From Snowshoe Hares to the Gray Fox:


From Snowshoe Hares to the Gray Fox: Enjoy the Small Game Hunting Season

This time of year brings many things: the hardest snows, the ice storms, and the slight depression that follows when deer hunting season has come to an end. However, when it comes to late-season small game hunting across the U.S., excitement can still be found. From the squirrel to the rabbit, which are prime examples, not only can you still “bag” a prize, but you can also have a great time with family and friends.

This time of year brings many things: the hardest snows, the ice storms
Man in high visibility vest, face not visible, with shotgun and black labrador retriever standing alert on a rugged field with dry grasses in foreground and tall grasses on a hilly background in Hawkes Bay

Keeping us active outdoors is something that small game hunting provides. Truly invigorating, the species are highly plentiful and can be hunted for extended seasons in many states, allowing you to keep your shooting skills sharp before the deer are once again in your scope.

It’s also good to remember that if you’re wishing to train a pup in order to hunt with you in the fall, now is the perfect time. The dog gets to exercise and practice, and hone their skills on the entire menu of small game that you can choose from. Depending on where you live and hunt you can opt for the birds, but the gray and fox squirrels, as well as the long line of rabbits, are just as much fun to score.

When it comes to squirrels and fox species, they can be found amongst the more mature, deciduous forests where they thrive during the winter months. The mature trees are used to nest in and feed from while the cold air takes over. The rabbit species use very different habitats from one another, but wherever the winters are tough, and snow is piled high, the snowshoe hare is far more common. Having the ability to sit atop the snow drifts, you can also find them in your nearby forests; whereas, cottontails choose the dense, brushy woodlots and overgrown fields.

When it comes to the gear, if you’re an avid hunter this will not be a difficult thing to gather. As with any game, you need the right gun for the hunt. For rabbit and squirrel hunting, most will agree that the best caliber is a .22, like the Henry Classic Lever Action 22LR. Fun and fast, this rifle provides that classic Western style action. The open sights are accurate for close-up shots, but you can always add a scope for tack-driving shots at further distances, making it one of the best rabbit guns available. And always make sure that the warm clothing, hunting vest, and good boots are part of the day’s gear.

When it comes to winter rabbit hunting, you can be successful by yourself or with a partner. One of the best methods is to walk along key winter habitat areas, pausing frequently, gun at the ready. This will often scare a rabbit into flushing out of cover. If working with a partner, you can make miniature drives for each other. One person basically stands in a spot where they can see at a distance or along a dominant rabbit trail, while the other makes a circle through thick cover to try and flush a rabbit towards the hunter in wait.

And when it comes to squirrel hunting, start the hunt by quietly walking through a mature forest, keeping an eye on the canopy. You may startle a feeding squirrel from the ground, but by the time you notice them, they’ll likely already be up in a tree. Therefore, when you spot one, try to close the distance as best as you can. Then, use other trees for rests if you’re using a rifle so you can attain both accurate and ethical shots.

Now is the time to set aside that TV remote, get the puppy version of “Rover” by your side, and head out to enjoy that small game hunt.

Original Source: Sportsmans

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