The Great American Squirrel and Fall Turkey Hunting Tradition

The Great American Squirrel and Fall Turkey Hunting Tradition

Posted 2018-08-28T10:22:00Z

Hunt Both Bushytails and Autumn Flocks

The first Pennsylvania fall turkey I ever shot came while multi-tasking for small game and wild turkeys on those painted ridges of my teenage years.

© Steve Hickoff photo

Choice Habitat

You can still hunt through the woods slowly, setting up on a bushytail that's treed on your approach. Set up at the base of a nearby tree much as you would when calling a turkey (and yes, you can call squirrels too). Sure, a gunshot may briefly end that successful squirrel hunt, and I've found in big country the noise doesn't hinder your turkey hunting all that much either.

Bowhunters can even approach their squirrel/turkey hunts more quietly of course. Are you a head-shot archer for wild turkeys? A squirrel is roughly the same size. It's good practice and more food for your wild game freezer. Double on a fall turkey for your Thanksgiving table.

Action Rules

No matter where you chase fall turkeys, especially during some of our early hunting seasons, squirrels will likely be nearby. (And if just the squirrel season is open, but not the turkey-hunting opportunity, you'll be able to get out early and scout for flocks.)

As mentioned, I first learned this approach while hunting my native north-central Pennsylvania as a teenager when both seasons were open. It was common for Keystone State sportsmen to target both fall species (still is). Squirrels provided almost constant action on oak ridges. Often enough, turkey scratchings, droppings, and tracks could be found nearby.

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© John Hafner photo

Time Afield

Once you scout for and find fall turkey flocks, it can be a little easier, providing you're interested in simply filling a tag on a bird-of-the-year. If not, you can choose to hunt only adult gobblers, which might extend your autumn turkey hunts, and that's not always a bad thing. Squirrels offer action when fall turkey hunting is tough. Sometimes it's fun to make it last. It's also a great way to introduce a young or new hunter to our tradition.

One approach I've taken in the past is to set up and stand hunt a ridge (which of course involves sitting) where you find evidence of squirrel activity (oak branch cuttings, for instance) and wild turkey movement (fresh wedge-shaped scratchings). By hunting both, odds improve.

Squirrel hunting. Chasing fall turkeys. Both are All-American traditions to many of us. Check your current hunting lawbook. You may be able to go after both at the same time.

Don't Miss: The Truth About Fall Gobbler Hunting

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