Some hunts closing, others beginning or continuing

By Ed Gilbert • Last Updated 9:55 am on Tuesday, November 29, 2011

While we have but a few days left in the regular firearms deer season, other hunting will be taking the spotlight.

The muzzleloading deer season will take over and a month of additional archery season will kick in, giving avid deer hunters plenty of opportunity to put some, or even more, venison in their freezer.

But hunting being a matter of personal choice, my choice will be to go after some small game.

For example, a late grouse season will take over through December, and that will be fun to scare up a few feathers.

But two other oncoming hunts are really favorites. And that’s not just for myself but for many others. Those will be the rabbit and squirrel seasons, which continue on through March 31 and March 1, respectively.

When we rabbit hunt we generally move about, and that will help to stave off the winter cold. And if we hunt those bunnies with a dog, so much the better. Actually, keeping up with any dog I’ve ever had has created more sweat than rabbits!

Snowshoe rabbits remain my favorite after many years of chasing them through the swamps. They’re a real challenge though, as being white or mostly white, one can walk right by them in the snow while they sit right there while likely laughing inside at the hunter.

Squirrel hunting in cold weather becomes a different sort of challenge, at least for me. Most squirrel hunting I’ve ever done has been sitting on my rump on a stump or downed tree, waiting for those rodents to show up. And in warmer weather they are generally out and about, and easier to harvest. Ah, but colder winter weather requires a different tactic.

What that requires of me is actually a trick I learned from my daughter, Mary. While squirrel hunting with her some years ago and having little success, she suddenly pursed her lips and began to make a “put-put-put-put” sound. Ironically, it sounds not unlike a squirrel’s ‘barking’ sound, and out came a curious critter. It was soon in the bag, and that day we limited out with five squirrels. She said she learned about it on the Animal Planet television show, and I didn’t argue with her. It worked then and still does!

Now, I made mention above of the muzzleloading deer season, and yes, I’m still a deer hunter. And there is nothing more exciting than lining up your sights on a fine deer, pulling the trigger, and hearing that little “pop,” when the main charge fails to go off! Yeah, I hear you saying that it has happened to you, too. Well, join the club.

So, if you’ve been deer hunting and haven’t filled your tag or tags yet, not to worry. You still can have success, and if that’s not the case, get the old shotgun out and go after some smaller game. After all, it’s easier to carry small game out of the woods than those heavy deer!

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