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"Barking" squirrels

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by NorthBorder, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. NorthBorder

    NorthBorder Member

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    Just from reading another thread on .22LR for hunting small game it got me thinking of a hunting method called "barking" squirrels. I don't think I have encountered this term
    in several decades. Don't even know if it is legit or just lore. By barking I mean shooting the tree at the squirrel's head, knocking the bark off which would knock the squirrel out of the tree. No meat damage.

    Or did I just dream this.
     
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  2. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Naw, I've heard, and read of it too.:)
    Edited to include - I've never done it. But then I've never hunted squirrels either.
     
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  3. drunkenpoacher

    drunkenpoacher Member

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    "Barking" is a way of taking squirrels when hunting big game with 30-30, 30-06 or whatever larger cartridge.
     
  4. easy

    easy Member

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    It is said that Daniel Boone 'barked' squirrels instead of using head shots because he said the cheek meat was the best part of a squirrel.
     
  5. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    The cheek meat is the best part of a lot of critters like gators, grouper, and trout for example. However, squirrel cheeks are pretty danged small. Some folks around here lung shoot them with a .22 because they say the heads are the best part. I've seen these guys eat the tongue, cheeks, and brains out of the squirrels' heads.
    Watching them cured me of ever wanting to eat one. :barf:
     
  6. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Never heard of it. Lots of barking spiders in my house though.
     
  7. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I've heard of it, heard tell of it being done, but I've also generally assumed it was a great excuse to cover absolute dumb luck when a miss converted into a cook pot.
     
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  8. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    It was a common art once upon a time, nowadays, people are less dedicated, thus less practiced, kinda like a lot of musicians;)
     
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  9. entropy

    entropy Member

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    You can't bark squirrels with a .22. Like Drunken poacher said, it has to be a round with enough oomph behind it so the bark chunks kill the squirrel. With a .22, you might stun them enough so you can head shoot 'em on the ground, but why not just do that in the first place? I've barked a few red squirrels accidentally with '06 and .30-30, trying to hit the head, to shut them up. (permanantly!)
    A cleaning rod section with a 5.56 blank kills them neatly at ten yards, and you already have the spit to roast them over your trioxane bars......:evil:
     
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  10. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Usually, if I'm going to kill a squirrel with a big game rifle, I'm agitated enough that I want to see it explode. :D
     
  11. lastofthebreed

    lastofthebreed Member

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    Lots of folks who enjoy hunting with black powder rifles practice "barking" squirrels. I've done it a time or two. It's fun.
     
  12. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    In my best hillbilly voice, reaching back to my childhood before I took speech lessons to rectify it....

    'Cuz if'n they hit the ground stunned, I can swing 'em by the tail and whack 'em against a tree instead of chootin' 'em at all...

    At least that's the method I worked out as a kid when I "barked" squirrels at my grandpa's advice. I had a squirrel wake up in the feed sack I used to carry them, so I quickly realized I needed a finishing blow. Once they're on the ground, a boot heel or a thump on a tree trunk will save meat damage.
     
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  13. entropy

    entropy Member

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    The time or two it tried it with a .22 they hit the ground runnin'.... :oops: I gave up after that. besides, head shots are good practice for deer hunting. If you can hit a squirrels head, a deer's aorta is not that much bigger.
     
  14. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Nope, it actually works. I have barked three squirrels in my career of squirrel hunting. The technique is you shoot at the branch beneath the squirrel's head or upper body, so that the bursting of the wood beneath the squirrel damages it, and it falls from the branch to the woods below. A tree trunk, not so much I'd say. I was using my .54 caliber flintlock. Needless to say that a head hit on a squirrel would do just as well, but if my aim was a bit off, and say I hit the critter in the shoulder... :confused:

    I tried it since I had read about it, and in two of the three cases, no external wounds on the critter, but both were dead, and I think that both died before hitting the ground, since one of them was shot from a branch a mere 3' from the ground so the fall would not have harmed it. Now the third moved as I fired so the round hit the branch beneath it's belly, with the wood splintering up and opening the squirrel up. Yet it was dead when I recovered it, and no "meat" harmed on it either.

    I stopped trying this as my hunting buddy who was with me at the time of the first three squirrels asked me, "Hey Dave, after you shoot that .530 round ball up into that tree branch, and it passes through, where does it go, or really, where does it land?" :oops: I felt pretty stupid.

    So that question ended my use of the technique. I knew it worked, and the risk of that ball at that angle flying out of the hunting area and into a suburban area nearby, for me was too much of a risk. Now the hunting areas where I hunt are pretty tight compared to surrounding habited areas, but might be different for others on the forum.

    LD
     
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  15. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    I once tried to "bark" a squirrel with a 44 Magnum, but the tree fell down. But seriously folks..........barking? really?
     
  16. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Many, many years ago between I unintentionally "barked" one I guess, with an 8mm Mauser my Grandmother kept in the kitchen closet. Hit a little low and he came out of the tree with both front feet on the same side.

    I think you would cause less meat damage if you just removed the head.

    When I read "barking" I first thought the question was going to be about one of the methods I use to call them in.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  17. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    I had one bark at me all morning one day deer hunting, never saw a deer and when I was ready to go to the house he was eating on a hedge apple a 100gr nosler from my 243 knocked him off his perch and left him sticky and very confused
     
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  18. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    It's from an era when one rifle was expected to do it all. .36, .40 and .45 caliber rifles were the most common, with .50 being popular but not nearly as many as the "smaller" calibers. Compare meat damage of any of those to a .22 rimfire. Hence, barking squirrels to eat.
     
  19. Bones741

    Bones741 Member

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    On our way to scout our hunting area saturday i told my brother about this topic. Never thought /heard of it before this thread. Should have seen his face light up and he said whataaat!?! You can do that?!?!" .now picture a 5'4" 145lb guy walking around with a 7.5" black hawk .44mag more intent on knocking a fat gray squirrel senseless with a bark blast than looking for deer sign . Kinda reminded me of Yosemite Sam
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  20. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Member

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    My grand dad used to do it with a muzzle loader before he got a .22 This was before my dad was born (1924).
     
  21. dh1633pm

    dh1633pm Member

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    My Gray squirrels are too valuable to shoot, just to eat them. Capture them in the city and move them in when necessary. They help propagate the forest and the forest pays big money these days. Red's are open season year round. Never barked them. Will have to give it a try.
     
  22. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    Dan'l used a .36 or .45 calibre ML. Not a 22. Anyway, the concussion of a big bullet hitting a tree under the tree rat's head will kill 'em.
    "....50 being popular..." Only after the expansion west started.
     
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  23. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Sunray is right. .50 only gained popularity as people began to move west. During the "Dan'l Boone" era, .45 was as large as you'd commonly find outside military arms.
     
  24. Clark

    Clark Member

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    I heard a squirrel barking this morning... and he is dead now.
     
  25. Shootrj2003

    Shootrj2003 Member

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    Personally I have heard of Dan's exploits,and,I am sure it works,it is a neat trick and a demonstration of ability when done consistently as proof,that said,it cannot save ammo,Dan and folks back then would try to do that.i have also heard the story of cutting a ball in half,not much sense thar'neethr!MAYBE,if your a squirrel head eater,but then a wack in the lung area don't waste much meat,ain't much to barbecue there.i personally avoid ( for eating) brains,lungs,stomachs,nerves,in some critters nasty protein based diseases exist there( CWD) I know not in squirrels but,if I don't eat any brains - I'm good! I hunt for meat to eat,muscles.So when Dan'l did it it was probably a stunt for greenhorns,you might as well whack him in the head-dead-or maybe you can grin him to death,you would save ammo that way! LOL
     

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