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Old January 22, 2000, 03:50 AM   #1
adad
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Join Date: December 8, 1999
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I'm thinking about getting into squirrel hunting. I think my boys would really enjoy it. I have a 20 ga. and I'm going to get them both a single-shot .22. Any pointers to get me started? What size shot would you recommend?

One question: What can I do with the little critters after I blast 'em? I hope I can at least tan their hides. Can you, um, well... eat 'em? We have a lot of oak trees around here so I would guess they'd be pretty plump. Got any good recipies?

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Old January 22, 2000, 09:23 AM   #2
muleshoe
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Mmmmmmm, Squirrel good, taste like chicken. Pick yourself up any wild game recipe book, and it's sure to have squirrel in it. Use that .410 your gonna get for your wife to practice with instead of a 20. Great idea starting kids out with a single shot, teaches them to make each and every shot count. But remember that a .22 will travel about 1 mile, so if your hunting in a semi-populated area those errant shots up into the sky will be ending up who knows where. Have them practice on paper first. Teach patience.

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Old January 22, 2000, 07:46 PM   #3
ol blue
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adad, Squirrel hunting is allot of fun, and with a .22 more of a challenge than you might expect. When I was a kid I too used a shotgun,(12 ga.), mostly because I wasn't good enough shot to hit em with a .22. My dad loaded the shells up with shot that was on the large size, not too many in a shell. The idea was that you just hit them with a few shot, that way you are not spittin out lots of little bbs the whole meal. I soon graduated from the shotgun, and used the .22 from then on out. You will get to be a good shot if you hunt squirrels enough. I at first had a scope, (it helped me hit them so far up there in those big trees), but after I got better I took it off because, I would spot the squirrel, but by the time I got the rifle up it would be hard to find him with all the foilage magnafied. With open sights, you are able to keep your eyes on him while you bring the rifle up. Pointers....go in where you know they are present and sit down, (preferably next to a tree or something you can use as a rest to shoot off of) Be quiet! and patient. If you can do these two things they will probably reveal themselves. (tough with kids) Listen for things dropping through the foilage, usually hulls from the nuts they are eating. Listen for their chatter. If you know there are several in one tree, and you shoot one don't run to get him right away, just stay still and quiet,the others will eventually come back out and you can get another one or two if you're lucky. Here is another tip my dad taught me,(35 yrs. ago). Squirrels are tricky, they will tend to move as you do and stay on the other side of the tree from you. If you are walking through with someone else, have them walk on the other side of the tree from you, one of you is more likely to get a shot this way. If you are by yourself, and you think this is happening, find yourself a rifle rest, be ready, then throw a stick or rock to the other side of the tree, the noise often will make them come around to your side, and you can get a shot. These are some of my best tips, of course there is alot more to know, just get out there and give it a try, you'll learn fast, and it's a good way to teach your kids to be conscientious hunters. I tell ya, to me it is some of the best hunting. Making a clean head shot kill way up in the top of a huge tree through branches and foilage, with open sights, what more could a hunter want? Oh yeah, they are very good eating, (contrary to popular belief). Roll the legs in flour and fry them up like chicken. Good hunting to ya...
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Old January 22, 2000, 09:42 PM   #4
adad
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Thanks a lot, guys! I can't wait to get started. Guess I gotta get that .410 now for sure!

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Old January 22, 2000, 10:49 PM   #5
dundee
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DON'T bother with a 410. The 20 gauge is better in all ways! I really like the post above about the fun of hunting squirrels with a partner. I agree the best way is with at 22 and learning to pick your shots. I have had some poor experences with regular 22's and now use stingers or the 'sgb'small game bullets for better clean kills.
This is the way to really learn how to hunt and enjoy being in the woods. DO IT.
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Old January 23, 2000, 04:36 AM   #6
Long Path
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Brunswick stew is one of my faves. My grandmother's squirrel stew was different: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>"Dress squirrel. Wash thoroughly. Cut in pieces for serving. Put in saucepan with .5 cup vinegar, 1 Tbspn mixed spices, 1 small diced onion, and a few celery leaves. Cover with water. Let stand 2-3 hours. Drain. Place in roaster. Brown in moderate oven (375 degrees f.). Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 diced onions, and 2 diced carrots. Cover with water. Cover and cook slowly until tender. Thicken broth until of consistency of thick cream. Serve with watercress or chickory salad. Fried hominy may be served with stewed squirrel."[/quote]

Traditional Brunswick stew is to simply dice up the meat of two thoroughly cleaned squirrels, lightly brown them in a skillet, and stew it in a crock-pot with potatoes, onions, 1-2 cans of stewed tomatoes, a clove of fresh garlic, 2 bay leaves, and salt and pepper. (okay, the crock pot is my technique. You can just do it on a stovetop in a pot. Cover with water, and stew down.)

Use a .22, but make ABSOLUTELY sure there's a tree branch or trunk acting as backstop; I had a great uncle killed by a falling bullet from a distant shot fired from a .22. (No lie!) We figure, based on the fact that the bullet had begun to tumble, that the shot was fired from an extreme distance at a high angle; probably somebody shooting at a squirrel, possum, or raccoon. Just damn bad luck.



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Old January 23, 2000, 04:37 PM   #7
DC
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Adad...

A great and fun project for the kids:
save the tails. Mepps Fishing Lure company buys them. http://www.mepps.com/recycle.asp

If you don't live in CA,ID,NJ,NC,OR or TX you can do it.

*****
Shoulda checked your profile... CA,same boat as me. So ya can't do the tail program. If you are after ground squirrels, DON'T eat them

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[This message has been edited by DC (edited January 23, 2000).]
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Old January 23, 2000, 05:22 PM   #8
muleshoe
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Can't you shoot squirrels in CA? Or just can't sell the tails? You got squirrel huggers as well as bunny and tree huggers in KA?

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Old January 23, 2000, 05:51 PM   #9
DC
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Mule..

I've been slaughtering squirrels for 27 yrs...almost everyday . I suspect, from a Hindu viewpoint, I've got a crushing karmic load.
C'est la guerre
The prohibits were on the Mepps site...they won't accept tails from those states...dunno why. I know why they won't take GS tails, the hair falls out and they are scruffy lil buggers.

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Old January 24, 2000, 01:12 AM   #10
Long Path
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In TX, it's illegal to sell any part of a wild animal not specifically designated a "Fur-Bearing Animal." One must also possess a Trapper's license to hunt these animals and trade in them, except for Bobcat, for which one may possess up to 2 w/out a trapper's license, if memory serves...

The whole concept, I suppose, is to keep people from making a major market out of game animals like deer, and setting it up such that it would be profitable to trade in their meat or hides, and thus profitable to poach 'em. At the gun shows, when you get samples of venison jerky from the jerky manufacturers, they can't sell you a pound of deer jerky, because they'd be breaking the law. Instead, they'll sell you a pound of beef jerky then, and give you a card to call them to process the meat after you kill out.

This seems to be a spill-over from the halting of market-hunting for water-fowl that went on back in the early part of this century past, which nearly rendered the extinction of some species of ducks and geese. Overreaction dies hard. (Those market hunters had few, if any, restrictions on the actual numbers of birds that they could take.)
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Old January 24, 2000, 10:27 PM   #11
Jonathan Chenault
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if you gonna use a shotgun, pick the shotsize you use carefully. you dont wanna use too small of pelletts o there will be no meat left in the thing it will all be shreded. if you use too big of a shot then there will be no squirrel period.
like the one man said up above. i wouldnt let the kids use a .22. even though it is a smaller bore than a 410 the bullet travels about a mile and a half actually. whereas a shotgun looses almost all of its power at about 150 yards.

happy huntings

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Old January 24, 2000, 11:10 PM   #12
adad
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So, what shot's the right size in a .410? Maybe #4 buck? I'll probably take my 20 ga., but its a bit much for the boys.

I just read about a new rifle from Taurus. Its a .22 but it comes with a .410 barrel that, suposedly, you can change in seconds. I don't remember if he said if it was a single-shot or not, but I assume so. Sounds like the best gun in the world for a kid (matter fact, sounds like a lot of fun for us kids-at-heart!).
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Old January 25, 2000, 11:16 PM   #13
Art Eatman
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Adad, #6 shot oughta work fine. If you get the .410, have a gunsmith open the choke to modified or improved cylinder. Because of the small shot charge, most .410s come in full choke, which shoots a bit tight on the pattern.

If you're hunting in large-tract areas, .22 flyers aren't that much of a problem because most of the misses hit wood. Again, ya gotta pick your shot, not just let fly at a squirrel sitting on top of a limb with no vegetation behind him.

The two-person deal is that one hunter walks ahead and the squirrel circles the tree and hides from him. The hunter some 20 or so yards to the rear gets the shot. The shotgun works best on those squirrels going from tree to tree in a hurry...

Have fun!

Art
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