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Squirrel hunting season opens Saturday

From Staff Reports
Tennessee’s hunting season for gray, fox and red squirrels opens on Saturday, Aug. 25, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). The season continues through Feb. 29, 2013 with a daily bag limit of 10.
Opening day of squirrel season coincides with Tennessee’s Free Hunting Day. On free hunting day, all Tennessee resident hunters are exempted from hunting licenses and WMA permits requirements.
The hunting season for squirrels is one of the longest fall seasons and one of the most underutilized, according to the TWRA. Squirrel populations tend to rise and fall with the availability of hard mast (food primarily acorns and hickory nuts). Mast production the past few years has been fair to good and has resulted in good populations of squirrels.
Two of the most productive ways to hunt squirrels are still-hunting (slowly walking through the woods watching for squirrels) and stand-hunting (sitting near food trees). Squirrel hunting with dogs has been gaining popularity in recent years. The best hunting with dogs generally occurs from November through February after the trees shed their leaves.
There are five species of tree squirrels found in Tennessee, the TWRA press release said. Two species, the southern flying squirrel and the northern flying squirrel, are not hunted. They are small and nocturnal and seldom seen.
The most abundant is the gray squirrel and is found statewide. The fox squirrel, the largest of Tennessee’s squirrels, is less common than the gray, but in some areas they out-number the grays. Due to its large size and distinctive coloration, the fox squirrel is a trophy among the squirrel hunting ranks. The red squirrel or “boomer” is the smallest of the hunted squirrels. It is found in the higher elevations of the Appalachian mountains of East Tennessee.
Squirrels are abundant in most areas where patches of woods are available. Excellent squirrel hunting can be found on many of TWRA’s wildlife management areas, the press release said.
Squirrel hunting is one of the best ways to introduce a young hunter to the outdoors and squirrels are known for their excellent table fare, according to the TWRA.
For more information on Tennessee hunting seasons pick up a 2012 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide, available at all TWRA Regional Offices and at all hunting license agents or go online at www.tnwildlife.org.