Mulberries and summer shade attract squirrels and hunters; season runs June 1-Feb. 28

For outdoorsmen and women who don't fish or just want more varied outdoor experiences in the Sunflower State, Kansas offers exciting hunting opportunities throughout the summer. Squirrel season provides that opportunity. The season opened June 1 and runs through Feb. 28. The daily bag limit is five, and the possession limit is 20.

Fox squirrels can be found throughout Kansas wherever fruit- or nut-bearing trees grow. They are at home in windbreaks and wooded riparian corridors, as well as larger forested tracts. Numerous large, leafy nests in trees are a good indication that an area may harbor good numbers of fox squirrels. These agile rodents are active at midday and spend a good deal of time on the ground. Mature fox squirrels may weigh as much as 3 pounds.

Kansas hunters pursue two species of squirrels. Gray squirrels are limited to the forested regions of far eastern Kansas. They are smaller than fox squirrels, averaging a little more than one pound. They are also considered more difficult to hunt. Grays are most active around sunrise and sunset, usually spending midday hours resting.

Both squirrel species are usually hunted with small bore shotguns or .22 rifles. They are most active when the weather is calm and sunny, remaining in dens on windy days. Although hunting may be best in early fall, when squirrels are busy storing nuts, many hunters enjoy the summer hunt. Areas with plenty of mulberries trees attract squirrels in summer. Because squirrels have sharp senses that help them detect danger, many hunters hide in such feeding locations and sit quietly in wait for them.

Excellent squirrel hunting opportunities can be found on wooded public hunting areas, and there is typically little hunting pressure. Permission to hunt on private land may also be easy to obtain due to lack of competition from other hunters.

Whether your passion is hunting or you just want a little game to go with your angling table fare, squirrel hunting is a great way to get into the field before other hunting seasons open. It can also be a pleasant way to introduce a youngster to Kansas hunting. Healthy squirrel populations and liberal hunting seasons and bag limits make this hunt the perfect warm-up for both seasoned and novice hunters.