Helpful pointers for Saturday's squirrel season opener

Black, gray and fox squirrel hunting season starts this Saturday, Sept. 1 throughout all of New York State, except Staten Island and Long Island. The season lasts until Febr. 28, 2013 with a daily bag limit of six.

This is a great time to get out in the woods and pop a few of these bushy-tailed buggers, and do some scouting for the upcoming deer archery season that begins this year on Oct.1. Also, as I continue to tout, itís a great time to take the kids out in the woods and get them started on small game.

There has been a good mast crop of beech, hickory and oak this year. I think a lot has to do with the unseasonably mild winter we had last year, but hey, I'm no botanist, I only go by what I see happening around me in the forests and fields and on the water.

As for a few squirrel hunting tips, here's some things I've learned since I first started hunting them back in 1974:

1. Wear camouflage clothing while sitting to match the surroundings, and also keep in mind the weather. This time of year itís chilly at first light, and still warms up into the 80s during midday. Bring along an orange hat and vest to wear when you're walking.

2. Pattern your gun and know how far it can shoot effectively. Use a rangefinder when you set up so you can fix the maximum distance you want to shoot Ė unless you're really good at judging distance by eye.

3. Step slowly into the woods and listen, you might hear one barking, moving, etc. I've taken them just off the road not minutes out of the car. They are noisy in the leaf litter as any deer hunter knows.

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