When the calendar changes to October and all the way until February, squirrel season takes place in the state of Alabama. To take part in the season, a lot is not required, but a proper license is a must. Whether it's the fox or gray squirrel, the state's trees and terrain provides a perfect habit for the animal to flourish, and flourish it has. Because of Alabama's sustained number of squirrels, the state extended the season in 2004.
There are three types of squirrels in Alabama. The gray squirrel, which gets its name by its coloring, is the most common and typically weighs 1 to 1.5 lbs. The fox squirrel, which is slightly larger than the gray squirrel, varies in color, but often is rusty yellow with gray down its back and neck. The final species is Southern Flying Squirrel. It's the smallest of the three and is very seldom seen, or hunted, by many because of its nocturnal nature.
Seasons and Bag Limits
While exact dates vary from one calendar year to the next, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources begins squirrel season in early October and ends it in late February. Hunters may harvest eight squirrels a day and may only have eight in their possession at any given time, according to the 2009-2010 bag limits.
The method one hunts squirrel varies by the desires or means of the hunter. Some use highly trained dogs to locate the target. Among the more popular breeds are feists and curs.
Others use calls to locate the squirrels. Calls mimic the sound of a squirrel in distress or its chatters and barks.
The simplest of methods is stalk hunting. This is where a hunter simply goes into the woods in search of signs such as nests or stumbles across the animal.
Guns are the most common method of hunting squirrels. Rifles are used, but typically don't exceed a 22-caliber model. Either the long or short version of this caliber is acceptable.
Some hunters may elect to go with a shotgun, especially younger hunters whose aim is not yet refined. In these cases, gauges 410, 20, 16 or 12 loaded with six or eight shot are all options.
Outside of private land, Alabama's four national forests and its management areas offer opportunities for squirrel hunting. In those areas, the locations where you might find the two main hunted species varies.
The gray squirrel, which is more plentiful, prefers areas rich in hardwood trees. The fox squirrel, not as agile a climber, tends to gravitate to more open areas and places with a mix of hardwood and pine trees.
- squirrel image by Mariusz Blach from Fotolia.com