Sportsmans Corner > Hunting, Fishing and Trapping

Squirrel hunting

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Moe M.:
  Anyone here planning to hunt squirrels this fall,  Squirrel hunting season is just getting underway in my area (from the middle of Sept. to Jan. 2nd.) ?
  If so, what's your favorite rifle or shotgun,  and if you have any favorite squirrel recipes please post them,  early in the season when the leaves are still thick I use a 20ga. sxs shotgun or one on of my fowlers (also 20ga.),  later when the leaves have all fallen I use a .22RF rifle or a .50 cal. flintlock long rifle with light loads,  this season I'm planing at least one hunt using one of my .22 cal. break barrel air rifles to see how that goes. 
 Generally I like my squirrel pan fried chicken style or slow cooked in a squirrel stew,  for pan fried squirrel I first brine it in a salt brine over night,  then rinse it and partially cook it by braising it in water to tenderize it, then pat it dry,  roll it in egg wash and coat it well with a flour and cornmeal mixture that's been seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder, and a bit of paprika.
  Then I pan fry it in oil until it's golden brown and tender (I keep my oil between 330* and 350*F.), I cut up my squirrel into like sized pieces  so that they cook uniformly,  if in a stew I prefer a slow cooker crock pot,  I still brine the meat overnight,  then rinse it, pat it dry and put it in the crock pot layered between my veggies, season with salt, pepper, and a couple of Bay leaves, add some chicken stock and cook it on high for about three hours, then turn it down to low for another four hours or so until everything is cooked through and tender.
  PS, left over squirrel stew is great after a couple of days in the fridge,  I break up the veggies a little and thicken the stew with a cornstarch slurry or flour/butter roux and serve it on top of fresh baked buttered drop biscuits, it makes a great breakfast or supper meal.

wsdstan:
We don't have a lot of squirrels in this area right now.  One is around here once in awhile raiding the bird feeder but it is the only one we see.

I think the hawks and eagles got most of them the last few years.  We have had a pretty severe drought and that may have impacted them as well. 

If were to hunt them it would be with my flintlock. 

Moe M.:

--- Quote from: wsdstan on October 11, 2021, 08:05:00 PM ---We don't have a lot of squirrels in this area right now.  One is around here once in awhile raiding the bird feeder but it is the only one we see.

I think the hawks and eagles got most of them the last few years.  We have had a pretty severe drought and that may have impacted them as well. 

If were to hunt them it would be with my flintlock.

--- End quote ---

 There have been allot of changes in the distribution of game in my area as well over the years since I was a youngster,  and hunting pressure on game has changed considerably as well,  small game and upland bird hunting was a popular pastime in my area,  the woods and access to them was allot more open, and game allot more abundant, the woods around my home were mostly Oak and Maple,  squirrel nests were everywhere,  small farms growing corn and other vegetables pretty well dotted the area towns and cottontails flourished,  the Fish & Game  Dept. paid local people to raise Pheasants and the wardens would collect them just before hunting season and turn them loose in local fields and woods, Partridge and dove were also plentiful.
 Deer weren't as easily gotten as the small game but they were around and you could score if you were willing to work for it, the same for black bears, there were several large apple farms in the area that kept the bears interested,  once in my teen years I had a large Mountain Lion cross the road in front of my car,  I couldn't believe how big it was, I never saw another one like that again in my area.
 Today most public and private woods have been posted and accesses Bermed up or chained off,  the state only stocks
a few public areas where hunting is allowed, most of the farms have been turned into housing developments or condos,  and few people hunt anymore,  over the last 20 years or so we've had coyotes settle in the tri-state area and also Turkey Buzzards,  in a small city not far from me they have grown in population to the point that they are competing with pigeons for roosting space on the roofs of area tenement houses.
 I think that between the coyotes and the buzzards they've pretty well wiped out squirrel and rabbit populations,  Turkeys however are doing great, in some places they are actually becoming a nuisance, limited hunting seasons and times plus bag limits have given them allot of time and space to multiply.
 I often hear that hunting as a sport is on it's way out,  I believe it is, but I don't think it's from a lack of interest, I think it has more to do with government anti hunting restrictions and intervention and mismanagement of lands and game laws,  it used to be that the Wardens loved the outdoors and loved to fish and hunt,  today they are mostly liberal college educated environmentalist tree huggers who hate people treading onto THEIR turf.

Anyhow, there are a few squirrels left around my area and I'm going to harvest a few,  sorry for the rant, I even surprised myself.   :shrug:     

wsdstan:
I agree with what you say regarding hunting Moe.  For a city dweller these days unless they want to spend a lot of money getting access they are going to have to look to Game and Fish properties.  We have a lot of walk in areas but most of them don't have many hunters using them during the small game seasons.

boomer:
There are myriad reasons why fewer folks chase game of all types but there is no doubt fewer do and numbers continue to decline in most areas. The era of family farms is mostly long over and the attitude, skills and practices along with them. Habitat  loss is an accompanying problem and its exacerbated by climate issues.  While the hunting issues may be troubling to those who recall long ago times it is a pretty big stretch to blame the educated and or "liberal" people of today. In fact, the percentage of the population with BA degrees has remainrd pretty steady for a very long time. Like a hundred years long time.

Things change  We are, after all, using technology that didn't exist when most of us were kids and family farms were still around.

Maybe things were better a long time ago or maybe we just misremember it that way. It's doubtful there was ever really a time when people " knew their place" and magically abundant wild game of every type just jumped in the pot. But we live in the here and now.

In my area folks still hunt and game, especially big game, is plentiful for the most part. True it's managed by the state but that has a lot to do with game being plentiful. I fish for trout that's generally  hatchery raised because the wild species need to be left alone for a few generations at least.  Never cared much for squirrel but there are plenty of rabbits.  I dont know how it is in other areas  So it goes. These may be " The best of times and the worst of times" - just like always.

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