When it comes to using pellet guns for hunting rather than target shooting or plinking, squirrels are a common and noteworthy target. They are plentiful creatures, as well as small, allowing for humane pellet gun kills. Whether you need to get back at the nuisances harassing your property or would like to hunt some squirrels for recreation, there are a few important things to know first.
Step number one: consult your local hunting laws. Squirrels are considered game animals, which means there are regulations, bag limits, and seasons. In some states, if the squirrels are within a certain number of yards to your home and you are far enough away from other people you may hunt them at your discretion. For information regarding your local laws, check out this database.
Once you are familiar with your local laws, we can get to the fun part. First, you’ll need a pellet gun. If you decide to go with a .177 caliber rifle (usually cheaper and more accurate) make sure the FPS is at least 1000. Anything less and you will likely not make humane kills with your poor squirrel. You’ll also want to make sure you aim carefully for the head or chest. For a .177 caliber rifle, the Hornet would be a safe bet. If you instead decide to go with a .22 caliber rifle (what I’d recommend for any form of hunting with pellet guns) make sure the FPS is at least 800. A .22 caliber pellet gun is generally preferable, as the increased power will result in a higher chance of killing the squirrel rather than just injuring it. An RWS or Crosman Nitro are two of my favorites in this category and would be great choices.
Now that you have your pellet gun model, I’d like to provide some general advice and techniques for hunting squirrels. If you’re stalking some prey, keep in mind that squirrels generally will not move when you are. An effective technique is taking a few steps, halting, listening, and then starting to move again. Try rubbing two quarters together occasionally, as squirrels are territorial and will come to check out if the “cutting” sound is within their territory. When it comes to type of trees that squirrels like to hang out in, look for oak, hickory, walnut, mulberry, or (their favorite) beechnuts.
I hope you’ve found this article informative hunters, and feel free to leave some comments below. Good Luck!
by Alex Glazer