Saturday morning around daylight, the woods of East Texas will busy with squirrel hunters.
Actually, it may be pretty quiet. The tradition of squirrel hunting in our area is slowly fading away. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of serious squirrel hunters out there but it appears to be losing the appeal it once had.
There are two squirrel seasons, one that starts in October and the second season is the month of May. Even the majority of squirrel hunters do not participate in the spring season. To be honest hunting in May is far less attractive than the fall season and there are several reasons.
The cons do not outweigh the pros but if mosquitos, snakes and chiggers discourage you, then you aren’t alone.
Slipping around in low light conditions in a river bottom can be dangerous. This danger is compounded by the fact a hunter must keep their eyes up in the trees searching for game. River bottoms are synonymous with poisonous snakes and the ever-present mosquitos.
Trying to watch where you walk as well as watching the trees for movement can be exhausting mentally. Hunters can look for a tree or group of trees the squirrels are feeding in and concentrate on a small area while remaining stationary. Keep in mind large rattlesnakes will also be hunting a young squirrel for a meal.
Essentially if you find a great place that squirrels are using, chances are that big rattler knows about it as well.
What food sources do squirrels utilize in the spring? The diet of squirrels both fox and cat squirrels is diverse. Spring offerings are many but there seems to be favorites and finding these food sources is key to success. Blackberries, honeysuckle, and new buds on trees are all favorites of the spring squirrel.
For those with wild bird feeders in their yard will attest that a squirrel can perform incredible feats of gymnastics to get at a feeder. Corn at a deer feeder will always have a few resident squirrels nearby. They love mushrooms and will remove them like bank robbers once located. Fruit trees are another favorite. A pear tree at an old abandoned home site is like a magnet to the little rodents and taking a limit from a location like this is common.
Any other fruit tree is just as attractive and if left alone, the squirrels will remove all fruit in short order. Do not wait for the fruit to ripen because the squirrels won’t.
The season runs from Saturday until May 31. The limit is 10 per day in any arrangement of cats and foxes.
Good luck and watch where you step or sit.