Breaux Bridge’s Sammy Guillory has experienced a very good first month of the Bayou State bushytail season.
“Squirrels seem to be plentiful this year,” the 55-year-old hunter said. “The first couple of weeks were great.”
Guillory hunts private and public lands in central Louisiana, where he and other hunters have been raving about high numbers of squirrels.
“During opening week, I hunted six out of seven days and had my limit every morning except for one,” he said. “My friends in my hunting lease experienced pretty much the same type of success.”
Guillory said most of his daily bag consisted of fox squirrels taken on his hunting lease. On public lands nearby, he scored on both gray and fox squirrels.
“On opening weekend, we did well even though we had a very dry forest floor making it difficult to walk quietly,” he said. “The little rain we did get later in the week helped.”
Cody Cedotal, a biologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries with resident small game program management duties, said the 2016-17 Louisiana Big and Small Game Harvest Survey revealed that about 89,800 hunters selectively pursue squirrels each year.
This is the second largest group of hunters in the state, behind deer hunters, which rank first with 184,800 participants. Waterfowlers make up the third largest group, with 78,600 hunters.
Cedotal is also an avid squirrel hunter, and has also enjoyed a good season thus far.
“I killed seven squirrels one morning recently,” he said.
According to Cedotal, squirrel harvests on state wildlife management areas have been moderate to high as observed in preliminary results from a few select public lands.
“On opening day (Oct. 7), hunters were extremely successful at Richard K. Yancey WMA in Concordia Parish,” he said. “There were 256 hunting efforts resulting in 698 squirrels killed, for 2.73 squirrels per hunter effort.”
Cedotal also ranked Sherburne WMA (in Pointe Coupee, St. Martin and Iberville Parishes) also high on his list regarding squirrel harvests.
Preliminary opening day results show 267 hunter efforts, taking 433 squirrels for 1.62 squirrels per effort.
“They did very well at Dewey Wills WMA, (in LaSalle, Catahoula and Rapides Parishes) too,” Cedotal said. “On the average, we usually have about 510 hunters score on some 150 squirrels there, although our opening day results are not yet in from there.”
Two other WMAs recommended for good squirrel hunting are Boeuf WMA (in Caldwell and Catahoula Parishes) and Big Lake WMA (in Franklin, Tensas and Madison Parishes).
Hunters using WMAs for squirrel hunting for the rest of the season are recommended to consult the 2017-18 Louisiana Hunting Regulations Pamphlet before heading out due to possible prohibitions because of open deer hunting seasons.
As the squirrel hunting season progresses, Guillory advised hunters to slow down a bit to maintain their successful start.
“The squirrels are getting pressured by now, and the forest canopy is decreasing,” he said. “I try to find locations that have not been hunted hard, even if it means walking quite a bit farther. You also have to go much slower, as squirrels will be able to see you since the leaves are now falling from trees.”
The Louisiana squirrel season runs through Feb. 28, 2018, with a daily bag limit of eight and a possession limit of 24.