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Thread: Barking Squirrels?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Albemarle County, VA

    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..

    Μολὼν λαβέ

    "Si vis pacem para bellum"

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    South Louisiana
    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
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    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
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Good frontier lore. Takes something bigger than a 22RF.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    rancher1913's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    plains of colorado
    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
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Goodhue County, Minnesota
    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.
    "If ya don't like my gate, ya don't have to swing on the hinges..." - L. Ackerman ( RIP)
    "A man ought ta do what he thinks is best" - "Hondo" Lane.(John Wayne)

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Artful's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Valley of the SUNs, AZ
    I have done it with my 358 Savage 99 when I forget my pocket full of low power small game loads
    je suis charlie

    It is better to live one day as a LION than a dozen days as a Sheep.

    Thomas Jefferson Quotations:
    "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

    Nueces's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Texas Hill Country
    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!

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