Wood organizes squirrel group

JACKSON — Squirrel hunting isn’t just a passion for Jeffrey Wood, it’s pretty much a way of life, intertwined with his professional and personal paths.

There is no better advocate for small game hunting.

“Yeah, I love it,” said Wood, of Stringer, “and I want to do everything I can to get more people involved in it, especially children.”

When he isn’t hunting squirrel, which, for now, is a fall and winter thing, he is training dogs – between 30 and 50 a year – at his Etehoma Creek Kennels. He is also a sales rep for a company that makes dog training accessories.

When he can, he’ll also be pushing a new group that he has helped formed to organize the state’s small game hunters.

“We have formed the Magnolia State Squirrel and Coon Hunters Association,” Wood said. “Our No. 1 objective is to promote squirrel and small game hunting.

“No. 2, we will be holding some organized hunts, and No. 3, we want to help lobby to get the proposed May squirrel season passed by the legislature.”

Wood, who has trained champion dogs at all levels of competition, said he was disappointed when the legislation that would have created the new season got caught up in the politics of deer hunting and died during the 2010 legislative session.

“This would help us so much, not only in dog training by giving us more time in the woods with young pups, but also in getting more people, especially children involved in squirrel hunting.

“Squirrel hunting with dogs is a perfect sport for children. They don’t have to be so quiet. They can walk along and talk to their parents and friends … low pressure,” he said.

The Magnolia State Squirrel and Coon Hunters Association already has 40 members.

“We’ve only been going for a few months, and we’re hoping we can get some exposure and grow,” Wood said. “We’ve got hunts planned this fall and a state championship in the spring.”

Bobby Cleveland/The Clarion-Ledger