SQUIRREL HUNTING WITH THE BOW AND ARROW – ARROW MANUFACTURERS DREAM

By Ted Nugent

My absolute favorite hunting is treestand time with my bow and arrow. This style of bowhunting is certainly the most universally used, and conclusively proven to be the most effective in bagging big game. Whether strategizing a killer ambush site where trails converge from bedding to agriculture feed grounds or to water, or maybe watching vigil over some scattered grain or commercial food attractant, or a natural or man-made scrape, these lofty perches provide a wonderful bird’s-eye view of always spectacular wild ground that cleanses the soul.

The sights, sounds and smells of these wild places remain the ultimate attractant to this old bowhunter, but it is the elevated view that always brings the most sightings of all sorts of critters that turns my crank the hardest. I love watching everything from my elevated vantage position, and am forever turned on by the simple sightings of songbirds, nongame animals, and ultimately critters for which the season is on.

It is from treestands that I have bow bagged grouse, woodcock, quail, dove, rabbits, squirrels, pheasants, gophers, groundhogs, coons, possums, skunks, badger, armadillos, muskrats, mink, bobcat, coyote, red and gray fox, feral dogs and cats, snakes, turkey, deer, elk, bear, buffalo, probably forty plus species of African and exotic big game from around the world, and every encounter and every kill has been phenomenally exciting. I can’t wait for more.

Since I was a little bow with my longbow and cedar arrows, the ubiquitous limbrat has always lured me into the woods. Fox squirrels, reds, blacks and grays, have provided me with the most launched arrows and the ultimate lessons in archery marksmanship. You either aim small, miss small or no squirrel fricassee for you.

I remember shooting squirrels out of big old oak, hickory, elm and catalpa trees in the neighborhood, and no one ever complained. With only a very few arrows to my name, I did everything in my power to never lose or break my precious ammo supply, but shooting at such small, elusive targets was very challenging on all counts. In those days, we used steel blunts mostly on small game, so if you would miss the squirrel, at least the arrow wouldn’t stick way up there. If you missed clean and the arrow didn’t strike the tree, we learned to calculate the arch and range of our projectiles and do whatever we needed to do to find that valuable arrow. And we did.

On those occasions that we would break an arrow, as long as it was still at least fifteen or so inches long, we would whittle it to a point with our always handy dandy Boy Scout pocket knife, and just keep on shooting. With these now sharpened arrows, occasionally we found ourselves climbing like monkeys way up into the towering limbs to retrieve our precious shafts. But it was worth it, for we were in love with the mystical flight of the arrow, and quite honestly, this little Detroit whippersnapper simply could not get enough of it.

Now, the old WhackMaster doesn’t qualify any longer as a whippersnapper I suppose (though others would argue) but those pesky little russet balls of bushytailed fun still call my name throughout the year. But nowadays, my archery gear is a little different. Sure, the compound bow is a different animal in many ways, but I still have to practice like mad, I still have to employ every bit of stealth and archery discipline as any longbow or recurve shooter does, and ultimately I have to aim small and miss small. Bowhunting is bowhunting. Know that.

One thing that drives this old squirrel hunter nuts is the occasion when a big, fat, corn stealing limbrat tempts me hour after hour when I am deer hunting, knowing that if a shooter deer is nearby, no matter how silent my bow might be, a shot at a squirrel could very well alert an incoming deer to avoid my ambush. I believe that is one reason I have this little pent up vengeance for squirrels with my bow and arrow. They so tease me so often that I just have to whack them whenever I can.

One of my favorite things about my morning and afternoon bowhunting is the walk out in the morning and the walk to the stand in the afternoon. These are my squirrel bowhunting times and I often bag a bonus rodent or two for the grill.

I always have one or two arrows fitted with Judo heads for small game, and on this particular morning, I wish I had more. I had arrowed a pretty, fat doe, and was walking back to my 4 wheeler, eyes scanning for little critters to shoot. I had barely left my treestand when a rusty red squirrel actually scampered toward me. Standing in a grove of pine trees, my camo worked perfectly as the unsuspecting squirrel hopped within twenty feet of me. I drew back my already nocked arrow and let him have square in the noggin for an instant kill. I felt like I had just shot a trophy elk I was so happy.

With my little prize in my hand I continued toward my ATV when another fatty showed up at the base of a hickory tree. At twenty yards, he worked hard on a nut while I settled my pin on his ear and thwacked bushytail number two in less than five minutes. I was thrilled.

Next thing I knew, I heard the clattering of sharp claws on oak bark as two reds chased around and around in a territorial dispute. Well I am here to tell you, my next two shots with two bloody Judo tipped arrows again found their mark, in rather rapid succession I might add, to bring my rodent bag to four for the morning.

To say I was elated doesn’t even come close to my level of happiness. Unending flashes of a smiling young Nuge whizzed past my mind’s eye, and I felt rejuvenated and innocent again.

I cleaned and hung my pretty doe, then cleaned and hung my four squirrels, surely the happiest bowhunter alive in the world on a glorious fall hunting season day in America. And I didn’t even lose any arrows.

Communicate daily with Ted Nugent on his tednugent.com TalkBack. Celebrate squirrel hunting and unlimited American Dream fun with Uncle Ted at his electro campfire.