Author Topic: Squirrel hunting  (Read 3387 times)

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Offline Moe M.

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Squirrel hunting
« on: October 11, 2021, 07:33:13 AM »
  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.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Squirrel hunting
« Reply #1 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. 
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Squirrel hunting
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2021, 06:50:39 AM »
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.

 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:     
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Squirrel hunting
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2021, 08:22:34 AM »
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.
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Offline boomer

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Re: Squirrel hunting
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2021, 10:08:25 AM »
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.

Offline OutdoorEnvy

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Re: Squirrel hunting
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2021, 02:43:07 PM »
I use a H&R single shot .410 shotgun most of the time when shooting them from trees.  I use a 22LR sometimes but am always nervous about sending a miss into the sky.  So I usually bring both with one of the kids and use the 22 if they are on or near the ground.  Then the shotgun for upward shooting.

As for eating them I haven't got too creative.  Fire grilled one before and had I been lost and starving it probably would have been amazing.. but that was not the case so I was less then impressed.  Frying them in a cast iron is tolerable and that is all I have tried so far.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Squirrel hunting
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2021, 03:55:47 PM »
 :rofl: I recall the first squirrel I ever shot and TRIED to eat.  I fried it up and it LOOKED great....just like Mom's fried chicken, but it was like rubber and really too tough to chew.  That particular squirrel had nuts bigger than mine and frying didn't improve the texture! :doh:   I've become much more selective these days when hunting them.  I won't shoot those old 'bulls' anymore unless I need one to whip up a cauldron of Brunswick stew. :stir:   My recipe was given to me by an old friend that lived in Georgia as a youth and his recipe calls for two large squirrels or three young ones.  The 'fryers' or adolescents are best if you desire a mess of fried tree rats, but a little time in the pressure cooker is about the only way to go if you end up with a couple of the 'senior' members of the clan.  After they come out of the pressure cooker, the meat can easily be taken off the bones and used in the stew.  Brunswick stew is my favorite squirrel recipe, especially for the mature ones.  If I can find the recipe, I'll post it, but only Heather can decipher her recipe index....I certainly can't! :coffee:
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Offline Mannlicher

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Re: Squirrel hunting
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2022, 04:44:37 PM »
there were 7 in the back yard today.  Tomorrow, I will thin the herd.  They are quite tasty

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Squirrel hunting
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2022, 05:21:32 PM »
With what?  The new 20 or a rimfire?  Just curious.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Squirrel hunting
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2022, 02:41:25 PM »
:rofl: I recall the first squirrel I ever shot and TRIED to eat.  I fried it up and it LOOKED great....just like Mom's fried chicken, but it was like rubber and really too tough to chew.  That particular squirrel had nuts bigger than mine and frying didn't improve the texture! :doh:   I've become much more selective these days when hunting them.  I won't shoot those old 'bulls' anymore unless I need one to whip up a cauldron of Brunswick stew. :stir:   My recipe was given to me by an old friend that lived in Georgia as a youth and his recipe calls for two large squirrels or three young ones.  The 'fryers' or adolescents are best if you desire a mess of fried tree rats, but a little time in the pressure cooker is about the only way to go if you end up with a couple of the 'senior' members of the clan.  After they come out of the pressure cooker, the meat can easily be taken off the bones and used in the stew.  Brunswick stew is my favorite squirrel recipe, especially for the mature ones.  If I can find the recipe, I'll post it, but only Heather can decipher her recipe index....I certainly can't! :coffee:

 When I was a kid there was allot of woods around teaming with small game, when my dad gave me my first .22 RF and a box of .22 shorts he charged me with the job of hunting what ever small game that I could bring home, I was about eight or nine at the time, and I hunted almost every day as long as the weather was good, mostly I brought home squirrel and cotton tails, at the time we lived in a three family house, it was my grand parents house, we lived on the first floor, the grand parents lived on the second floor, and my aunt and uncle and cousin lived on the third floor
 My folks all worked in the textile mills, ww-2 had just ended a few years before, and the great depression only about fifteen years before that, to say that we weren't well off was an understatement, but the family shared what they had, they had a big victory garden and raised some chickens, so what ever I was able to contribute to the table was appreciated, and as long as I did my part the folks kept me in all the ammo I needed.
 My grandfather usually did the small game cleaning and prep and handed out everyone's share, some things I learned about squirrels was they needed to be cleaned and skinned as soon as possible, they were easy to skin while they were still warm but the longer they sat in the game bag the harder they were to skin.
 When they were cleaned and ready for the pot they were soaked for a day or so in cold water in the fridge which we were lucky enough to have my grand parents still kept their food in an ice box until I was ten years old (the ice man would stop in three times a week), depending on what they were making the squirrels were either cooked in a pressure cooker or they were slowly braised in a pot on the stove until tender, sometimes we had fried squirrel, it was fixed once braised by letting the pieces cool, then coating the pieces in flour, and egg wash, and another dip in seasoned flour, after drying for a short time they were fried, usually in a deep sided cast iron skillet.
 As long as they were brined and pre cooked they always came out tender, but the myth about cooking them over a campfire shortly after they are harvested is just that, like trying to eat an old hunting boot.
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Offline Mannlicher

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Re: Squirrel hunting
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2022, 06:46:55 AM »
A day or so past,  one of the local herd hopped up on my chair on the porch, and proceeded to devour a pine cone.  I can live with that.  For a post prandial prank though, the cheeky bastard took a dump on my chair.  That particular squirrel no longer resides in the 'hood.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: Squirrel hunting
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2022, 07:22:49 AM »
I often amazed at hearing a word that for some reason escaped my attention.  Prandial.  I can use it with my acquaintances now as none of them will know what it means either.  In looking at its origin it is from the Latin: Prandium.

Squirrels are not abundant in my area.  There are probably about ten on my farm but very few come near the house except when the bird feeders are full in the fall.  I usually see them when hunting from the tree stand during bow season.  Never ate one.  The last one I got had the mange and I felt sorry for it.  They are a source of amusement sometimes, like one who broke off a large piece of peanut butter suet and was running with it in it's mouth.  Could not see where he was going and ran into the gate post as he went out of the yard.  Broke the suet into pieces and was grief stricken over the loss of his treasure. 
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Squirrel hunting
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2022, 08:24:22 AM »
I often amazed at hearing a word that for some reason escaped my attention.  Prandial.  I can use it with my acquaintances now as none of them will know what it means either.  In looking at its origin it is from the Latin: Prandium.

Squirrels are not abundant in my area.  There are probably about ten on my farm but very few come near the house except when the bird feeders are full in the fall.  I usually see them when hunting from the tree stand during bow season.  Never ate one.  The last one I got had the mange and I felt sorry for it.  They are a source of amusement sometimes, like one who broke off a large piece of peanut butter suet and was running with it in it's mouth.  Could not see where he was going and ran into the gate post as he went out of the yard.  Broke the suet into pieces and was grief stricken over the loss of his treasure.

  :thumbsup: :cheers:
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Offline Mad-max

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Re: Squirrel hunting
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2022, 02:13:25 PM »
We have a damn herd that stampedes everytime Yellico goes out.  Then they get vocal.  That winds him up even more.
Kelly's almost ready to try squirrel stew.  Be a good time to get out the .22 airgun.
huh?