Whitesburg KY
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Struttin’ Time

Tell youth about joys of squirrel hunting


This is the time of year when veteran hunters should be getting our youth interested in squirrel hunting. If we don’t bring them into our way of life now our sport will be dead. It is already on life support.

We need to get our young people into the woods and away from cell phones, computers, and video games. Squirrel season opens this year on August 15. I remember as a young boy, growing up in McRoberts, this was a big deal. We would oil our guns, spray our tents, air out our sleeping bags, check our shells, get our coolers together, and start loading the trucks well in advance of the big day.

My first trip to the Cumberland National Forest, now the Daniel Boone, came in 1962 The adventure is still burned in my mind’s eye. By this time I had killed many gray squirrels around home, but there were strange types of squirrels in the Cumberland, ones we had heard about but never hunted.

The first one I saw that morning was as dark as the darkest night you have ever seen. I had to study it for a few minutes before I pulled the trigger. I still have that black squirrel. It was mounted for me by a childhood friend who has long departed.

After shooting three more grays, I happened upon one cutting that was so big the tree branch almost broke with its weight. It was the biggest squirrel I had ever seen. It was also my first fox squirrel.

In those days we knew nothing of conservation. We were just a group from the mountains hunting the opening weekend of squirrel season. Although I was only a teenager I think that I knew something wasn’t right about killing our limit that morning and then repeating it that evening. I heard the grownups say “leave some for seed,” but we never did.

It has been years since I have seen a black squirrel in the national forest, and the fox squirrels are few and far between. We live and learn. Our hunters would pass up half a dozen grays just to kill one black. We would never do that today.

Remember, the Kids Days/ Back to School Bash will be held in Whitesburg on July 31 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Until next time, take a child hunting. It is the best time you will ever spend.


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