Crossbow Pistol Small Game Hunting – Squirrels
Small game hunting is some of the most fun you can have with a crossbow pistol. It can also present a challenge and really tests your patience, skill, and accuracy. Squirrel hunting with a handheld crossbow can be a lot harder than hunting for rabbits given their location and tendencies.
Where are you at, Mr. Squirrel?
Squirrel hunting is done from September through February in most parts of the United States. As you might expect squirrels habits tend to change depending on the time and weather of the hunting season.
Early Season (September – November)
Squirrels in the early hunting season are feeding around mast trees. In particular search out oak, beech, and hickory trees. The squirrels are feeding on the fallen nuts from these trees. This is a good time to be able to take shots of squirrels that are on the ground scrounging through the leaf litter. Rustling the leaves with your hands can imitate feeding squirrels and is an effective way to bring the squirrels to you.
Late Season (December – February)
Later in the season, nut supplies dwindle and the days turn colder so you have to switch tactics. If you happen to have timber close to a harvested corn field then this is an excellent place to set up and wait. A hedge row between the field and timber can be an excellent spot to conceal yourself. Also in winter, a sunny day after several cold, cloudy days can be a great day to hunt as the squirrels are more likely to be active then.
Squirrel Hunting = Patience
Squirrel hunting is great practice for deer hunting and for younger hunters. You have to practice being quiet, stalking, and being still for long periods of time. The great thing about squirrels is if you screw up and get busted there is always another opportunity around the corner.
6 Tips for Squirrel Hunting
- Be prepared to lose crossbow pistol bolts. – Chances are you are going to lose or damage a few bolts when hunting for squirrels. This is especially true if you are trying to shoot them out of trees. If you miss, the arrow can either sail away and not be found or strike the tree and break. Fortunately mini bow arrows are cheap so bring plenty.
- Listen for feeding squirrels. If you are patient and listen, you can actually hear squirrels feeding at times. Listen for falling debris which is usually the nut husks that the squirrels are feeding on at the time. This is a great way to locate your prey.
- Hunt early morning and late day. Like most small game animals, the best times to hunt is the hours around sunrise and before sunset. You can still find squirrels in the middle of the day but you will increase your success rate by focusing on these low light hours.
- Move slowly or maybe not at all. – Squirrel hunting isn’t about seeing who can walk through the woods the fastest. This will only spook the squirrels or force them to remain still. It’s a lot of stalk, stop, listen, and then move again. Don’t be in a rush.
- Practice. A lot. – A squirrel is a very small game animal and you have to be proficient with your mini crossbow to have a chance at hitting one. Practice will allow you to know your most accurate distances and improve your success rate in the woods. Don’t skip this tip.
- Bait – If it’s legal in your area then baiting can be a great way to get a good shot at a squirrel. I recommend peanut butter on a fallen log where squirrels frequent. Find a good spot to settle in and just wait for them to come to you. It might not be the most sporting tactic but it can be a highly effective one.
Hunting squirrels with your crossbow pistol can be one of the most rewarding and fun things to do with your bow. Give it a try today.
How to Prepare Squirrel Meat
So you’ve followed the tips above and got your squirrel. Now you want to know how to cook this meat. Like most small game, squirrel can be fried, baked, barbequed, or prepared in the crock pot. There is a literally hundreds of recipes over at AllRecipes.com. However, I’m going to share with you my favorite way to prepare and eat squirrel.
Fried Squirrel with Creamy Mushroom Gravy
- 2-3 Squirrels
- 2 Eggs Beaten
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons of fat or cooking oil (bacon fat is my favorite)
- 8 ounces of fresh mushrooms
- 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup milk
Cut your fresh squirrels into smaller serving pieces. Rinse and pat dry.
In a pie dish, mix the flour, salt and pepper together.
Dip the squirrel pieces in the beaten eggs and then into the flour mixture.
Place the cooking fat or oil into a heavy frying skillet over medium-high heat.
Bring the pan up to heat and then add the squirrel and fresh mushrooms. You will want to cook each side of the squirrel to a golden brown color.
Now add the cream of mushroom soup and milk to the skillet and stir to start forming the gravy.
Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to a simmer and finish cooking the squirrel for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.
You can serve this wonderful dish as is or it’s even better over fresh rolls, biscuits, pasta, or mashed potatoes. Enjoy!
*Remember to always check with local game and law enforcement to verify legal weapons, bag limits, and hunting dates for your location before hunting any small game.