Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

The joy of the outdoors is not limited to just fishing. Talk about hunting and share stories about hunting trips.

Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby Phil6 » Sep Wed 25, 2019 12:42 pm

I've always wanted to hunt but never had an opportunity to; my father doesn't hunt (hes pro-hunting to be clear, just doesnt do it) and I dont have any other family in the states. I never had a "foot in" to the hunting world, all the restrictions and regulations have kept me outside the loop but I've decided to take steps towards the right direction. Because I'm new to hunting, I don't think it would be responsible to try and draw deer or turkey tags without any experience in the field. I believe that hunting small game would be a great way to get started without the stress of "screwing something up"

I've already taken my hunter safety course ("common sense course" would be a better name) and looked into regulations on squirrel hunting. Shooting squirrels on my buddies half acre is good fun and all, but it wont provide me with "in field" experience that I am looking for. I've looked near and far for public land where you can harvest tree rats, but the closest I can find seems to be "Lowden - Miller Forest" about 1.5 hours away, and the season there ends on the 30th of September, aka I have this weekend to get out there. The IL squirrel season is much longer, but this specific area has a limited season. It seems strange that so many locations allow for various deer seasons/hunts but don't allow you to hunt squirrels.

One specific question I have- is it ok to use a pellet rifle (.22) for public land small game hunting? I see many mentions of "air guns" in the regs, but I want to make sure thats not specific to the air guns that have built in pressurized tanks that shoot a slug

If anyone has any experience with small game hunting in IL (or just hunting in general), I would value and truly appreciate any input you may have.
I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news. - JM
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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby billebob5 » Sep Wed 25, 2019 2:35 pm

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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby billebob5 » Sep Wed 25, 2019 2:43 pm

just did some snooping around at the Hunter Fact Sheet site and found you can use a .25 or less caliber air rifle at Goose Lake Prairie / Heidecke Lake but only in certain areas...... never knew that.
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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby Rambler » Sep Wed 25, 2019 2:50 pm

Can't help much but I hope you kill lots of those little MFs. :D
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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby vman01 » Sep Wed 25, 2019 3:03 pm

The pointed (Christmas tree style) pellets give good penetration and shoot pretty straight.
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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby charliebravo77 » Sep Wed 25, 2019 3:10 pm

Phil6 wrote:Adult onset hunter


Hey Phil,

Glad to hear you're interested in hunting and the outdoors! I got into hunting as an adult with no family members that are hunters so I know the feeling, Illinois is also super overwhelming with all the regulations and stuff to deal with. I am a mentor/volunteer with the Illinois Learn to Hunt program that is targeted at adults https://publish.illinois.edu/hunttrapillinois/ and am a co-chair of the Illinois chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.

I also created this map that shows the public DNR sites a bit better than their own website does: https://engineeredpursuit.com/illinois- ... ting-areas.

Lowden-Miller and Iroquois are the two sites close-ish to Chicago that I hunt frequently for squirrels, though there are some sites in WI that I have hunted too. A non-resident small game license isn't terribly expensive up there and there is a fair bit of land just over the border open for hunting with things other than shotguns.

Feel free to PM me your email/phone number to text and I can chat with you about anything you're curious about and maybe point you in the right direction.
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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby Phil6 » Sep Wed 25, 2019 3:10 pm

Thanks bob, I was using that as a resource to check the public lands I was finding. Great tool for seeing where you can target specific species and what kind of numbers they hold. Thats interesting about Goose/Heidecke, not many trees around, would make it difficult i'm sure.


Additionally, I would be more than happy to go up to Wi if needed, I had actually started started this journey planning to go up to Nicolet
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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby Phil6 » Sep Wed 25, 2019 3:17 pm

charliebravo77 wrote:
Phil6 wrote:Adult onset hunter


Hey Phil,



CB, thanks for the post.

I cant believe you created that map.... that's how I found lowden! I still have the tab open from my earlier searches. A truly great resource that youve made available to the public, thank you.

I think I read or heard somewhere that adult onset hunters make up only something like 2% of the hunting population (dont quote me on that), so its definitely great to hear from someone with a similar experience. I'll shoot you a DM!
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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby charliebravo77 » Sep Wed 25, 2019 3:29 pm

Phil6 wrote:
I cant believe you created that map.... that's how I found lowden! I still have the tab open from my earlier searches. A truly great resource that youve made available to the public, thank you.


Heh, yeah it's kinda my claim to fame, at least here in Illinois. Kinda wish I charged $.99 for it as an app or something, it's gotten 434,422 views since 2015 :D

Definitely shoot me a message, and check out the Learn to Hunt program. They only have a deer clinic scheduled right now (Oct 5, down in Charleston, IL) but they have done small game clinics in the past and will probably hold more in the spring. Doesn't do a lot of good for you right now, but in the meantime maybe if things line up I can meet you somewhere and show you at least what I know.
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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby urbanHog312 » Sep Thu 26, 2019 11:40 am

good stuff phil. chasing game means putting the miles on. I did my fair share of public land hunting in college before my hunting mentor took me under his wing. Let me know if you have any questions on game or public access. good luck this season!
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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby HEDDONFROG » Sep Fri 27, 2019 1:15 am

Phil, Bruce. He has 220 acres now near Channahon or however it’s spelled. Probably would have helped if you’d have bought some DU raffle tickets from him but I’ll ask
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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby Aux Pleins » Sep Fri 27, 2019 7:55 am

I never looked at squirrel and thought that looks tasty, but im a very picky eater. If you're looking into an easy transition into hunting I recommend getting one of these :

https://youtu.be/9aCfFHJeMOk
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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby charliebravo77 » Sep Fri 27, 2019 9:22 am

Aux Pleins wrote:I never looked at squirrel and thought that looks tasty, but im a very picky eater. If you're looking into an easy transition into hunting I recommend getting one of these :

https://youtu.be/9aCfFHJeMOk


As soon as I get more than the single squirrel I have in the freezer I'm making this:

Image
https://honest-food.net/agnolotti-recipe-meat/
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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby Phil6 » Sep Fri 27, 2019 9:43 am

Thank you Urb, Im looking forward to putting in the hours

HEDDONFROG wrote:Phil, Bruce. He has 220 acres now near Channahon or however it’s spelled. Probably would have helped if you’d have bought some DU raffle tickets from him but I’ll ask


I honestly meant to when we went wadding w/ bren but forgot to after we screwed up the ride/arrival time. Thats on me

Aux, I have a little archery experience w/ compound bows from when I was younger (my middle school science fair project was a report on the penetration ability of various modern arrow head styles, wonder if theyd even allow that these days :lol: ) so I'll probably go that route when it comes down to it. Crossbows have been blowing up these last few years though, maybe I'll try one soon
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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby Woohoodude11 » Sep Fri 27, 2019 10:32 am

Phil6 wrote:wonder if theyd even allow that these days :lol:

You act like that wasn't like 5 years ago child lmao
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Re: Squirrel Shootin' (new hunter, getting started)

Postby Phil6 » Sep Fri 27, 2019 11:05 am

Woohoodude11 wrote:
Phil6 wrote:wonder if theyd even allow that these days :lol:

You act like that wasn't like 5 years ago child lmao


lmao, I know and thats the worst part. This culture is aging me faster than it should. My back hurts and I blame the media. :wink:
I am losing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news. - JM
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