A Perfect Day in The Squirrel Woods

With deer season in the rear view mirror, and turkey season ahead, some of our Mississippi friends and families take advantage of the extended small game seasons - especially squirrel hunting with dogs!
Squirrel hunting with dogs is a totally different hunt than a typical squirrel hunt. There's no need to wear full camouflage, no 5:00 a.m. wake-up call, and no emphasis on being quiet - thus, a perfect opportunity to get kids involved in hunting.
Sara Elizabeth Montgomery, Collier Hardy and Carlton Hardy riding to the squirrel woods - and yes, they are buckled in. Collier is the reigning expert, having bagged her first squirrel last year.
Here, Jeff and Garner Montgomery take a second for a picture before they hit the woods.
Garner Montgomery is no slouch, having bagged both his first squirrel and his first buck in 2010.
Jeff Montgomery is a "squirrel hunting with dogs" master - The "Mozart of Mountain Curs" -
which are the dogs Montgomery uses in his squirrel hunting expeditions.
Montgomery's Mountain Curs - Dixie and Big Boy - have their love - or hatred - of squirrels
bred into them, but Montgomery has to train his dogs to (1) follow commands like "in the hole," and (2) ignore deer and other possible distractions. But dogs WILL be dogs.
For these dogs to work, the squirrels need to be on the ground. The dogs smell the scent, and then follow the scent to the "hot tree."
These dogs run like heck through the woods, while the hunters move at a decidedly more
leisurely pace - until the dogs tree.
Mark and Charlotte Hardy get ready to turn the dogs loose. Mark and Charlotte Hardy
And the girls hunt just as hard as the boys! Marion Montgomery, Jeff's younger (and better looking) sister, is somewhat new to hunting, but ended up being the "high gun" of the day.
Here, Dixie has found a squirrel that deserves her attention.
Dixie hates squirrels.
After the dogs tree the squirrels, the hunters have a chance to move - briskly - to the tree to try to locate the squirrel. Mallory Amos is looking hard to score on her first squirrel.
Charlotte Hardy is backing Mallory up - just in case!
Sometimes it helps to change the angle.
No need to worry - Mallory proved to be a "dead-eye," and here you can tell how excited she is.
Mallory was ecstatic with her first squirrel.
Dixie was pretty excited about it too.
But Marc Amos - Mallory's dad - was probably the happiest of the trio.
The day was not yet done, as the dogs struck another hot scent. Garner tells his dad to hurry up and get walking.
Carlton Hardy was next up in the "first shot" lottery draw.
But the dogs got this one wrong - not a squirrel, but a 'possum!
Opossums are considered nuisance predators in Mississippi and are believed to have a negative impact on turkey and quail. So, given the opportunity, Carlton and Mark weren't about to turn this one loose.
A few moments later, Carlton's trophy hit the ground.
Mark Hardy was very proud of his little girl.
A great day for all of the kids, and proud papas as well!

It's impossible to beat the simple joy of a day spent squirrel hunting with kids and dogs.