My guess would also be available food supply . All creatures of the woods follow this path . When the rabbits and ground squirrals get thin here we dont even bother running the coyote dogs as its just a waste of time .
Any given Sunday ............. david vs Goliath ........never give up hope........Wolverines !!
My wife sure doesn't think theres a shortage here. Squirrels keep eating all of our plums off the trees before we can get them. Especially the last 2 years. We live out in the boonies off the "Pig Trail".
Since our black walnut didn't produce as much, the squirrels are not in the "back yard" but love the 35 shag bark hickory nut trees on the rest of the property, which had a large production number. So squirrels we got. Darn flea infested tree rats.
I remember Mike West....... ArkansasHunter talk of the very little squirrels in his area
a few years back. As some said the food has to be there. All varieties of nuts acorns,berries and so forth. Those gone the little buggers find them elsewhere.....
The public hunting lands I go on have plenty of them. Its some hills and flat farmland in low altitude area. Also mast crops of acorns again this year. I usually walk back and have a nice seat at the base of a tree overlooking the river and enjoy the scenery. After about 1/2 hr. of quietness the bushytails come out three or four at a time. Its shotgun only hunting there so cant use the .22. If I travel to the mountains not far from me there are very few squirrels. Mostly no undergrowth and alot of mountain laurel growing.