Squirrel Hunting: The Best Calibers for Squirrel Hunting

Squirrel Hunting: The Best Calibers for Squirrel Hunting

Are you an avid squirrel hunter looking to enhance your hunting experience? Choosing the right caliber for squirrel hunting is crucial for accuracy and efficiency. In this article, we will explore the best calibers that are ideal for squirrel hunting. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced hunter, understanding the benefits of different calibers will help you make an informed decision and improve your squirrel hunting skills. Read on to discover the top calibers and gain valuable insights into the world of squirrel hunting.

Overview of squirrel hunting

Squirrel hunting is a popular outdoor activity enjoyed by many hunting enthusiasts. It involves tracking and hunting squirrels, which are small, agile creatures found in various wooded areas across the world. This article explores the reasons behind the popularity of squirrel hunting and provides some basic tips for those interested in pursuing this exciting sport.

Why squirrel hunting is popular

  1. Abundance of squirrels: Squirrels are plentiful in many regions, making them a popular target for hunters. Their population is often high, and they can be found in forests, parks, and even suburban areas, offering ample opportunities for hunting.

  2. Challenging pursuit: Squirrel hunting requires skill, patience, and precision. These nimble creatures are quick, agile, and possess excellent camouflage abilities, making them a worthy challenge for hunters. Successfully tracking and bagging a squirrel can provide a great sense of accomplishment.

  3. Year-round hunting: Unlike many other game animals, squirrel hunting is not limited to a specific season. In most areas, squirrel hunting is open all year long. This flexibility allows hunters to pursue their passion whenever they desire, making it a popular choice among hunting enthusiasts.

  4. Affordable and accessible: Squirrel hunting is a relatively affordable outdoor activity compared to other types of hunting. It requires minimal equipment, with a basic rifle or shotgun, appropriate ammunition, and suitable clothing being the primary necessities. Additionally, squirrels can be found in various locations, making it accessible to a wider range of hunters.

Basic tips for squirrel hunting

  1. Choose the right firearm: When it comes to squirrel hunting, the choice of firearm is crucial. It is recommended to use a .22 caliber rifle or a shotgun with a small gauge, such as a 410. These calibers are ideal for squirrel hunting as they provide sufficient power and accuracy without causing excessive damage to the meat.

  2. Practice marksmanship: Squirrel hunting requires precise shooting skills due to the small target size and the need to minimize damage to the meat. Regular practice at a shooting range can help improve marksmanship, ensuring clean and ethical kills.

  3. Scout the hunting area: Before heading out for a squirrel hunting trip, scout the area to familiarize yourself with the terrain, squirrel habitats, and potential hunting spots. Look for signs of squirrel activity, such as nests, chewed tree bark, or acorn debris. This knowledge will increase your chances of finding squirrels during your hunt.

  4. Stay still and be patient: Squirrels have excellent eyesight and can quickly detect movement. To maximize your chances of success, find a comfortable spot, blend into the surroundings, and remain motionless. Patience is key in squirrel hunting, as squirrels are known to be curious and may approach if they feel safe.

  5. Use calls and decoys: Squirrel calls and decoys can be effective tools in attracting squirrels. Mimicking their vocalizations or using decoys that resemble squirrels can lure them closer, providing better shooting opportunities. However, it is important to use these techniques ethically and within local hunting regulations.

By following these basic tips, you can enhance your squirrel hunting experience and increase your chances of a successful hunt. Remember to prioritize safety, respect local hunting laws, and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors while engaging in this thrilling pursuit.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Calibers

When it comes to squirrel hunting, choosing the right caliber is essential for a successful and humane hunting experience. There are several factors that you should consider before selecting a caliber for squirrel hunting. These factors include effective range and accuracy, adequate power for humane kills, and legal requirements and restrictions.

Effective Range and Accuracy

One of the primary factors to consider when choosing calibers for squirrel hunting is the effective range and accuracy. Squirrels are small and agile creatures, often found high up in trees or darting through dense foliage. Therefore, it is crucial to select a caliber that offers both sufficient range and accuracy to effectively take down squirrels.

Calibers such as .22LR (Long Rifle) or .17HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire) are popular choices for squirrel hunting due to their excellent accuracy and relatively flat trajectory. These calibers allow hunters to make precise shots at longer distances, increasing the likelihood of hitting the target effectively.

Adequate Power for Humane Kills

Another factor to consider is the adequate power of the chosen caliber for humane kills. Squirrel hunting requires a balance between power and overkill. Using a caliber that is too powerful can result in excessive damage to the squirrel, making it difficult to retrieve the game or ruining the meat.

Calibers like .22LR and .17HMR provide sufficient power to take down squirrels effectively without causing excessive damage. These calibers offer a good combination of power and controlled expansion, ensuring clean and humane kills.

Legal Requirements and Restrictions

It is essential to be aware of the legal requirements and restrictions regarding calibers for squirrel hunting in your specific area. Different jurisdictions may have specific regulations regarding the minimum caliber or restrictions on certain types of ammunition.

Before heading out for squirrel hunting, familiarize yourself with the local hunting regulations and ensure that your chosen caliber complies with the legal requirements. This will help you avoid any potential legal issues and ensure responsible hunting practices.

In conclusion, choosing the right caliber for squirrel hunting involves considering factors such as effective range and accuracy, adequate power for humane kills, and adhering to legal requirements and restrictions. By taking these factors into account, you can make an informed decision and enhance your squirrel hunting experience.

Top calibers for squirrel hunting


The 22LR caliber is a popular choice among squirrel hunters due to its versatility and effectiveness. This rimfire cartridge offers a good balance between power and accuracy, making it suitable for small game hunting like squirrel hunting. The 22LR caliber provides enough stopping power to take down squirrels without causing excessive damage to the meat or pelt.

One advantage of the 22LR is its affordability. Ammunition for this caliber is widely available and generally more affordable compared to other calibers, making it an economical choice for frequent squirrel hunters. Additionally, the 22LR is known for its low recoil, which makes it easy to handle and allows for quick follow-up shots if needed.

17 HMR

Another excellent choice for squirrel hunting is the 17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire). This caliber offers a significant increase in velocity and accuracy compared to the 22LR, making it a favorite among hunters looking for extended range and precision. The 17 HMR delivers a flat trajectory and excellent energy transfer upon impact, making it highly effective for taking down squirrels at longer distances.

The 17 HMR is particularly valued for its minimal meat damage. The small bullet size and high velocity of this caliber result in clean kills with limited tissue disruption. This means that squirrel hunters can enjoy the meat without worrying about excessive damage or loss.

177 Air Rifle

For those who prefer a quieter and more cost-effective option, the 177 air rifle is a popular choice for squirrel hunting. Air rifles are known for their quiet operation, which can be advantageous when hunting in areas where noise might scare off game or disturb nearby residents.

The 177 air rifle, also known as the 4.5mm caliber, offers sufficient power to take down squirrels while still being relatively quiet. Additionally, air rifles are often more affordable compared to firearms, and ammunition for these rifles can be purchased at a lower cost or even reused with a simple pellet mold.

Furthermore, the 177 air rifle is a versatile choice for squirrel hunting as it allows for precise shot placement. With proper technique and practice, hunters can achieve accurate shots at shorter distances, making this caliber suitable for hunting in dense forests or areas with limited visibility.

In conclusion, squirrel hunting enthusiasts have several top calibers to choose from. The 22LR offers a balanced combination of power, affordability, and low recoil. The 17 HMR provides increased velocity and accuracy, resulting in clean kills with minimal meat damage. Lastly, the 177 air rifle offers a quiet and cost-effective option, allowing for precise shot placement in various hunting environments. Ultimately, the best caliber for squirrel hunting depends on personal preferences and specific hunting conditions.

In conclusion, when it comes to squirrel hunting, choosing the right caliber is essential for a successful and humane hunting experience. While there are various options available, the .22 caliber is widely regarded as the best choice due to its accuracy, versatility, and effectiveness in taking down squirrels. Additionally, the .17 HMR and .410 bore shotgun are also viable options, depending on personal preferences and hunting conditions. Ultimately, it is important for hunters to consider factors such as range, power, and ammunition availability before making a decision. By selecting the appropriate caliber, hunters can maximize their chances of a successful squirrel hunting outing while ensuring ethical hunting practices.