Shotgun Forum banner
1 - 20 of 101 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am starting to believe us small game hunters are in general a dying breed. I cannot remember the last time I met someone under the age of 50 who was still hunting squirrels or rabbits. It is fine by me, I found a honey hole for fox squirrels on public land and have never had to compete with anyone for "my" spot that is only a half mile off the road. Come deer season, that same place resembles Mogadishu or Damascus. There is no shortage of deer hunters, waterfowl hunters, or upland game hunters in my area, but very few people seem to be hunting small game. What has been your experience? What do you think the reason is for the decline? Is there a decline or is it just where I live?

All the Best,

Erik
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
I agree, Squirrel, Rabbit, I never hardly see another hunter. At least were I hunt. Lot of these young guy's I think see a lot of these shows were if your not hunting trophys, every thing else does't matter. I know rabbits are scarce were i live , unless you go to the golf course. But fox and coyote's have done a job on them. I like all aspects of hunting differant game.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The hell of it is, we have some fantastic rabbit and squirrel hunting around here on public land. My favorite spot is so thick with squirrel I could limit out in an hour. You are probably right about the trophy factor. I don't give a $#!+ about a rack, I can't eat that! I am a meat hunter, and I happen to like eating rabbit and squirrel. Maybe we are just a product of having depression era parents, where we were taught meat in the pan was more important than a rack on the wall.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
I absolutely love Squirrel Hunting,I'm near 52 years aged. Problem is finding places to go. I don't really want to hunt engineer corp land during the deer season/wich overlaps open squirrel season. Reason 1. I'm usually bow hunting then and 2 don't ant to disturb other hunters for that might be bow hunting as well(only archery for deer on our corp lands). After season ie...Winter months I like to go...but its quite the drive. I need some one with farm/forest closer to DFW area. Fox squirrels are cool but those cat squirrels are some super smart tree rats that I have seen do amazing things. Once we were out when I was a kid with single shot 20 gauge. another a .410 and another a .22...we jumped a few and got a pair,but one took us on a race....he went to big oak with along branch...run out to the end of all 3 of us missing....then flipped upside down and ran all the way back to the trunk....we stood there looking and laughing....we "let" him make it. :roll:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,131 Posts
I totally agree. But I think the problem here is lack of game to hunt. Rabbits are really scarce, and grouse have been virtually non-existent the last several years. I still hunt squirrels and there are a fair number of them, but they certainly aren't a glamorous species.

Most of the younger guys, and gals, around here have their sights set on deer season only. I'm getting too old to hunt deer and drag one out of the woods.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wonder what is going on with your rabbit populations? Maybe you need more trappers in your area. We have had a bumper crop of rabbits this year. It probably doesn't hurt that a friend of mine has been trapping coyotes and bobcats in the area I hunt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,131 Posts
grumpyErik said:
I wonder what is going on with your rabbit populations? Maybe you need more trappers in your area. We have had a bumper crop of rabbits this year. It probably doesn't hurt that a friend of mine has been trapping coyotes and bobcats in the area I hunt.
My thoughts are the coyote population is really affecting the rabbits. The coyotes have really increased in this area and I see way more coyote tracks than rabbit tracks in the winter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
369 Posts
Well, I'm a meat hunter first. I'm lucky to live 2 miles from a state forest, 3,500 sqr acres.We have a great squirrel population, even a few Turkey. Rabbits start in November , If the turkey are back, maybe the rabbits too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
273 Posts
My son just completed his hunters safety course, and we are going small game first.

He thinks he can snipe a squirrel with his Henry lever, but I'm figuring after a few nervous misses the mossberg will come out.

Regardless, I'm looking forward to it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
I agree. In the places I hunt on public land, I've come across no other small game hunters. Probably various factors. Less hunters in general. Time people have to hunt. Popularity of just sitting in tree stand a few times a year, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
I think there are several factors in play that make small game a dwindling part of the overall hunting scene. As others have said, the T.V. shows usually feature deer and turkey as the glamour species, and the younger generation has bought in on that. Second, you almost never see a major outdoor rag devote a single article to rabbit hunting, and when Field and Stream did a small one- page piece last year, the author ruined the recruitment by listing a $1600.00 semi-auto as required equipment for killing bunnies. Several readers took him to task about an intro article choosing such an exclusive piece of equipment. A used pump for 250 would have gotten someone in the field and capable of knocking them down.
I agree its just folks over 50 in Ky. where I hunt, and even some of them complaign that their contemprary friends have lost interest and quit when the rabbit pops declined so bad after 77-78 blizzards. Truth be told, with a couple of dogs, its surprising how many bunnies are embedded so deep in briars and honeysuckles that you'd never know they were there without the flushes from the dogs. Personally, I can't wait until Nov 1st to start the season. My hope is for 40-45 hunts in the 90 days season.
Kansas had been silly with rabbits, and I drove out in the past to enjoy the 365 day season. But farmers out there just scratch their head when you knock and ask for ok, as it seems many Kansas residents believe rabbits carry the tularemia germ and should be avoided altogether. They are glad to say ok to your hunting, though, which is a good thing....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,827 Posts
I grew up squirrel and rabbit hunting and my 71 year old Dad still squirrel hunts to this day. He says squirrel is his favorite wild game to eat. I still rabbit hunt but don't do much squirrel hunting. One reason is that I don't live close enough to my Dad to go with him. The other reason is that I don't share my Dad's taste for squirrel. It is probably on the bottom of the list for me as far as taste concerning wild game. I like the taste of rabbit much better and run them with my beagle after all the deer seasons are over with. With archery deer, fall turkey, deer rifle, and deer muzzleloader seasons, I don't usually hunt my first rabbit until January 1st. That only gives me 6 weeks worth of rabbit hunting. So I guess you can say that I am a small game hunter second and a deer hunter first. Part of the reason for this is simply that you get a lot more meat in the freezer harvesting a deer over even a mess of rabbits. I'm not willing to sacrifice hunting time where I can potentially fill my freezer with one shot so that I can bag a few rabbits or squirrels.

That last sentence brings up this fact to consider. Most of the above 50 crowd that small game hunt grew up at a time when deer were relatively scarce and bagging one was very difficult and far from a guarantee. To them, it made sense to go after the sure thing and bag small game for the table. Now that deer populations have greatly increased, deer are more of a sure thing than they used to be so the allure of filling the freezer with one shot over rides the desire to "waste" time with small game. This might be more of a factor than TV shows and the glamour aspect. If the deer populations took a huge nose dive and the rabbit and squirrel populations remained high, I think you would see more hunters gravitate back to small game hunting. With today's busy and hectic schedules hunting time is at a premium and people will pursue the activity that gives them the most "bang" for their time. At the present time, deer hunting fills that niche.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
Small game and birds are all that I hunt. I have very little interest in big-game hunting. I do rarely encounter other hunters when out and about. I'm 49 years old so I suppose I qualify for the "old timer" breed now instead of young punk!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
256 Posts
Yeah, we might be a dying breed. I am 40 and only started hunting at the age of 38. Dad quit before I had time and inclination to start, so I am self taught. I rarely see anything other than waterfowl and large game hunters. When I see anyone else, they are after dove, pheasant, and once in a blue moon I will see someone hunting rabbits. There is a state park that is a real small game honey hole (crawling with squirrels, rabbits, doves, pheasants). The first year I started going there the park manager saw me walking to the truck with some squirrels. He stopped me, checked my harvest, checked my license, made sure my shotgun was legal with a plug, etc. Then he said that I was the only squirrel hunter he had seen in quite a while and would I please reduce the squirrel population around the visitor center parking lot because they had a problem with them in the building's attic. Happy to oblige! I was camping at the park with the kids this weekend and the park manager said he was happy to see me and when was I coming back squirrel hunting, since they have this little problem...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
The only deer I ever killed I was squirrel hunting! After I dragged it three quarters of a mile uphill through thick brush and then walked another mile down the dirt road back to the truck, I was wishing that I had left it alone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
double20 said:
I grew up squirrel and rabbit hunting and my 71 year old Dad still squirrel hunts to this day. He says squirrel is his favorite wild game to eat. I still rabbit hunt but don't do much squirrel hunting. One reason is that I don't live close enough to my Dad to go with him. The other reason is that I don't share my Dad's taste for squirrel. It is probably on the bottom of the list for me as far as taste concerning wild game. I like the taste of rabbit much better and run them with my beagle after all the deer seasons are over with. With archery deer, fall turkey, deer rifle, and deer muzzleloader seasons, I don't usually hunt my first rabbit until January 1st. That only gives me 6 weeks worth of rabbit hunting. So I guess you can say that I am a small game hunter second and a deer hunter first. Part of the reason for this is simply that you get a lot more meat in the freezer harvesting a deer over even a mess of rabbits. I'm not willing to sacrifice hunting time where I can potentially fill my freezer with one shot so that I can bag a few rabbits or squirrels.

That last sentence brings up this fact to consider. Most of the above 50 crowd that small game hunt grew up at a time when deer were relatively scarce and bagging one was very difficult and far from a guarantee. To them, it made sense to go after the sure thing and bag small game for the table. Now that deer populations have greatly increased, deer are more of a sure thing than they used to be so the allure of filling the freezer with one shot over rides the desire to "waste" time with small game. This might be more of a factor than TV shows and the glamour aspect. If the deer populations took a huge nose dive and the rabbit and squirrel populations remained high, I think you would see more hunters gravitate back to small game hunting. With today's busy and hectic schedules hunting time is at a premium and people will pursue the activity that gives them the most "bang" for their time. At the present time, deer hunting fills that niche.
I think you have hit the nail on the head here. Big game offers more bang for the buck for people with limited time. It is too bad folks don't have time to hunt small game; no just kidding, I like not having to compete for good hunting spots.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
506 Posts
Having the woods to yourself for squirrel hunting is great bring able to go out most any day of the season and getting a few or your limit is awesome ! But we need young blood in the sport to keep it going!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Well guys I'm 29 years old and I am from Southeastern N.C. and all I like to do is small game hunt. I love it and I agree small game hunting is a dying sport. I love to duck and squirrel hunt. I also enjoy bream fishing after a good squirrel hunt. We hunt grey squirrels in the river down here. I do not fit in with my generation anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
I'm glad nobody likes to rabbit hunt! That just leaves a whole bunch for my 3 beagles and me and a 410 sxs!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
I am 36 and a small game hunter. I prefer hunting small game and birds over big game. I love the length of the season. You can pretty much head out when ever you are bored Sept -Dec. I could spend all day in the woods every day. I have two young girls. I will teach them both to hunt, but my eldest would cry if you shot a bunny in front of her. My youngest would cry and then want to try it herself. The way I look at it is my meat lived a great life in the great wide open instead of a stockyard/feedlot or poultry barn. There is something humane about that.
 
1 - 20 of 101 Posts
Top