Tips & Tactics

Feelin' Squirrely

Feelin' Squirrely

By Ken Piper

Annual event reminds us that shooting is a year-round activity. And, it's FUN!

The 2022 Squirrel Master Classic is happening right now in Hayneville, Alabama, bringing to mind some of my earliest hunting memories. Although my squirrel hunting took place on mountainous public lands of Pennsylvania, the relaxed, social nature of squirrel hunting is apparently universal. I have to admit the addition of the squirrel dogs at the Classic was a step up from my fond memories chasing grays in the Keystone State.

Small-game hunting is so much better than deer hunting for kids just starting out. There's way more action, the kids don't have to be quiet, and the emphasis is entirely on fun!

GAMO has sponsored the Squirrel Master Classic since its inception nine years ago, and it's been a match made in heaven. The air guns make the hunt a little more challenging while also adding even more fun to the event.

Just as small game makes for a better introduction to hunting, air guns make a fantastic introduction to shooting. Modern pellet guns like those used at the Classic are accurate, have lots of punch, and even come with multi-shot magazines that allow for easy loading and reloading. There is no better way to introduce a youngster to shooting. Adults have plenty of fun shooting them, too.

Because the air guns are so comfortable to shoot, you can concentrate on teaching proper shooting technique and gun safety. Your pupil will take in more of that information since they're not worrying about taking a pounding from the next shot.

When your child becomes proficient at shooting an air gun, transition to something with a little more power, like a .22. I started out with a .22 Remington pump that exactly mirrored the action of the Remington 760 I would later use in the deer woods. There was no learning curve, and the 760 felt like I had been using it for years. If you have an idea about what type of deer gun your pupil will eventually use, try to get a .22 with the same action.

Finally, try not to forget how much fun recreational shooting can be. Air guns and .22s (or A17s or any of the other smaller-caliber guns available now) are more fun and MUCH less expensive to shoot than traditional deer calibers.

Recreational shooting is an excellent family activity, and it also makes you a better deer hunter. Like anything else you practice, you get better with repetition. If the only time you shoot a rifle is when you prop it on sand bags to check its zero the week before the gun opener, your shooting skills will get rusty, and they could fail you in the stressful and sometimes unexpected particulars of a given deer hunt.

Whether it's chasing squirrels, putting holes in paper targets, or spinning metal, make recreational shooting a part of your family activities.

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Copyright 2022 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd