The premise of hunting squirrels with a four-legged companion sounds simple. You follow them as they use their noses to track smells. Once the dog locates the game, they bark and stay there until you shoot. But don’t get too excited to try it. You might not even have a dog yet. If you want to get started with hunting squirrels with your dog, this guide will share with you the best breeds that hunt squirrels, some terms you need to learn, and the very few items you need to bring with you during the hunt!
Best Breeds that Hunt Squirrels
What breed should you look for? The two most popular breeds for squirrel dogs are the cur and the feist, although it’s not just about the breed. “Cur” shouldn’t be an offensive term, as cur dogs have been around since the colonial times. The modern cur, like the mountain cur, was refined in the 40 and developed into the cur dog we have today. They are larger than fiesta and usually range our father in search of the game. Curs use their eyes, ears, and nose, and have a greater sense of smell than most feist dogs. Curs are smart, loyal, and more sensitive than other dogs. They also need a little more time to get used to you, but once they’re familiar, the bond becomes unbreakable.
On the other hand, feists are smaller and more feisty because of their terrier lineage. They are also great companions because of their loyalty. The Mullens feist, mountain feist, and American treeing feist are all good squirrel dog breeds.
Aside from the two, hounds are also great squirrel dogs! Which camp you land in does not matter. All that matters is you pick a dog that you think will fit your own hunting requirements. If your hunting is confined to small woodlots, you may want to go with a feist. If you want your dog to cover a little more ground, think about a mountain cur.
Talking Squirrel Dogs
Of course, it doesn’t end with owning a squirrel dog. It takes consistency in routines and training to get them to hunt more efficiently with you. Basically, hunting squirrels with a dog require you to simply follow your canine buddy through the woods as he attempts to locate a squirrel, chase it up a tree, or discover which tree the squirrel is hiding in. Once the dog decides which tree the bushy tail is in, he will bark. A good dog will stay on the tree and bark until you arrive and shoot the squirrel.
Although it sounds easy since you’ll be able to find the squirrel much quicker, you still need to learn to speak your dog’s lingo and understand some terms like timbering, which means escaping squirrels. On the other hand, getting toenailed means a dog has his front feet on the bark of the tree and squirrels pinned. Bark treed is what sound the dog makes when he believes he found the game.
A dog can’t also learn to hunt sitting in the kennel, so as much as possible, take them to the woods where there is a game. Moreover, don’t concentrate on treeing first. We all want them to do this, but they have to find the game first before treeing.
You also don’t need a lot of gear when hunting squirrels with dogs. All you need to grab is your .22 rifle and maybe a shotgun. If you have a vest for turkey hunting, that will work well for squirrel hunting.