If you’ve been thinking about hunting for squirrels but are unsure where to start, look no further. Kentucky’s Department of Fish and Wildlife regulates the season for squirrels. Often, this begins in late August and lasts until the end of the year, when conditions are not ideal for heavy harvesting. Squirrel hunting seasons in Kentucky are:
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During the early part of the traditional season conditions are not prime for heavy harvest
While hunting opportunities for big game such as deer, turkey, and waterfowl are the main focus of outdoor enthusiasts, small game species like squirrels are often neglected. In fact, the number of hunters for squirrels in Kentucky once tied rabbits for the most hunted game. But the early part of the traditional season does not produce ideal conditions for a heavy harvest of squirrels in Kentucky. Moreover, most of the hunter activity takes place within two to three weeks of the opening of the season. Therefore, “average” hunters go once or twice when the season opens and then ignore the rest of the season.
Despite this, there are several advantages to pursuing big bucks during the traditional hunting season in Kentucky. While deer numbers are typically highest in the fall, conditions are not ideal for a heavy harvest during this period. The early part of the traditional season has too many variables and can make it difficult to harvest large numbers of squirrels. But fortunately, Kentucky has many good hunting regions, including the Bluegrass Region. This region is known for producing the most deer and the highest harvest rate.
Bot fly larvae appear under the squirrel’s skin
When hunting for squirrels, it’s possible to accidentally shoot a bot fly larva. A bot fly larva is actually a fly that develops under a squirrel’s skin. The larvae are off-white and have 2 mouth hooks. In the later stages, they become lumpy or boily. When they hatch, the larvae move out of the egg by a trap door at the end of the shell.
When you kill a gray squirrel, you might notice that it is infested with bot fly larvae. These are not harmful to humans, and the animals they feed on are not affected by the bugs. But if you see a bot fly larva infesting a squirrel, you should stop hunting it immediately. The larvae will remain under the squirrel’s skin for several weeks, so it’s best to wait until the first frost appears.
Getting a first squirrel can be a challenge for a young hunter
For a young hunter, getting their first squirrel may be an especially difficult task, especially if they’re new to hunting. The gray squirrel is a finicky eater that uses every limb and leaf to his advantage. The empty hunting coat begs for the bulge of that first squirrel. After all, this first squirrel means a long journey, many more outings, and many steps. Still, the thrill of a first squirrel is invaluable.
While it may seem daunting for a young hunter to get a first squirrel, it’s a great way to introduce a child to hunting and the outdoors. Though small game hunting has fallen behind in recent years due to larger, trophy-hunting pursuits, it remains an excellent introduction to the sport and a welcome change of pace for trophy hunters.
Gear to wear for a first-time squirrel hunt
Before hunting for squirrels, you should know what gear to wear and when. You should also be careful with snakes. While they are relatively rare, a snake bite can be deadly. Snake fatalities are about 1 in 50 million, but if you feel that a snake may bite you, make sure to wear a snake-proof pair of boots and gaiters. Also, be sure to look around before sitting beside a tree. Besides, make sure to avoid hunting in the heat of the day as squirrels are usually nocturnal.
While you’ll be wearing a hunting vest, be sure to bring a hunting shirt and a jacket. A hunting shirt in hunter orange will ensure that you’re easily identifiable. Your hunter hat and vest will also make it easier to identify trees and other obstacles. Squirrels, or fox squirrels, thrive in woodland areas near fields and cornfields.
Getting a hunting license
Getting a hunting license in Kentucky for autumn squirrel hunting is important for those who want to take part in the annual Kentucky squirrel hunt. The state does an annual survey of hunters. According to the survey, on average, Kentucky squirrel hunters made 10.9 trips during the 2016-2017 season. Each trip lasted three hours and they saw an average of four squirrels. Of the squirrels they did see, one in five were gray, which is a relatively common species in Kentucky.
Residents can purchase a license for the fall season by showing proof of residency in the state. Non-residents must purchase a license if they plan on hunting squirrels. A resident of Kentucky can purchase a license for as long as they have lived in the state for at least 30 days. Youth hunters and nonresident landowners may also purchase licenses. In addition to purchasing a hunting license, residents may purchase additional permits to hunt other animals, such as pigs.