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Thread: Barking Squirrels?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Barking Squirrels?

    Hey Guys and Gals!

    Having been around the forum a while, I've heard talk of "barking" squirrels.

    I understand the general concept (shooting the tree next to the squirrel), but is that all?

    Just shoot the tree beside the squirrel and it dies?

    Help a "youngster" out..
    Chris



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    "Si vis pacem para bellum"


  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    The idea is to create flying debris which then hits the squirrel and kills it. Obviously it doesn't always work. I tries it once. I was stalking for deer in a hardwood river bottom and I encountered an albino squirrel. It was solid white from head to toe. I really wanted to bag that squirrel but I was carrying a Marlin 444. There wouldn't have been much squirrel left after a direct hit from that gun. I watched the squirrel for several minutes and it finally made it's way out of the trees and onto a log on the ground. I made careful aim and hit the log about an inch below the log's edge, right under the squirrel's head. The squirrel ran of, totally undamaged. Little did I know when I made the shot.....the log was mostly rotten and the bullet just bored a clean hole right through.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I barked a squirrel once buy mistake aim for head hit oak tree but very dead squirrel.Not a mark on him just dead so I know it works.

  4. #4
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    Good frontier lore. Takes something bigger than a 22RF.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    it came about way back in the old days when most only had a big caliber gun and if you hit small game with it, there was not much left for the supper pot, so they figured out that the blast and flying bark would kill small game and not destroy it in the process and you had supper. with todays small caliber guns it is not needed and the small calibers do not have the shockwave or the power to bark small game.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    JBinMN's Avatar
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    Flying bark was not the only thing that would hasten a trip to the pot. A sudden stop to a fall is also part of the deal, IMO. I have done it with a .22 more than once, but not as a habit. Long long ago when I was a lad & an avid small game hunter. Just to see if I could do it a few times. If it failed, ya usually had a second chance at your target. Usually. Head shots are more effective & do not waste lead either. Best to stick to them...

    BTW, I did not do this when I was using ammo given to me by my dad though. Only when I bought it myself. Dad wanted an accounting of each shot & I had to return the non used ammo. Missed shots were subtracted from the next trip out amount of ammo. 5 shot trip with one miss & the next time it was 4 shots. If you ever got to -0- you did not hunt anymore, and were told to go back to bb-gun and practice. I did not have to go back to bb gun, unless "I" wanted to... ever.


    Dad ( & mom) grew up during the Great Depression & was raised to make sure of his shots before squeezing the trigger or there might be less food on the table, so he instilled "discipline" on the use of things. " Waste not, want not".

    Anyway, like said, I would suggest sticking to head shots anyway, as wounding one & then it gets into a hole in a tree or something means likely a slow death either from the shot or from a predator that gets a wounded animal as easy prey. I don't think anyone would like to be wounded & die, or possibly eaten while still alive. I think a squirrel or the like would not particularly like it either. One shot, one kill, is best when it is possible.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master Artful's Avatar
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    I have done it with my 358 Savage 99 when I forget my pocket full of low power small game loads
    je suis charlie

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    I have always understood the barking shot to produce sudden death due to concussive effects under a squirrel's head as he hugs a tree branch. Don't believe shrapnel has anything to do with it.

    Once, on a south Texas deer hunt, I watched the slow approach of a bobcat into the open. I was armed with an old Sako Forrester 243 using factory soft points. I knew a body shot would ruin the pelt, so I cranked up the Leupold 3x9 (sighted in before the hunt) and aimed for just inside the skin of the chest cavity, figuring the shock of bullet passage would stop the heart. At the shot, the cat flopped a bit and fell on his shadow. There were two bullet holes in him, less than 2 inches apart and both of bore diameter. Worked!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I have also heard that barking a squirrel can happen in either of two ways. First is that the squirrel dies from the impact of flying bark. Second, the debris stuns the varmint and it falls from the tree still alive. Once it is on the ground, the hunter dispatches it. Seems that either method should give good results.

    Several times while deer hunting I have been challenged by a squirrel in a tree. This past season a squirrel sat on a branch and screamed "RRR RRRRRRRR" with louder emphasis on the first word than the second. He screamed this 2-word chant for 20 minutes. I think he was sending out a warning notice into the woods that danger was close by and to avoid that area. I didn't see any deer that day and have to give credit to the squirrel for keeping them away. Thinking back, I think the squirrel was doing two things at the same time. First was giving out the danger call. Second he was taunting me with a "F... You!" as he was keeping the deer away. It worked for him.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Nueces View Post
    I have always understood the barking shot to produce sudden death due to concussive effects under a squirrel's head as he hugs a tree branch. Don't believe shrapnel has anything to do with it.

    Once, on a south Texas deer hunt, I watched the slow approach of a bobcat into the open. I was armed with an old Sako Forrester 243 using factory soft points. I knew a body shot would ruin the pelt, so I cranked up the Leupold 3x9 (sighted in before the hunt) and aimed for just inside the skin of the chest cavity, figuring the shock of bullet passage would stop the heart. At the shot, the cat flopped a bit and fell on his shadow. There were two bullet holes in him, less than 2 inches apart and both of bore diameter. Worked!

    I think you are probably right, most of the time. A squirrel hugs the tree pretty closely, especially when he is aware of someone around, so he might easily be killed or stunned by a violent swelling of the bark under his chest. I should think there is a high likelihood of flying fragments though, and deliberate or accidental, that imposes a high risk of the squirrel getting away to die. Bark must be highly conducive to infection.

    Not many people need a squirrel that badly nowadays - especially the head, and I can't see that the head shot would require much more accuracy. There are now wide areas where it would be considered unacceptable cruelty to trees too.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Works pretty well with a .50 cal Hawkin. The trick is to aim at the line between his head and the limb he's on. You either hit his head, or shoot low and the chunks of bark get him. He'll hit the ground looking like he has a beard of wood splinters.
    Often he's just stunned, so you need to step lively and get to him before he recovers his senses. I doubt I could pull this off very consistently now, I don't have the eyes I once had.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master poppy42's Avatar
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    A long time ago I was bear hunting in the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York. I was perched in my tree stand when I was verbally accosted by a red squirrel. Red squirrels in this area can be quite aggressive and have been known to attack and kill the much larger gray squirrels over territory. As the weather abruptly changed and it became quite obvious that this was not going to be a good day for hunting bear I decided it was time to get rid of this pesky red squirrel. Which was now about 4 foot away from me on a limb looking directly at me and carrying on quite violently. My hunting rifle was an interarm mark 10 7 mm Mauser. I also carried a Ruger GP 100 357 magnum just in case of. As I did not reload it the time I saw no reason to waste a rather expensive hunting ground on the squirrel so I pulled out my trusty 357 magnum and took care of business. Unfortunately there wasn’t much left of the small limb he was on or the squirrel itself . I guess my story doesn’t have much to do with barking squirrel but your post had me reminiscing about some bygone days and I felt the need to tell a story . Thanks for listening
    Long, Wide, Deep, and Without Hesitation!

  13. #13
    read a story a while back how squirrels kept this guy from getting dear for several hunts over the period of a couple years, same thing- he gets to spot , the tree rat go nuts…he gets skunked out.

    So the next few visits he take his slingshot . now . he goes to spot and walks around his stand/ area to hunt & . as soon as a "bush tail" barks he sends 00 lead balls or steel balls up to deal with it.

    he has now taken a few dear there in that tiny lot he can legally hunt on now with out all the back talk from the critters...

  14. #14
    Boolit Master starnbar's Avatar
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    In my younger days I would get in my tree stand at least an hour before daybreak one year I got in and settled down with one of my sons about 50 yards away when it breaks dawn good a tree rat in the oak tree right next to me comes out of a hole in the tree and stated barking up a storm I eased my rifle around so it was pointed right at him he made about 2-3 quick barks and ran back in his den didn't see him for the rest of the day. My son was laughing his head off

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    I thought the title was a joke, much like sending a new guy looking for a box of grid squares or chem light batteries. My hunting buddy of 20 years always referred to his passing gas as a barking squirrel when we were in the woods. I got a good laugh and learned a new term and way to take small game. Thank you.
    I Like Guns - Steve Lee

  16. #16
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    Don't know about the squirrels but it does work for woodpeckers
    Whatever!

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