Squirrel Hunting With Dogs: 8 Things to Know Before You Go


If you’re a hunter looking for adventure, squirrel hunting will deliver an action-packed day that lets you practice and improve your skills in the field. Unlike other types of game, squirrels are incredibly common across the US and Canada, so they won’t be difficult to find once you head into the woods. You can also employ a variety of tactics and hunting styles, including hunting squirrels with dogs. If you're new to squirrel hunting with dogs, this blog post will provide you with everything you need to know to get started.

8 Best Tips for Dogs on Squirrel Hunt

Squirrel hunting is more than just the time spent in the woods. It includes the pre-hunt preparations, such as understanding local regulations, getting permits and gear, squirrel dog training, and more.

1. Best Dog Breeds for Squirrel Hunting

Not all dog breeds are suitable for squirrel hunting. Some of the best breeds for squirrel hunting include:

  • Mountain Feists
  • Curs (Mountain curs, Treeing Curs,Leopard Curs, Black Mouth Curs, and more)
  • Beagles
  • Jack Russel Terriers
  • Border Collies
  • Airedales
  • Coonhounds

These breeds are all known for their high energy levels, their intelligence, and their ability to track and tree squirrels.

2. Squirrel Hunting Regulations and Permits

Before you go squirrel hunting with your dog, research local regulations for guidelines on small game. The rules will vary from state to state and will likely include:

  • Dates of squirrel hunting season
  • Shooting hours
  • Prohibited species 
  • Daily, season, and/or bag limits 
  • And more

When squirrel hunting with dogs, some areas may require you to have your dog licensed and microchipped. You may also need to have your dog wear a collar with your name and contact information on it.

3. Squirrel Hunting Safety Gear

Squirrel hunting can be a safe activity, but it's important to take some safety precautions. This includes wearing the proper clothing and gear, such as:

  • Sturdy, waterproof boots
  • Hats
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • First-aid supplies 
  • Whistle 
  • GPS device, like SpotOn Fence

4. Squirrel Dog Training

Squirrel dog breeds are smart, prey driven and will naturally know how to track and tree squirrels and with training, you can nurture these instincts and make them more intentional. 

Practice these skills by visiting areas with a large squirrel population and tree cover that's light enough to give your dog plenty of visibility. After the dog trees the squirrel, offer praise and rewards to encourage them to bark. Positive reinforcement is key with squirrel dog training and you’ll want to choose a reward that works for your dog so they’ll be motivated to learn and repeat the behavior. By practicing these skills, it will help amplify your dog’s instincts and help shape them into an effective squirrel hunting dog.

5. Hydration and Nutrition

Squirrel hunting can be a physically demanding activity, so make sure that your dog is well-hydrated and well-nourished. Bring plenty of water and snacks for your dog, and give your dogs a chance to rest and cool off during the hunt.

6. Potential Injuries

As with any outdoor activity, there is always the potential for injury. Squirrel hunting is no exception. Some of the most common injuries that can occur during squirrel hunting include: puncture wounds from thorns, branches, and barbed wire; snakebites; insect bites; poison ivy; sprains; hypothermia; and heat stroke.

Prior to squirrel hunting with dogs, get trained on how to administer first aid and pack a first-aid kit with some of the essentials, such as:

  • Gauze pads
  • Self-adhering bandage wrap
  • Bandage scissors 
  • Antibiotic lotion
  • Alcohol pads
  • Irrigation syringe or plastic squeeze bottle to flush wounds 
  • Eye wash
  • Emergency blankets 
  • Rescue sling carrier

7. Ticks and Parasites

Squirrel hunting grounds can be infested with ticks and other parasites. Dirty water can expose your dog to a range of fungal infections and other parasites that can affect both young and old squirrel dog breeds. After the hunt, be sure to check your dog for ticks and monitor them for symptoms like diarrhea, which can signal an intestinal parasite infection. If you find any ticks or notice these symptoms, take your dog to the veterinarian to be checked out and if necessary, get treatment.

8. Area Limits

You may not be mindful of containing your dog when off for a day of hunting, but using a GPS collar to create virtual fences can be extremely helpful. Using these devices can prevent your dog from straying off, pursuing squirrels across busy roads, or trespassing onto private property, where hunting may not be welcome.

SpotOn GPS Fence will allow you to create a virtual fence with no acreage limits, so you can contain your dog in large spaces and set fence boundaries to keep your dog within that precise area without worry. You create and manage fences on the app, so there’s no clunky hardware or transmitters to deal with while hunting. SpotOn works off of GPS alone and does not rely on cellular signals, which could be spotty where you’re hunting. Each collar is outfitted with “forest mode” which helps it maintain the accuracy of GPS signals, even when you’re under dense tree cover so there’s limited interference. SpotOn is waterproof, so you can make fences across any streams that you may encounter and won’t have to worry if conditions are muddy.

Discover the Joys of Squirrel Hunting with Your Pup!

Hunting squirrels with dogs can be a great way to bond with your hunting buddies, canine and otherwise. By following the tips in this blog post, you can ensure that your next outing squirrel hunting with dogs can be a success. GPS dog collars and fences can help make these outings even more enjoyable, by reducing worry about your dog’s safety — learn more about the SpotOn system today. 


Author Bio:
Jacqui Lantagne is a New England-based animal lover who enjoys spoiling Milton, a spirited mixed breed rescue dog.

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