table and were vigorously pursued.
The bundles of leaves are nests made by squirrels and the cuttings are discarded shells of tree nuts eaten by the squirrels. Since squirrels are most active in the early mornings and late afternoon these are the most productive times to hunt them, either by sitting and waiting at a likely looking area or moving slowly and scanning the trees for movement. Most of the time you will hear the squirrels rustling in the leaves before you see them, whenever you hear a commotion in the leaves it is best to pause and look for the telltale shaking of branches or for the squirrels scurrying on the forest floor. Squirrels are pretty small animals but surprisingly tough for their size. Shotguns in 12 or 20 gauge with high-brass number 5 or number 6 shot is an excellent choice in the early season when the leaves are still on the trees and shots will be close. Later into the season when the leaves are off, and the squirrels have been hunted and are more skittish, shots will be longer so a scoped .22 is a good choice.
What do you do with squirrels when you're lucky enough to bag a few? As I mentioned they are delicious and can be used in tons of recipes. For brevity I am not going to get into cleaning methods or recipes, a simple google search will bring up tons of both. I will say that my personal favorite way to use squirrels is with dumplings, just like chicken and dumplings, and in Brunswick stew. It is actually opinioned that if it does not have a squirrel in it then it is not truly Brunswick stew.
If you enjoy roaming the woods and putting good wild meat on the table then, by all means, give squirrel hunting a try. A big pot of squirrel dumplings or squirrel stew sure beats three hickory nuts and a couple of rocks every time!!