So, you decided hunting was something you’d like to try. Now let’s talk about what you’ll need to get started hunting squirrels.
Get familiar with the hunting regulations.
The hunting regulations are your one-stop shop to all of the rules of hunting in Georgia. They contain information such as license requirements, season dates, bag limits (how many animals you can take), and information on public land hunting opportunities.
What hunting license do you need?
To hunt squirrel, you’ll need a basic hunting license. You can get one by visiting https://www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com, by calling 1-800-366-2661 or by visiting any authorized license dealer in Georgia.
If you are 16 or older and would like to try hunting but haven’t completed hunter education, consider purchasing an Apprentice License. Although we recommend learning hunting from a mentor or another licensed hunter, you are not required to have a licensed hunter with you.
Will you need to take hunter education?
Before purchasing a basic hunting license, you’ll also need to complete hunter education if your over the age of sixteen. Hunter Education can be completed either online or in a physical classroom. For online options, visit: http://georgiawildlife.com/Hunting/HunterEdCourse. Physical classroom classes can be found at https://www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com. First click “Locate and Register for Events or Classes” and select “Hunter Safety Certification” as the event type.
If you’re not sure if you need it, check out our “Do You Need Hunter Ed?” blog.
When choosing a firearm with which to take squirrel, there are two options you’ll hear about the most.
Shotgun – The advantage of a shotgun is that you don’t have to be as precise with your shot as you do with a rifle. This helps when the animal is moving. Keep in mind the smaller the # of shot, the larger the shot. For example, #2 shot is larger than #4 shot. To hunt squirrel you’ll use #6 or #7.5 shot. The next thing to think about is the gauge. The gauge of a shotgun refers to the diameter of the barrel and affects the size of the shell and the number of pellets/shot the shell will hold. Many hunters have started with a .410 long-arm shotgun.
Rifle – A “twenty-two,” as people often call it is a rifle using .22 long rifle (.22 LR) caliber ammunition. It requires more precision than a shotgun to use. Sometimes using a scope with a rifle is helpful.
Both of these firearms are versatile and would serve you well if you decided to hunt other game.
Completing Hunter Education makes you eligible for a three-month range pass to any of the Department of Natural Resources’ shooting ranges, effective starting on the date on the back of the Hunter Education certification card you receive upon completion.
You can also practice with local gun clubs and at private ranges, and gun shops can recommend places in your area.
Camouflage is recommended, especially if you will be still-hunting (sitting in one spot and waiting) or stalk hunting.
Look for hunting clothes that include a blood-proof game pouch to store your field-dressed squirrels. Wrapping the squirrel in a plastic grocery bag and putting it in a large pocket will work as well.
- You will need a hunting knife to field-dress your squirrel. You’ll also find it useful for a number of things when you’re in the field. It doesn’t need to be fancy; it just needs to be sharp.
- For cleaning the meat you might use a pair of game shears and a type of pliers known as “catfish skinners.” In a later post we will include a video illustrating how to do this using these tools.
- A squirrel call can get squirrels up and moving.
- Binoculars come in handy, especially since squirrels rely on their camouflage for protection.
- A cooler full of ice is useful for storing harvested game when you get back to your vehicle.
Fully outfitted, you’ll have your hunting license, a firearm, practice on a range to hone your skills, camouflage with a way to store your game, a hunting knife, tools to clean your squirrel for meat, a way to keep your game fresh for transportation, and optionally a squirrel call and binoculars.
So, you’re outfitted and ready to go hunting?
Great! Hopefully this is just the first step of a lifelong love of the sport. Now you’ll need to find a place to hunt. Let’s start looking in Hunting 101: Where to Hunt.
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