I'm here for. My motto: Why say it with three words, when thirty will do? Keep 'em coming, folks. I'm here for you.
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