Missouri’s Squirrel Season is a Great Way to Teach Hunting Skills to Beginners
Summer may not officially start until June 21st, but for many folks Memorial Day weekend kicks off our summer activities. The pools are open, many schools are out and people are getting outside to enjoy the warmer weather.
With fishing, hiking, camping and other outdoor activities increasing, one aspect of Memorial Day weekend that’s overlooked by many is the fact that Missouri’s squirrel season opens. When I was a kid, the squirrel opener was a big event around our house. It gave me the opportunity to head to the woods and channel my inner Daniel Boone while stalking bushytails as they ran through the treetops. My mother was an outstanding cook and her fried squirrel made taking a limit well worth the effort.
Squirrel hunting is a great way to introduce new hunters and youth to the hunting sports. You can teach stealth by quietly walking through the woods, or patience by setting near a food source and waiting for the squirrels to come to you. A variety of firearms work well, including small gauge shotguns, .22 caliber rifles and even air rifles, none of which have recoil that would hinder a new shooter. Find a gun that fits them, especially younger shooters. There are a number of youth model guns on the market with a shorter length of pull that will help them shoot well. Some gun manufacturers even provide the option of changing out the stock on the gun to a longer one as the child grows. Just like taking new fishermen and women to a place where they can have success catching panfish, new hunters generally have good success hunting squirrels.
It’s important to make sure you properly equip a new hunter to ensure they enjoy the experience. Camo clothing is helpful, but not necessary. Dark clothing and learning to move slowly will still allow them to be successful. Be sure you’re prepared for ticks and mosquitos. Nothing can ruin the experience like being uncomfortable and fighting off insects. Missouri’s snakes are active and being in the woods provides a good opportunity to learn about being alert for possible hazards, while teaching them about how everything interacts in nature and the importance of every plant and animal to a healthy ecology.
Squirrels are plentiful and Missouri has plenty of public hunting options to pursue them. It’s often easier to get access to private land as well, as landowners may not mind you taking a few squirrels, even if deer and turkeys are off limits.
Missouri’s squirrel season runs May 25th through February 15th, 2020. The long season allows hunters to enjoy being outdoors in pursuit of them through the different seasons from spring through winter. For more information on seasons and bag limits, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation web site at www.mdc.mo.gov.