In 2015, Mississippi squirrel hunters had their first opportunity to hunt in a spring season. Going into the third year, it appears that it is a slowly developing and acquired taste.
Only a small percentage of squirrel hunters have taken full advantage of the May 15-June 1 opportunity.
Bernie Jenkins of Crystal Springs is one of those who loves it.
“I get four weekend days during that two week season to hunt squirrels and I don’t miss a single one of them,” he said. “I also hunt a couple of other mornings, too, if things at work allow. Two hours is enough, and the key is finding a food source. That time of year, the usual squirrel food, like acorns and other hard mast, isn’t available.
“I have two places I can hunt, my deer club and a friend’s farm that has plenty of bottomland along a creek. Between them, I have located all the big mulberry trees and I have a route to follow. It’s kind of like a golf course, with each tree being a hole. If I’m alone, I usually get my four at one or two spots, but if I’m hunting with a friend or with one of my sons, we may have to hit three or four to get us each a limit. We can get ’em cleaned and be back home before it gets too hot.”
Jenkins said he has had good luck both early in the morning and late in the afternoon, doubling his opportunities.
Other hunters have not fallen in step with the spring season.
“I tried it the first year, but just didn’t fall in love with it,” said Kim Thompson, of Vicksburg, a huge fan of squirrel hunting. “I hunt as often as I can in the regular (fall and winter) season, and I thought I would really enjoy another opportunity. I’m not so sure if it was so much that I didn’t like it, or that my dog didn’t like it, but I don’t think either of us did enough to make it a priority.
“The mosquitoes and the snakes were awful. The heat was pretty bad, too, and my dog didn’t like that. We went twice, got the limit (4) both times, but didn’t enjoy getting it. What I learned was that I could find a budding fruit tree, like a mulberry, sit down and wait, and I could get the limit. I don’t like to hunt that way. I’m a dog guy.”
But what about the chance to cook up a pot of squirrel and dumplings.
“No problem for me,” Thompson said. “I fill a freezer with them during the main season, so I have enough to get me through to October.”
Spring squirrel hunting
Season: Opens May 15, ends June 1 statewide.
Limit: Four squirrels per hunter, per day.