Consistently killing limits of squirrels is no accident, and avid hunter Joe Speyrer puts in a lot of work to ensure he and his sons don’t come home empty handed.

Speyrer does most of his hunting on Sherburne WMA, traveling by boat along Big and Little Alabama Bayous to get away from the pressure of hunters in easily accessible locations.

And then he watches.

“Once I am settled down, I’ll let squirrel movement dictate how I hunt,” Speyrer said. “On opening weekend, I’ll usually walk at a steady slow pace, constantly looking up into the trees for movement associated with squirrels.”

The hunter admitted he has a preference for hunting during a soft drizzle, but he doesn’t want high winds.

“I have had my best hunts in a light rain, as I find squirrels move more and the moist ground allows you to quietly slip up on them,” Speyrer said.

The father and his sons do not make use of face camouflage or hats during the season opener. 

“You really don’t have to do that because the understory is thick and you can move between areas of cover easily,” Speyrer said. “Plus, it’s great not having to wear a hat or mask because you can stay a bit cooler during the early season.”

Another factor is the moon phase for Oct. 1, which this year will be a waxing crescent. Speyrer said that means squirrels should be active and feeding during morning and daytime hours.

The night of the full moon occurs Oct. 15.

If heavy rainfall, storms and high winds prevail on opening day, squirrels have a tendency to hunker down.

The morning following the passage of a cool front, however, is a another factor associated with increased squirrel activity — as long as winds aren’t howling.