How to Hunt Squirrel With a Muzzleloader

Long Shot Less than 9 pounds, and 543⁄4 inches long, the .32-caliber Davide Pedersoli Frontier Percussion rifle (davide-pedersoli.com) is a squirrel hunter's dream. The buckhorn sights are perfect for darker timber, and the adjustable double-set triggers are match quality. Mine performs like a .22 rimfire but is much prettier.

Stuff Sack In a shoulder bag, I carry these essentials: a brass powder measure, a powder flask filled with FFg Triple Seven, 24 round balls in two .50-­caliber speed loaders, 50 lubed cotton patches in a No. 11 cap tin, a straight-line capper with RWS caps, a bullet puller, a patch worm, extra caps, a spare nipple, a combo nipple wrench-pick, and a jar of Thompson/Center T-17 cleaning patches.

Food Clues The challenge is getting close while going unseen. Sit quietly, observe, and listen. Watch for leaves shaking unnaturally, and listen for the rain-patter sound of nut hulls falling or the raspy gnawing of teeth against a hard walnut shell.

Waiting Game Once you spot a squirrel, close the distance to 100 feet. A bushytail that's busy cutting (removing the hulls to get to the meat inside) hickories or acorns often won't notice you. Choose your steps wisely; quiet rustling is one thing, breaking sticks is another. Use shooting sticks as a rest or position yourself to take advantage of a slim yet sturdy tree nearby. When the squirrel eventually stops to remove a nut's hull, there's your chance.