Barking squirrels?

JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior MemberPosts: 6,609 Senior Member
And no, CPJ, not the mythical creature you blame for the noise you make when passing gas. Besides, everyone knows those are barking rock spiders.

I'm referring to the time honored practice of intentionally missing a squirrel but hitting close enough so that a chunk of flying bark will hit the squirrel and kill or stun it. The purpose, I am told, it to not waste any meat.

Yesterday a friend and I were discussing this, and I asserted that the goal was to have the bark hit the squirrel in the head. He thought it was to have the flying bark hit the squirrel's heart area. The conclusion we reached is that neither of us really know, so I'm here to ask the experts.

Please advise, and thanks!
Jerry

Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
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Replies

  • twatwa Senior Member Posts: 2,231 Senior Member
    Don't have an answer for your question, but I would think if you are hunting them you would shoot to hit them?? Those Damn tree rat barkers like to screw up my deer hunting a lot it seems. I am so tempted to launch arrows at the little suckers. Not to get too far off track, and I hope I am not hijacking your thread, but do you think they alarm deer when they are barking?
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 9,596 Senior Member
    I think it's a bit of an old wives tale. It will probably work some times, but not a majority. If you are shooting for your supper you would take the higher percentage head shot. Some damaged meat is better than none.

    I've taken half the skull of of squirrels and they still run a ways.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 9,596 Senior Member
    twa wrote: »
    Don't have an answer for your question, but I would think if you are hunting them you would shoot to hit them?? Those Damn tree rat barkers like to screw up my deer hunting a lot it seems. I am so tempted to launch arrows at the little suckers. Not to get too far off track, and I hope I am not hijacking your thread, but do you think they alarm deer when they are barking?

    Yes! So do Blue Jays....
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,183 Senior Member
    http://forums.gunsandammo.com/showthread.php?10425-Have-you-ever-barked-a-squirrel

    It is possible to kill one in that manner, and it is also possible to just knock one out.
    If I were going to bark squirrels, I'd carry a ball **** hammer to make sure they really were dead, and not 'playing possum'. :silly:

    Anyway, if you can aim close enough to hit the bark under the squirrel's head, it would be better to just shoot it in the head. A 'dead' squirrel coming to life in your game bag could cause a bit too much excitement! :tooth:
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • sherwoodsherwood Senior Member Posts: 1,215 Senior Member
    I always heard to aim for the head to bark it. But never seen it done.
    I may be old but I ain't dead!
    DPRMD
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    I believe barking squirrels was done with a deer rifle, not your 22.
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 6,609 Senior Member
    Thanks for the responses. As one can see, I'm not much of a squirrel hunter. The ones we have a round here are the little grey squirrels that taste like turpentine. I'd probably be doing the state a favor by killing some, but I sure as heck don't want to eat another one.

    It's been my impression that barking was a practice common when the muzzle loader was the latest technology, and 32 caliber was usually as small a projectile as was used. For that, I can see why you don't want to make a direct hit. And, I used to knew an elderly man who liked squirrel brains.

    Anyway, keep 'em coming, and thanks again.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Senior Member Posts: 2,725 Senior Member
    In theory the practice goes back to the flintlock days when a .50cal to a .68cal was normally carried. A ball of this size, moving at maybe 1,500fps would do significant damage to a squirrel sized animal. So, the old practice--again in "theory"--was to hit just under the squirrel's head and killing it with flying bark and concussion. I, and several of my buddies, still squirrel hunt with flintlocks and caplocks, and our rule of thumb, our goal, is to kill the daily limit with HEAD shots. 'Course the cals. that we use now are .24cal up to about .32cal, maybe a couple of .36cals in the group. Barking isn't practiced by us....we shoot to kill with head shots.

    One other thing.....believe what tennmike points out! Several years ago I shot a squirrel out of a tree pretty high up. The squirrel fell out, tumbling down through the limbs and landed a few feet from one of my buddies. He stepped over and picked it up....limp and dead for sure. But the .32cal ball had just barely creased the top of the squirrel's head and the damn thing came to life with a vengeance! He was holding a "Singer Sewing Machine" in his hands, and had to slam the squirrel off to get free of it! Severely bitten, several times!
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,982 Senior Member
    I barked one once, probably skipper the lead shot up the tree and did it in.
    The squirrel was too close to just shoot and the aspect angle was such that I would have blown it to pieces if I had just shot it.

    An old man I knew told we that they used to bark them that way when he was a kid, so barking can have several methods.
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,311 Senior Member
    I don't know about barking a squirrel, but I like to grin possums down.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,982 Senior Member
    on a skateboard?
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,311 Senior Member
    Never saw a possum on a skateboard. Me and David Crockett are the only ones I know of who can/could do it.

    I seriously doubt a squirrel could be barked, but I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise. I think it came from braggadocio claims in 19th century fiction.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 4,648 Senior Member
    JerryBobCo wrote: »
    Thanks for the responses. As one can see, I'm not much of a squirrel hunter. The ones we have a round here are the little grey squirrels that taste like turpentine. I'd probably be doing the state a favor by killing some, but I sure as heck don't want to eat another one.

    It's been my impression that barking was a practice common when the muzzle loader was the latest technology, and 32 caliber was usually as small a projectile as was used. For that, I can see why you don't want to make a direct hit. And, I used to knew an elderly man who liked squirrel brains.

    Anyway, keep 'em coming, and thanks again.

    It's not exactly "barking", but I have a 1st cousin, considerably older than me, who would get bored while deer hunting, and would "gut" fox squirrels with a Mod 94 .30-30. When I was about ten years old, I saw him come out of the woods one evening with seven fox squirrels......all almost completely eviscerated with nary a hint of damaged meat. With iron sights. And he wasn't really even a "shooter" as we on this board would judge one.

    But, he did better with a .30-30 against tree rats that I can usually do with a 12 gauge.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,311 Senior Member
    I gutted one with a .22 Hornet. He was on a limb, facing me, and I was upstairs looking out my bedroom window. Went in the chest, came out the other end. The only time I've ever done that.

    Never seen a fox squirrel in the woods, they're rare around here. Wonder how they taste.

    I've shot at a bunch of squirrels with a longbow, usually the dodge the arrow with a slow bow like a longbow. I hit one with a field point and he ran a good way with my arrow before buying the farm. And I hit him good, too. A blunt? I don't know about that, I'd think it would take a better shot than I am to kill one with my preferred hunting equipment.

    If you've got armadillos, do NOT shoot one unless you want to break an arrow. The kill zone on a dillo is about the size of a shot glass and they'll scurry away and break a good arrow.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,982 Senior Member
    a fox squirrel here. Wonder how they taste.
    Been awhile, but, about the same as a grey squirrel
    in other words good and they're than greys.
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Senior Member Posts: 2,725 Senior Member
    Fox Squirrels are a species of special concern in the Deep Southeast due to habitat destruction. Kill one in Fladah and get caught, and it's 30 days in the electric chair. Not sure about Georgia's laws on fox squirrels. The two, fox squirrels and grey squirrels, are about as different in their habitat requirements and social nature as night and day. Fox squirrels are a male dominated social society. An old dominant male will have a harem of several females that he watches over and protects to the death. Let a young male wander into its territory looking the Gals over, and a fight to the death may take place. Grey squirrels, on the other hand, are the most social and PROMISCUOUS animals we have in the woods. Every one of 'em will mate with every other one they can get their hands on. There is no such thing as a family unit with greys. Fathers, daughters, any other female (numerous times) mothers, children, whatever....they get it on big time!
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    I doubt a blunt from a longbow would kill one. I broke ones back with one, (compound bow) had to chase it down but it ended up fried.

    I've had them run off with an arrow in them before.
    I'd heard that an arrow through one would pin him to the ground. Not true?

    And what do you mean fried? You ate the thing?
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,429 Senior Member
    Then there's those squirrels who choose not to go quietly- - - - - - -

    EVIL MUTANT ATTACK – SQUIRREL OF DEATH

    I never dreamed slowly cruising on my motorcycle through a residential
    neighborhood could be so incredibly dangerous! Little did I suspect. I
    was on Brice Street - a very nice neighborhood with perfect lawns and
    slow traffic.

    As I passed an oncoming car; a brown, furry missile shot out from under
    it and tumbled to a stop immediately in front of me.

    It was a squirrel and must have been trying to run across the road when
    it encountered the car. I really was not going very fast, but there was
    no time to brake or avoid it -- it was that close. I hate to run over
    animals and I really hate it on a motorcycle but a squirrel should pose
    no danger. I barely had time to brace for the impact. Animal lovers,
    never fear. Squirrels, I discovered, can take care of themselves!

    Inches before impact, the squirrel flipped to his feet. He was standing
    on his hind legs and facing my oncoming Harley with steadfast resolve
    in his beady little eyes. His mouth opened and at the last possible
    second, he screamed and leapt! I am pretty sure the scream was squirrel
    for, "Banzai!" or maybe, "Die you heathen scum!"

    The leap was nothing short of spectacular! He shot straight up, flew
    Over the handlebars and impacted me squarely in the chest. Instantly, he
    set upon me. If I did not know better, I would have sworn he brought 20
    of his little buddies along for the attack. Snarling, hissing and
    tearing at my clothes, he was a frenzy of activity. As I was dressed
    only in a light T-shirt, summer riding gloves and jeans this was a bit
    of a cause for concern. This furry little tornado was doing some
    damage!

    Picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in
    jeans, a T-shirt, and leather gloves, puttering at maybe 25 mph down a
    quiet residential street and in the fight of his life with a squirrel.
    And losing...

    I grabbed for him with my left hand. After a few misses, I finally
    managed to snag his tail. With all my strength, I flung the evil rodent
    off to the left of the bike, almost running into the right curb as I
    recoiled from the throw. That should have done it. The matter should
    have ended right there. It really should have. The squirrel could have
    sailed into one of the pristinely kept yards and gone on about his
    business, and I could have headed home. No one would have been the
    wiser. But this was no ordinary squirrel. This was not even an ordinary
    angry squirrel. This was an EVIL MUTANT ATTACK SQUIRREL OF DEATH!

    Somehow he caught my gloved finger with one of his little hands and
    with the force of the throw, swung around and with a resounding thump
    and an amazing impact; he landed squarely on my BACK and resumed his
    rather antisocial and extremely distracting activities. He also managed
    to take my left glove with him!

    The situation was not improved. Not improved at all. His attacks were
    continuing, and now I could not reach him. I was startled, to say the
    least. The combination of the force of the throw, only having one hand
    (the throttle hand) on the handlebars and my jerking back unfortunately
    put a healthy twist through my right hand and into the throttle. A
    healthy twist on the throttle of a Harley can only have one result:
    TORQUE!

    This is what the Harley is made for and she is very, very good at it.
    The engine roared and the front wheel left the pavement. The squirrel
    screamed in anger. The Harley screamed in ecstasy. I screamed in...
    well, I just plain screamed. Now picture a large man on a huge black
    and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a slightly squirrel-torn t-shirt,
    wearing only one leather glove and roaring at maybe 50 mph and rapidly
    accelerating down a quiet residential street on one wheel, with a
    demonic squirrel of death on his back. The man and the squirrel are
    both screaming bloody murder.

    With the sudden acceleration I was forced to put my other hand back on
    the handlebars and try to get control of the bike. This was leaving the
    mutant squirrel to his own devices but I really did not want to crash
    into somebody's tree, house or parked car. Also, I had not yet figured
    out how to release the throttle... my brain was just simply overloaded.
    I did manage to mash the back brake, but it had little effect against
    the massive power of the big cruiser.

    About this time the squirrel decided that I was not paying sufficient
    attention to this very serious battle (maybe he was an evil mutant NAZI
    attack squirrel of death), and he came around my neck and got INSIDE my
    full-face helmet with me. As the faceplate closed part way, he began
    hissing in my face. I am quite sure my screaming changed intensity. It
    had little effect on the squirrel, however. The RPM's on the Dragon
    maxed out (since I was not bothering with shifting at the moment), so
    her front end started to drop.

    Now picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in
    jeans, a very raggedly torn T-shirt, wearing only one leather glove,
    roaring at probably 80 mph, still on one wheel, with a large puffy
    squirrel's tail sticking out of the mostly closed full-face helmet. By
    now, the screams are probably getting a little hoarse.

    Finally I got the upper hand.... I managed to grab his tail again,
    pulled him out of my helmet, and slung him to the left as hard as I
    could. This time it worked ... sort-of. Spectacularly sort-of...so to
    speak.

    Picture a new scene. You are a cop. You and your partner have pulled
    off on a quiet residential street and parked with your windows down to
    do some paperwork. Suddenly a large man on a huge black and chrome
    cruiser, dressed in jeans, a torn T-shirt flapping in the breeze and
    wearing only one leather glove, moving at probably 80 mph on one wheel,
    and screaming bloody murder roars by and with all his strength throws a
    live squirrel grenade directly into your police car.

    I heard screams. They weren't mine... I managed to get the big
    motorcycle under control and dropped the front wheel to the ground. I
    then used maximum braking and skidded to a stop in a cloud of tire
    smoke at the stop sign of a busy cross street. I would have returned to
    'fess up (and to get my glove back). I really would have.
    Really...Except for two things.

    First, the cops did not seem interested or the slightest bit concerned
    about me at the moment. When I looked back, the doors on both sides of
    the patrol car were flung wide open. The cop from the passenger side
    was on his back, doing a crab walk into somebody's front yard, quickly
    moving away from the car. The cop who had been in the driver's seat was
    standing in the street, aiming a riot shotgun at his own police car.
    So, the cops were not interested in me. They often insist to "let the
    professionals handle it" anyway. That was one thing. The other?

    Well, I could clearly see shredded and flying pieces of foam and
    upholstery from the back seat. But I could also swear I saw the
    squirrel in the back window, shaking his little fist at me. That is one
    dangerous squirrel.

    And now he has a patrol car. A somewhat shredded patrol car... but it
    was all his.

    I took a deep breath, turned on my turn-signal, made a gentle right
    turn off of Brice Street, and sedately left the neighborhood. I decided
    it was best to just buy myself a new pair of gloves. And a whole lot of
    Band-Aids.


    :jester:
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,185 Senior Member
    We mostly have Fox Squirrels here...big healthy critters about the size of a house cat. They live in our creek bottom out back of the house and get fat on the walnuts growing back there...damn fine eating. Most commonly hunt them with.22s..

    We also have some Gray Squirrels in certain areas and of course those little red squirrels that no one pays much attention to...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,185 Senior Member
    Red squirrels....Pine Squirrels....Sameo-Sameo...Wicked fast and acrobatic as hell...Little guys that hang around the campgrounds and entertain folks...

    Fox Squirrels....Left-Overs from the Ice Age...only a couple of generations away from having saber-teeth....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • KSU FirefighterKSU Firefighter Senior Member Posts: 3,246 Senior Member
    The first time I took my lab/shepherd to Kansas from Tennessee she freaked out when she saw how big the squirrels were. She spent the week we were there chasing them in the field behind Mom's house.
    The fire service needs a "culture of extinguishment not safety" Ray McCormack FDNY
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,509 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    Not sure if red squirrels and fox squirrels are different elsewhere, but here the name is interchangeable. Most often referred to as red squirrels though. The big ones get HUGE, and are toughern' boot leather. You could make a bowling bag out of their sacks.

    We talked about this! Red squirrels are fast, ornery, territorial little critters, a bit bigger than a chipmunk. Fox squirrels are big, pretty, and fairly laid back. I have both here, the reds are always chasing the fox away from the walnut trees, the fox live in the oaks. The reds are 1/3 the size of the fox.


    I'm with Woodsrunner on barking. I accidentally did it once. It fell probably 50 feet, I thought it dead as a doornail. After I picked it up, I suddenly had a tribe of very angry mini ninjas with samurai swords in my hand. It bit and clawed my hand and arm to ribbons before I could throw it on the ground and stomp it. Autopsy revealed no penetrating wounds, just blunt force trauma to the head.

    And yes, Buffco, I fried it. With Cajun spice in the flour.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 7,078 Senior Member
    I've seen so many rounds from so many different types of weapons yanked low due to anticipation of recoil that I tend to think a lot of barked squirrels were missed head shots, followed immediately with the remark of "Oh yeah. . .I meant to do that"
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,311 Senior Member
    I've got a yard full of grey squirrels. Can't go outside without seeing seven or eight of them. I need to thin the herd down, but will wait until cold weather to do that. They're fearless, can get ten feet away before they run up a tree.

    I like to eat them.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,550 Senior Member
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 11,008 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    I'm clear now. We don't have red squirrels by true defintion.


    Red squirrel
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_red_squirrel

    Fox Squirrel.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_squirrel

    We have fox squirrels, but we still call them red. Cause we have two types, not three, we can get away with it. Thpppptttttttt


    And you STILL have not used the .44 Moisin-Nagant with some birdshot on them yet.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • HAWKENHAWKEN Senior Member Posts: 1,688 Senior Member
    My oldest son routinely kills squirrels with his compound bow and blunt tipped arrows. He once stuck one about 30' up a white oak tree, with a broadhead. He said that two years later the arrow and skeleton are still up in the tree.

    I've never "barked" a squirrel but I've came close. I was sitting in a tree stand when a big fox squirrel found me. It wouldn't leave me alone and continued telling everyone within hearing about my family heritage, my social status, and my suitability of being a parent, I had had enough. It had managed to get into the same tree I was sitting in, and perched on a limb about 10' away, calling me everything but a white man. I sent a .50 caliber patched round ball, over 70 grains of 3Fg black powder, through its mouth and out its butt hole. There wasn't enough left to pick up...........Robin
    I don't often talk to people that voted for Obama, but when I do I order large fries!
    Life member of the American Legion, the VFW, the NRA and the Masonic Lodge, retired LEO
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,699 Senior Member
    In my locale, the big red (tough) ones are fox squirrels. The little gray ones that move like ghosts are cat squirrels. Lately, I've seen a lot of gray pine squirrels - the ones with pointy ears. The big red ones are tough, and have to be par-boiled before frying, or used in dumplings. The little gray ones are tender, but are ten times harder to bag than the red ones, and don't have a lot of meat. Hunting them with a .22 requires extreme patience, as they are very careful, and very fast. The reds are easy, by comparison.

    I've never shot a 'pine' squirrel. I assume they would taste like PineSol.

    As for barking a squirrel, I've known some good squirrel hunters, and I think that nobody does this on purpose, unless they are just playing around with a high-powered rifle.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,919 Senior Member
    I too think this is largely a fictitious method of taking squirrels. I think it has happened but was accidental and the guy tried to say he did it on purpose giving the reasons listed here as proof he meant to do it. But on the other hand, my ex or now deceased father in law used to bet his poker buddies that he could hit a penny in the air with a 22. And he could do this up until he was about 60 and started losing his sharp vision. Not saying it's impossible but just improbable in truth.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 8,728 Senior Member
    HAWKEN wrote: »
    My oldest son routinely kills squirrels with his compound bow and blunt tipped arrows. He once stuck one about 30' up a white oak tree, with a broadhead. He said that two years later the arrow and skeleton are still up in the tree.

    I've never "barked" a squirrel but I've came close. I was sitting in a tree stand when a big fox squirrel found me. It wouldn't leave me alone and continued telling everyone within hearing about my family heritage, my social status, and my suitability of being a parent, I had had enough. It had managed to get into the same tree I was sitting in, and perched on a limb about 10' away, calling me everything but a white man. I sent a .50 caliber patched round ball, over 70 grains of 3Fg black powder, through its mouth and out its butt hole. There wasn't enough left to pick up...........Robin

    Robin please remind me to not raise my voice or say anything negative about you or family when we talk.

    .50 Cal through a squirrel = VAPORIZED
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
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