Squirrel Hunting Offers Great Opportunity After Deer Season Ends | Hunt
With a long deer season that runs from mid-August through New Years, squirrel hunting is an often overlooked opportunity for hunters in South Carolina.
It can also be a lot harder than you think. You can’t just walk around the woods with a shotgun or .22 rifle and expect to hit a limit. It takes stealth and cunning to get within range.
Squirrel season opens October 1 in Palmetto State and runs until March 1 with a daily limit of 10 bags, so there are only a few weeks left to hone your skills.
“You can probably kill more squirrels in October and November when they’re trying to fatten up for the winter. They store nuts in the ground and they’re a lot more active. But most deer hunters don’t want to roam around antlers for squirrels during deer season,” said Scott Hammond, an accomplished Cottageville deer hunter who likes to continue his time in the woods after deer season ends.
“I love squirrel hunting in January and February. It’s a great time to get out into the woods and you learn a lot. You can see all the deer trails that were in the thickets that you couldn’t see during deer season.. The leaves aren’t on the trees, so you can see a lot more of them. Once in a while, you’re lucky and find a nice (deer) antler shelter. And the squirrels are a tough opponent. They’re a lot tougher than most people. give them credit.”
Some squirrel hunters prefer to use shotguns, but Hammond said he used a .22 rifle. For many years, Hammond hunted with a .22 rifle that belonged to his grandfather, a sentimental choice he withdrew after his girlfriend gave him a long-equipped Ruger 10/22 .22 semi-automatic rifle. of a Leupold telescope.
“I hunt squirrel in my usual deer hunting areas. You should look for a hardwood area where the acorns fall. The squirrels will bury those acorns in the ground to store them for the winter,” Hammond said. “I generally do better in thicker woods rather than in wide open spaces. If you have oak trees that have a fairly thick cover, that’s where I tend to do best. I try to do most of my squirrel hunting was sliding and walking through the woods.If you think you’re going slow enough, go a little slower.
He said he usually walks 25 or 30 yards, then stops, looks and listens. He said he often stood in one place for 15 minutes to find a squirrel.
“If you can time your hunt right after a rain the squirrels are very active, or as was the case recently there have been snow showers all morning. It makes the woods much quieter to sneak around without let them hear you,” Hammond said.
He said that sometimes when he sees a squirrel out of range, he ducks down and lowers his profile to stalk his quarry.
“You don’t have to get on all fours, but you make your profile look more like a deer or a pig, something natural in the woods, rather than just walking up to them. I find I can get a lot closer that way,” he said.
“Squirrel hunting this time of year is a great way to learn your property. You don’t worry about scaring off any of your deer and you can see it all.”
Swamp Fox NWTF Banquet
The Swamp Fox Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will hold its 38th Annual Fundraising Banquet and Outdoor Expo on March 5 at the Exchange Park Exhibitor Building, located on Highway 78 in Ladson. Doors open at 5 p.m. and dinner begins at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are limited and on presale. Contact Wayne Grace Jr. at 843-834-7779 or Karen Whaley at 843-870-3480 or email [email protected]
Charleston Inshore Fishermen
The 29th Annual “Big Ed” Sheepshead Charleston Inshore Anglers Tournament will be held on April 30. The captains’ meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. April 28 at American Legion Post 147, located at 968 Folly Road. The weigh-in will also take place at post 147 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on April 30. The tournament entry fee is $40. Contact Kevin Mischke at 843-324-1006; Nick Kvestad at 843-557-2811 or Gene Broderick at 843-224-6826.
Quail Forever Fundraiser
The Mount Pleasant Chapter of Quail Forever is raising funds for the Build a Wildlife Area program during the Willie McRae Wildlife Benefit being held from 5-10 p.m. February 18 at the Cotton Dock at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant and Call of the Uplands which will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on February 19 at the Charleston Yacht Club. Visit scquailforever.org or email [email protected]
American yacht club
America’s Boating Club Charleston will be holding boating safety classes February 12 and March 12 at 1376 Orange Grove Road, Charleston. Classes start at 9 a.m. and end around 4 p.m. Successful participants are awarded the SC Department of Natural Resources Boater Education Card. Cost is $25 for adults and youth 12-18 are free. Call 843-312-2876 or email [email protected]
SALTT fishing seminars
The Student Angler League Tournament Trail (salttfishing.com) holds monthly fishing seminars on the second Tuesday of each month from 6-7 p.m. at Harvest Church, located at 3552 Old Kings Highway, Murrells Inlet. Speakers include charter boat captains and local fishing experts.
SALTT will also be hosting a bass fishing seminar from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on February 19 at J&K Outdoors, located at 1301 Highway 501 East Street in Conway. The seminar is limited to 50 participants and pre-registration is encouraged. Tickets are $11 and each student angler receives a $10 store coupon. Reservations can be made at salttfishing.com.
SALTT is a training ground for students in grades 1-12 interested in competitive fishing for rockfish or largemouth bass. Three fall tournaments and three spring tournaments are scheduled at Carroll Campbell Boat Landing in Georgetown. SALTT also hosts the annual Brody Bates Youth Redfish Open Scholarship Tournament to be held April 2 this year at Buck Hall Landing in McClellanville.