While any day spent squirrel hunting in January and February is better than one spent at work or at home, some are definitely better than others according to veteran hunters Joe Shumaker and Terry Fletcher.
Since squirrel dogs hunt by scent, and game scent dissipates quickly in hot, dry weather, damp, cloudy conditions are preferred. Best of all is right after a rain event. Shumaker said damp conditions also seem to affect squirrel behavior.
“They seem less scary,” he said. “Lots of times, they will stay out in the open instead of hitting a hole when they are treed.”
Shumaker and Fletcher agree that windy conditions are never good. Tree limbs are constantly moving and squirrels don’t feel as safe. They are spooky.
Also, shaking vines, an essential part of getting hidden squirrels to move, isn’t as productive, because tree limbs all around the squirrel are already shaking.
Squirrel hunting with dogs is just as effective in evenings as in mornings. In fact, many hunters believe that afternoon hunts are better because the squirrels have had all day to lay down scent trails as they forage.
Under cloudy, damp conditions, squirrels stay active later into the morning and become active earlier in the evening. Under the best conditions, squirrel hunting all day is possible, if the hunters and the dogs possess the stamina.