Sight is the sense hunters use most when squirrel hunting–watching for a twitching bushy tail, an odd hump in a branch, leaves shaking in a treetop. But sometimes the best way to find this quarry is by using your ears. You’ll get more shots if you listen for these five sounds on your next hunt:

  1. Vocalizations from catlike meowing to muffled barking to angry scolding when squirrels sense danger or an intruder.
  2. The sharp crunching sound of a squirrel’s teeth cutting through shells as it gnaws on nuts and other hard-mast crops.
  3. The patter of acorn, walnut, hickory, or pecan nutshell fragments falling to the forest floor.
  4. Shaking leaves and rattling branches high up in the trees caused by a squirrel that is jumping from one limb to another.
  5. The rustling of leaf litter as the squirrel scampers through the woods searching for food.

TIP: Draw out a hidden squirrel, or at least get it to move and betray its location, by tapping two hickory nuts or acorns together in your palm. This noise imitates the animal’s own chattering sound.