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TENNESSEE SQUIRREL SEASON

Itís hard to believe squirrel season is almost here. The arrival of August signals the arrival of squirrel season in Tennessee each year on the fourth Saturday of the month. This year you can hit the woods and hunt busy tails on the morning of August 23. Bag limit will again be ten daily.

SQUIRREL SEASON OPENER IS FIRST HUNT FOR MANY

By Steve McCadams

Opening day of squirrel season in Tennessee is a special day for a lot of sportsmen. For many youngsters it will be their first hunting trip at the guiding hand of a caring dad, grandfather, uncle or family friend.

Someone special will hopefully take the time to rise and shine early, setting the stage for a memorable outing down dark sand ditches or cow paths where the busy tails have been cutting acorns high in the hickories.

The fourth Saturday in August is the traditional opener for busy tails. It appears hot weather will greet hunters even in the early morning hours this year but that doesnít diminish the potential for a memory making morning.

Every year when squirrel season opens I have flashbacks from yesteryear. I canít seem to remember much these days but I can clearly recall bagging my first squirrel over 50 years ago on opening morning. After stalking a skittish gray squirrel chomping away in a scaly bark hickory my dad helped me negotiate an old logging road.

Slipping around isnít easy for most youngsters as my clumsy feet seemed to step on dry sticks that cracked and announced my location. Between the cobwebs and mosquitoes I managed to sneak up under the tall timber when dad handed me a couple of blue Peters paper shells for my double barrel 410-gauge.

Little bits of hickory nuts fell to the forest floor, signaling the whereabouts of my prey somewhere high above but pinpointing his location was a quite a challenge. It was hard to hear as the thumping of my heart drowned out the sounds of the woods in my ears.

After what seemed like hours of this cat and mouse game things seem to settle down as a guiding hand on the shoulder and a whisper helped locate the illusive critter crawling out of thick cover to retrieve a morsel on the far end of a flimsy limb. I quickly shouldered the gun and took aim.

To this day I believe I can still smell the powder from the little gun that barked out in the lowlight conditions of a quiet woods that quickly erupted with cries from alarmed blue-jays and sly crows now sounding off to the world that someone was here.

After a short pause the thud of a falling squirrel hitting the forest floor signaled success. My first shot was on the mark and an oversized hand-me-down hunting vest was about to bulge as dad slid him in the hunting pouch.

Thereís nothing quite like the feel of game bouncing against your back as you walk through the woods, especially when itís your first squirrel hunt!

There have been a lot of miles logged and sunrises and sunsets seen since that late August outing deep in the woods of Carroll County near Shiloh Church. Every now and then I venture back to the area and pause to reflect on my special day. The little woods is still there.

Sometimes I hit the recall button and swing by the area to reminisce. I hope the treetops are still home to a few squirrels and that some youngster has also maneuvered his or her way down the brushy paths to pleasant memories.

Opening morning of the squirrel season is special in more ways than one.

___________________________

LBL SQUIRREL SEASON

Squirrel hunters who want to get a jump-start on the Tennessee statewide season can do so at Land Between the Lakes beginning August 16. Season opens in LBL each year a week prior to the start of the statewide season.

Bag limit in the Tennessee portion of LBL is ten daily. Hunters must have a LBL Hunter Use Permit. For additional call 270-924-2065 or send an email to lblinfo@fs.fed.us.

 

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