Squirrel Master Classic

Here in the United States, you might have missed the news for a major event due to the widespread Olympic TV coverage. It's the Squirrel Master Classic.

We've had Bassmaster Classics, the Professional Walleye Trail and even the Whitetail Challenge, but now it's time to toss some nuts into the mix and challenge hunters to a squirrel showdown. On February 19 and 20, Gamo Outdoor USA will be hosting the first-ever Squirrel Master Classic. Participants include popular TV hunting show hosts, hunting magazine editors, and Gamo executives and distributors. The high-intensity hunt will take place near Montgomery, Alabama, and Buckmasters TV will cover the event from head to tail, pun intended.

Small game seasons offer inexpensive, back-40 adventures that are perfect for beginner and seasoned hunters alike. It's a great way to beat cabin fever while acquiring a bit of hasenpfeffer for the frying pan. Here's another suggestion: Do some midwinter big game scouting while on the hunt.

Whether you live North or South, small game hunting includes tromping through the brush, sneaking along creeks and going into hollows you normally wouldn't visit on a deer hunt for fear of rousting bedded inhabitants. Any intrusion this time of year will be long forgotten by next hunting season, but even so it would be wise to avoid areas with large concentrations of yarded wildlife, especially if they're stressed by severe winter weather conditions.

Once you pick a location and pack the beagles (optional of course), put your focus on getting that young hunter in range of the intended target. Simultaneously, be on the lookout for last season's deer sign. Keep a watchful eye out for buck rubs and lines of travel, heavily used game trails, bedding areas and any scrapes that look as if they receive attention year after year. I carry a GPS whenever I'm out and about to mark waypoints on locations I believe would make great future big game traps.

So even if you can't attend the Squirrel Master Classic, make your own. And be on the lookout for that next great deer hunting location as you explore the woods for a wrascally rabbit.