As my squirrel season approaches, I am getting more focused as the days pass. Squirrels are populating fast and many hunters usually pass on the chance of having one of the tastiest game animals around. We are constantly running over squirrels in the streets every year, and still we go to the grocery store and pay outrageous amounts for processed food. These “victims” under our tires, could save money on the grocery bill if we just set out to hunt them more.
Squirrels are small and many hunters do not bother with the cleaning process and skip the season. The one thing I find interesting is bag limits, if any, is substantially high and allow for plenty of meat to make a nice meal. The other comments I hear are there are not many ways to cook squirrel and it gets old. There are plenty of ways to prepare squirrel, and if you look at your actual meat consumption through the year, you usually have beef, chicken or pork that we repeat over and over too.
First we have the hunt. I sit just before sun rise much as I would for big game. By the time the sun peaks through, I have literally half a dozen squirrels walking over my legs. Squirrels usually do not run out of distance from the sound of gun fire and stay in range to pick off at will. I don’t walk the woods looking for squirrel; I simply wait for them to come to me. The times I have walked, I haven’t had any luck. Now that we have six to ten squirrels, we need to clean them.
I have heard many stories of people who claim to have a homemade device that they grab the tail and run the squirrel through to remove the skin. I have never seen this magic wonder and doubt the plausibility of it. First off, you would have to remove the feet first, which is a step always left out from miracle skinners’ stories. So to simplify, if you have not cleaned a squirrel before, lets walk through it. The most important thing is plenty of water. Keeping the squirrel wet, will allow you to not have a mess of hair on your meat. Clip the back feet off next. I have seen the feet removed at different times but just remove them after the water dunk. Next, cut the tail just through the hard cartilage, leaving the skin attached on one side. Insert your finger in the incision you just made and with the other hand, pull the tail away from the finger you have holding the inside of the skin. Rip the skin all the way to the head. Dunk in water as many times as you need to keep the hair wet during any process. Pull out the front feet. Cut the head off with the skin hanging over it and discard appropriately. You may still have some skin on the belly like in the video, but use pliers and remove that to the back legs and cut the legs off. You then want to remove the innards. This is easily done with a good pair of boning shears or all-purpose scissors. Cut from the skin starting at the anus around the penis if it is a male, and up through the ribcage. Spread the squirrel open and remove the organs and intestines. Soak the squirrel in fresh water in the refrigerator overnight or freeze for a later date. The video is graphic, and contains some profanity. That is the mountain in us.
Now you have clean squirrel meat with little effort, you can choose from many recipes and enjoy your food that God has given us from start to finish, without the help of the supermarket. Here is a list of 36 recipes out of many more you can find on the internet. Enjoy and happy and safe hunting to all of you.