I promised an update a while back (see “Ultimate Guide to Squirrel Hunting?” but like a lot of other things, a review was put on the back burner. Is The Ultimate Guide to Squirrel Hunting by Bob Gooch worth a purchase? I think so, but it is certainly not must read material.
The book is comprised of 14 Chapters, and includes a decent index:
- Chapter 1: Meet the Squirrels
- Chapter 2: The Squirrel’s World
- Chapter 3: Habitat
- Chapter 4: Methods of Hunting
- Chapter 5: Bushytails in Your Own Backyard
- Chapter 6: The Rifleman’s Small Game
- Chapter 7: Shotgunning for Squirrels
- Chapter 8: Bows and Black Powder
- Chapter 9: The Weather
- Chapter 10: Management Practices
- Chapter 11: Trappings
- Chapter 12: Clothing and Equipment
- Chapter 13: From the Woods to the Table
- Chapter 14: A Bushytail Hunt
I purchased the book from the point of view of an airgun hobbyist, and was interested in what the author had to say about squirrels. As you should gather from the title, the book is focused on squirrel hunting, primarily via a .22 caliber; shotgun hunting is secondary. While the author does cover hunting squirrels with bows, hunting dogs, and muzzle loaders, the emphasis is clearly on a decent rifle, which seems to be the author’s preferred way to hunt squirrels due to the challenge.
Bob Gooch’s writing style is very easy going, and offers a quick read. In fact, the last chapter was my favorite, and was pleasant enough (i.e. well written) that I may seek out another one of his books, even if hunting is not really my cup of tea.
The chapter on weather was very enjoyable and makes perfect sense. Gooch goes into detail on why a squirrel hunt is better in the wet, which also explains why I get decent varmint control opportunities on a dizzily day. I wish the chapter on cleaning and cooking (i.e. Chapter 13) was longer and offered more ideas (especially on cleaning). In this day and age of the internet, Chapter 5 was a complete waste of paper. It goes into detail on state by state hunting seasons, laws and regulations, and contact information. Of course this book was published in 2004, so it is no real fault of the author that this section is unnecessary in the eyes of this reviewer.
Bob Gooch clearly enjoys a good squirrel hunt, and this comes through in his writing style. After all, it has to be hard to come up with almost 200 pages of things to say about squirrels. While he is not a fan of trapping, he still offers his insight on the subject. Mr. Gooch clearly has something to say about all things squirrel related. Except for the topic of squirrels as varmints, which is not the topic of the book, but in my opinion would have been a welcome edition.
As I said in the opening, this book is worth a purchase, and while it includes no mention of airgun, it is a clean, solid, easy read. I have no regrets and will probably pull the book out from time to time just for grins and giggles. I would love to see a second edition with updates on management practices, an additional hunting story type chapter, the removal (or serious revision) of the laws and regulation section, and of course a chapter on squirrel pest control.