View Full Version : Squirrel Hunting

August 8, 2006, 05:58 PM
It looks like I am heading to an SWA an hour west of me for some solo squirrel hunting this Friday. Since the area is shotgun only I will be bringing a 20 gauge 870 with some #6's that I have lying around. Are there any tips you guys can give me, and if I bag some how do I clean them?

August 8, 2006, 07:35 PM
I pattern my gun at various distances with the load I'll use. I try to kill the squirrel with the edge of the pattern so to reduce the amount of pellet damage to the meat.

August 8, 2006, 08:29 PM
Squirrels are rodents - don't eat rodents.

Would you eat a ground squirrel????

Ackey poo.....:barf:


August 8, 2006, 08:56 PM
hehz0r - if your solo hunting, I recommend doing a lot of sitting still and watching rather than hiking through the woods hoping to spot some movement. Both ways work, but I've had the best luck sitting at the base of a tree trunk as still as possible. If that particular spot isn't productive after 5-15 minutes, I move on. Sometimes I stay longer, sometimes less.

If a squirrel is runs around to the other side of the tree there's no sense in chasing it; you'll be doing laps for a good while. Instead, while you're standing on the other side, grab a rock or branch with your trigger hand (this is the least cumbersome way for me). Shoulder your rifle, and then under-hand toss the object on the other side of the tree where the squirrel is hiding. This usually makes the squirrel run around to your side where you can get a decent shot.

If you wish to learn to clean a squirrel, click here (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=clean+squirrel&btnG=Search). That link leads to a a multitude of ways to clean squirrel.

One tip I'll give you is to keep the squirrel wet as possible while you skin it. This will help keep hair from getting onto the meat (which can be a pain to remove).

When I clean squirrel, I do so outside with my hose running. I constantly water the squirrel down through out the process. Before I make any cut at all, I drench the squirrel down while massaging it from head to toe in order to get it as wet as possible, and to wash away any loose hair or other debris.

Good luck, be safe, and have fun.

August 8, 2006, 09:03 PM
I've found that if they are on the ground whistle...
IME, whistling grabs their attention and they stand on their hind ends, thus providing a perfect shot.

+1 for patterning....make that a high priority before going hunting.

Depending on the time of the year, squirrels are good eating. They make great casserole.

Good Hunting.

August 8, 2006, 09:06 PM
I wanted to post this in my last post but couldn't find the link. After some more digging, I found it.

Here's a vid of a seemingly easy way to skin a squirrel (http://members.localnet.com/~nickdd/Mr.SQUACKS_0001.wmv). I tried it last year for the first time -- I was unsuccessful. I intend to perfect this approach during this upcoming season.

August 8, 2006, 09:10 PM
=1 on Trip20

This time of the year with leaves still on the trees, they are tough to spot. Stay put and wait them out.

Squirrels haven't started cutting on any nuts around my area yet. Gum trees are usually the 1st ones they cut on here. Too early for Gum.

Just stay still and don't move around much... hpg

August 8, 2006, 10:07 PM
Squirrels are more active, early and late. If you are sitting still you can locate squirrels with your ears. Calm days definitely help.
I haven't shot a squirrel with a shotgun in years. I hope you have a good dental plan. :D I like a .22 and try to take head shots. It's a shame you are going to a shotgun only area.
Try a recipe for chicken and dumplings with it. Yum. If you fry it you need to parboil it first or it will be tough.
Squirrels can have parasites this time of year. If it got red sores on its body, I wouldn't suggest eating it.
Squirrels will usually become active 15 to 30 minutes after you settle down. Don't sit in the same place all day if you are not seeing any.

Have Fun

August 8, 2006, 11:09 PM
What I do to make squrrels tender is soak them overnight in a 50-50 apple cider vinegar and water mix.I've also heard that lemon juice works but I have never tried it.


August 8, 2006, 11:35 PM
I have hit a few with my car recently leaving my driveway by accident. I was wondering are they good eating. I have some Rabbit and Squirrel shot for my 12 gauge. I have big cotton tail rabbits all over my property, my wife consider them pets and she won't let me shot them. I have eaten Rabbit before and it's good to eat.

It would be interesting to know if there good eating like rabbits? Someone told me they were high in Cholesterol. :D


August 8, 2006, 11:40 PM
Someone told me they were high in Cholesterol.:D

Snice when does that matter???:D

I think they are good eats.
After soaking them,bake them in that nice Kraft hot&spicy shake&bake stuff you can get a wal-mart SO GOOD!!!:)


August 9, 2006, 07:33 AM
Bushy tails are great table fare. Bone out the hind quarters and peel out the loin straps, the rest is not worth the effort. I wait til I have 10-12 in the freezer then make a stew, or pie out of them. They are very good fried, but can give off an odor that turns some people off, tho' it's not present in the meat.

I "still" hunt them early in the morning, facing the rising sun and try to catch movement.

Sounds like fun to me.

August 9, 2006, 08:24 AM
my squirrels seem to field dress themselves but then again i use a 22-250.:D
as far as eating them i hear there pretty good in the three rodent stew. squirrel, rat, and raccoon.

Wild Bill Bucks
August 9, 2006, 10:27 AM
They are very good eating, but a pain in the A__ to clean. I cut mine across the back with a knife and work my fingers under the skin and peel from the middle to both ends, pulling the skin down past the ankles and cutting off the feet and head. Put them in an oven after SHAKE AND BAKE (chicken flavored or pork if you prefer) for about 20 minutes, and they are pretty tender.

August 9, 2006, 11:27 AM
Would you eat a ground squirrel????

yes, ate it in survival school. Actually it wasn't bad.

August 9, 2006, 05:09 PM
Would you eat a ground squirrel????

yes, ate it in survival school. Actually it wasn't bad.

+1 Garryc...:)

I've eat rabbit, so i guess i ain't got much to talk about....:D


August 9, 2006, 07:41 PM
I like squirrel hunting and it's relatively 'safe' and 'easy hunting'. I prefer a .22 rifle but have used a shotgun and a Benjamin Air Rifle too!(the air rifle requires careful shot placement of course but clean one shot kills are the routine!) Squirrels are delicious and easy to clean/prepare(I'd rather clean a squirrel than a rabbit ie. I've encountered a few flea-infested rabbits...)
Supposedly the original meat-ingredient of authentic 'Brunswick Stew' is squirrel meat - not chicken. However, there seems to be a stigma in regard to squirrel ie. I know a person from Eastern Europe who was somewhat horrified by the idea of my actually ever eating a 'squirrel'(there they tended to be red haired friendly 'pets of the park') but this same person was quite fond of rabbit. It's weird when you think about it ie. bison/cattle/lamb is more 'intelligent and sensative than squirrels or rabbits and people will eat'em up without a 2nd thought...but when it comes to squirrels and rabbits
- these same lamb and cattle eaters will stop and say 'I could never eat such a cute little thing...' :rolleyes: Oh well, I suppose possum would be a sort of in-between compromise? :cool:

August 9, 2006, 10:39 PM
I haven't hunted squirrel for some time but I used to as a kid on G-pas farm with a .22. I would think a 20ga. would be a bit too much for a bushy tailed rat. If you want to give them a sporting chance or you just want to shoot at moving targets. See if one of your friends has a .410 you could bum for the day. It'd be a whole lot easier on the top of the shoulder not to mention lighter carry and quicker aim and follow.

August 9, 2006, 11:38 PM
bison/cattle/lamb is more 'intelligent and sensative than squirrels or rabbits and people will eat'em up without a 2nd thought...but when it comes to squirrels and rabbits
- these same lamb and cattle eaters will stop and say 'I could never eat such a cute little thing...' Oh well, I suppose possum would be a sort of in-between compromise?

I don't know about cows. I helped out on my campus farm in undergrad and they were pretty stupid. Add to that, the herd (at least 30) of cows that decided to sit and moo at me for about 45 minutes last year during deer season, and I don't think I'd call them intelligent in any comparison:p.

About possum; the two possums I've run into were mean little SOBs. I'd have no guilt eating them.

August 10, 2006, 12:32 AM
Here is a great forum for hunting/cleaning tips:


And the how-to with pics on Squirrel cleaning:


MMM... Tastey...

August 10, 2006, 07:32 AM
My favorite way to eat squirrel is to fry up the meat and then use the grease to make gravy and then serve the meat and gravy with biscuits. yummm - I have about a week and season opens here - I can't hardly wait. :)

arizona hunter
August 10, 2006, 12:17 PM
Clean it as soon as it's dead-much easier to skin that way. I always wear a medium back pack and bring water to drink and to wash the animal after skinning it.

Death from Afar
August 10, 2006, 03:51 PM
WHat does squirrel taste like ? ( Apart from chcken that is)

I once saw a video of some brits doing Squirrel fishing which involved a rod, a reel, and line baited with an acorn ( no hook though :confused: )

Ohio Annie
August 11, 2006, 09:33 AM
Don't believe that "squirrels are rodents and therefore don't taste good" malarkey. Squirrels mostly eat nuts, where I hunt they are mostly white oak and hickory nuts. Squirrel meat is delicious and very low in fat, tastes a lot like wild hassenpfeffer.

I sear the meat in some oil, deglaze the pan and then braise the quartered squirrel in stock (water with chicken bouillion works well). When the meat is tender, reduce the stock and serve on your favorite starch food. For the snootier set if you want to impress people, serve with sourdough bread and tangerine slices and a red wine.:)

August 11, 2006, 10:50 AM
Squirrels are rodents - don't eat rodents.

Really? How do you figure?

"Deer are ungulates - don't eat ungulates."
"Crow are birds - don't eat birds."

Makes about as much sense, IMO. :)

August 11, 2006, 02:49 PM
personally, I'd eat a squirrel before I ate a crow:p

August 11, 2006, 03:03 PM
Thanks for all of the advice, but I when I went out there it didn't see a single squirrel. The area looks to be mostly managed for birds and there just aren't enough trees that produce mast. I was able to see the hunters before me on the sign in sheet and they didn't do too well either (1-2 squirrels at most).

August 12, 2006, 01:29 AM
One trick I learned a long time ago was to call squirrels. Yes, start the laughing now...

Seriously, get a call (I have one that you held in one hand and hit the bellow of the call with the other). You have to learn how to do it just right so that it sounds like a squirrel is challenging the others to a fight. Squirrels are just like people and they will come to see a fight (or what they think is a fight). This will also attract the big squirrels who will want to kick invading squirrels tail... I also learned how to mimic the same sound by "clucking" with my mouth as well (learned it on some hunting show think buck mcneally)that way it sounds like 2 squirrels fighting each other. Russle the leaves a little to sound like commotion and the other squirrels come running. Also sit with your back against a tree and try not to move too much and have a lot of camo clothing and a face net/camo (just like turkey hunting).

This works great for me and when I do use a shot gun I go with a 20gauge or 410 with #7 or 8 shot. I would recommend a good 22LR or 22 Mag auto with iron sights or a large 40-50 mm red dot. My main squirrel gun growing up was a bolt action 22LR ; but I now have a ruger 10/22 with a 18"adams&bennet heavy barrel and a hogue stock with a 42mm BSA red dot. This setup is ultralight and the red dot allows for a huge sight picture.

For cleaning squirrels I prefer a smaller knife with a guthook on one end. I skin them and save the pelts and tails (you can sell these to Loomis and other flyfishing companies who use the hair to make flyfishing lures).

When cooking I through them in a slow cooker with potatoes, carrots, onions and a can of condensed mushroom soup. Salt and pepper to tatste and cook until the meat is tender. MMMmmm MMMMmmm good.!!:D

Happy hunting.

August 13, 2006, 05:14 PM
My main squirrel gun growing up was a bolt action 22LR ; but I now have a ruger 10/22 with a 18"adams&bennet heavy barrel and a hogue stock with a 42mm BSA red dot.

I have put together a few of the 10/22's with both the 20" and 16" fluted bull barrels but they are to barrel heavy are way to heavy of a squirrel rig for me.

I've heard a few people talk about having good luck calling squirrels in but out of 27 years of hunting them I have never tried it. I think I will give it a try this year as I have been thinking about this for a while. I usually just walk horse trails and look for them but it would be a nice change to call them to me. Season opens here this week so I am getting pretty anxious for next Saturday morning. I will search the net and see what I can find about squirrel calling. Anyone have any advice on a good "how-to" video and where a good place is to purchase a caller?

August 13, 2006, 10:40 PM
I picked up a call named the Squirrel Buster last time I went to the Bass Pro. It works fairly well. They come runnin' to my backyard when I get on it. Too bad I live in a subdivision... I have yet to try it in the field though. I paid like $15 for it and it does the bark, warning chatter, and distress scream. It also comes with an instructional CD.

August 14, 2006, 07:05 AM
Great with dumplings....!

August 14, 2006, 10:07 AM
I have put together a few of the 10/22's with both the 20" and 16" fluted bull barrels but they are to barrel heavy are way to heavy of a squirrel rig for me.

Try out the hougue stock and one of the carbon fiber barrels. I have one on another 10/22 and it is very light weight, but a little too lite for me. My "squirrel gun" 10/22 with the setup I described in the previous post was barrel heavy, but you can fill the buttstock with a counter balance and it evens out.

And fo those in a subdivision get a good pellet gun and take onlyh headshots. Your neighbors will never know where all the squirrels went to.:D

August 14, 2006, 02:39 PM
One of the local gunshops near me builds some 10-22 ultimates and sells them on their shelves. One day I was in there I held one with a laminate stock and a carbon barrel but it felt like a toy it was so light.
One day I plan to build a 10-22 with the sporter barrel that has a bull diameter at the very last 4-6 inches of the barrel. I can't remember what that barrel is called but it looks pretty neat and would probably balance real well. The 10-22's are a fun gun to shoot and tinker with.

August 14, 2006, 09:52 PM
I picked up a call named the Squirrel Buster last time I went to the Bass Pro. It works fairly well.

I hope you're right! I bought one because of you :)

I also bought it because it was only $15.55 delivered from Cabela's, and if it's a piece of junk I'm not out any real money.

August 14, 2006, 10:03 PM
You won't be disappointed with the call. One good way to use it is to use the alarm chatter. Squirrels in the vicinity will either move or answer you, or both. Another good thing to use is a Hawk scream, they also sell them at Bass Pro. Give a couple cries on that and squirrels will scatter. It's real good when you're not seeing any, a real good locater.

August 15, 2006, 11:13 AM
you know....i used to sit in my friends back yard with the bb gun for hours waiting for the squirrils....should of bought the call and had a way more productive day!

August 16, 2006, 10:36 AM
My squirrel call is on the truck for delivery! The brown box should be slumbering next to my front door when I arrive home after work!

I'll be in the woods scouting a potential deer hunting location. I'll bring it with me to see if I can stir up some critters. Season doesn't open 'til Sept 16th, but I've got plenty of time to practice.

August 30, 2006, 09:55 AM
After cleaning it, I cut the little squirrel into pieces - quarter it(you don't have to...But otherwise it'll look like a rat on the dinner plate:barf: )

Get a small plastic bag, lightly dip the meat in egg&flour, add some minced garlic, a little salt and pepper, maybe a Basil Leaf and onion - put it all in the plastic bag and fill the bag about half full with Blackberry Wine. Shake it up and put in the fridge and let it stay there about 2 to 3 days.

Dump it then in an iron skillet with a little butter or oil and some veggies- and cook it ! I do the same with quail and have even cooked'em both up together.

Wild Brown Rice and some yams on the side ! weee doggies :D

September 20, 2006, 10:08 PM
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the glands on these little critters. Most of the time they'll come off with the skin, but sometimes (especially on big old fox squirrels) you have to remove them manually. Otherwise you might get to experience that gamey taste that some people - usually those who have never tasted squirrel - complain of.

Anyway, for those that don't know, squirrel glands are found in two locations: behind each foreleg (looking like a dime-sized piece of grey tissue) and on the back side of the hind legs above the knee. This one looks like a grey piece of gristle about like a grain of rice, and will be embedded in the flesh. Lift it out on each side with the tip of a pocketknife. I also soak the meat in salted water (about 2 tbsp. salt to a half-gallon) for a few hours before cooking, changing the water every now and then.

As mentioned above, this is more important on larger squirrels. Young, tender grey squirrels may not need the extra attention. Your mileage may vary. As for how I hunt them, I use a 20-gauge with #6 shot when the leaves are on the trees and a scoped .22 later in the fall and winter. I like to fry up the young ones, make gravy out of the drippings, and serve them with buttermilk biscuits; I use the older ones in stew. Either white wine or beer makes a good braising liquid when used in equal parts with chicken stock, and a little garlic and rosemary is a good thing. I personally find squirrel to have much more flavor than the pale, corn-fed factory birds they try to pass off as chicken in the store these days, but I can understand the stigma that surrounds eating them. It just means more for me.

September 21, 2006, 08:37 AM
By the way, Bigfatts -- I'm good with the call in that I can reproduce exactly what was instructed on the CD.

However, I've yet to get a squirrel to bark back. This sucker is loud. When in the woods it doesn't sound natural at all to me - both because it's too loud, and because the sound doesn't seem accurate. I've heard similar noises in the woods maybe... but only slightly similar.

I'll be out after work this evening... hopefully I can post pictures of a few hamburger heads.

September 21, 2006, 07:48 PM
Squirrel is good eats. Young ones cut into 6 pieces, 4 legs, back and saddle, dip in a flour salt and pepper mixture and fry just like chicken. Older one make a wonderful gumbo! Or dumplings, or a tomato, potato, onion, over rice stew my dad has made for 75+ years.:D

September 26, 2009, 01:08 PM

I have put together a few of the 10/22's with both the 20" and 16" fluted bull barrels but they are to barrel heavy are way to heavy of a squirrel rig for me.

even tho this thread is over 1100 days old.........cord'n to the warn'n i got

this is what i use to get dem tree-rats


super light weight....
tac-sol .920 fluted aluminum, has ss insert..
hornet trigger group
and rugers early model skeleton stock.. inlet for the .920
and my other mods...
its a fine shooter with mini-mags:D

i like'um with gravey, biscuts and lotsa peppers

another way is crocked with fresh vegges, lil rice an cream a mushroom

soak'um fera couple days in wine...

dang.... wer's dat pot at???
got a few in tha freezer that needs ta be ate....

cus season doan open heah til oct-1

theres a lil secret to freezin dem lil rats...

jus like we do mullet!!!! in water....

dey lasa long time, and gooood, yeah!!!

September 26, 2009, 01:36 PM
It would be interesting to know if there good eating like rabbits?... i fix both the same way and other than a squirrel being smaller in size they taste exactly the same as rabbit to me. :cool:

September 26, 2009, 02:06 PM
An 'oldie but goodie'. Lotsa good recipe`s for squirrel here. One thing I`ve noticed is squirrels shot around pine tree`s don`t have a good taste. The big fox squirrels I shoot out of my garden that are stripping the ears of sweet corn taste the best to me;).

September 26, 2009, 02:32 PM
yep, gotta few pines here... but mostly oaks.
and you can taste the difference.
i do have corn feeders in my oak plantation:D

September 26, 2009, 05:38 PM
I'll second the "clean a squirrel as soon as it's dead" suggestion. It will be easier to skin when it's warm, the meat will cool quicker, and it will give you something to do while you wait for the woods to quiet back down.

I carry a sharp knife (a pocket knife will do), a bottle of water to wash the meat off, some "wet ones" to clean my hands with, and a couple of Wal-Mart bags. One bag for the meat and one for the skins, guts, etc. Most landowners don't appreciate it when the house dogs drag squirrel hides into the front yard. Toss the bag with the hides in the trash can when you come out of the woods. DON'T GET THE BAGS MIXED UP! :p

I prefer a 22 also, but have used a shotgun. Any shotgun will do, 12 to 410. I prefer a 20 myself with at least a modified choke. At least no 6 shot, and 5 is even better. Smaller and I've seen too many squirrels drag themselves into a hollow tree.

How to cook 'em? Well, as my wife says..."First you gotta make a roux." :D

September 26, 2009, 06:56 PM
Squirrel anyone?


Old Grump
September 26, 2009, 06:58 PM
Ditto on the sit and wait method, they are curious and will eventually come around the trunk of the tree or pop out of the hole to see what it was that bothered them. Sit still long enough they will come right down the tree to get a better look at you. Only suggestion from personal experience is go down to 7 1/2 shot they will penetrate the hide but not the meat and the shock will still kill. I got most of the #6 out, I thought, and in the middle of eating squirrel stew I nearly cracked my tooth and replaced my filling with shot. I prefer 22LR for that reason.

Besides stew I like to strip the carcass as mentioned above soak them over night in brine and then drop them in a bag of shake and bake, any kind will do. I do rabbit the same way, easy to do and always comes out good. I'm going to copy DobermansDoItGoofy little coating recipe too. Sounds good.

September 27, 2009, 02:02 PM

How to cook 'em? Well, as my wife says..."First you gotta make a roux."


10-fo on da roux man......:D

September 27, 2009, 11:20 PM
I am to assume those who said they use the .22 are only shooting those on the ground?
I have tried the waiting method and havent had much luck myself. I have a .22 but prefer to use my 12 gauge since I can actually get munitions for it.

September 28, 2009, 05:08 AM
some on the ground but most in trees.

only use cb longs and cycle them by hand in the 10/22 when tree hunt'n
around civilization.., only gud fer bout 30yrds

but most of the time i'm in my swamp... 3 miles from any houses
then i go long range with the mini-mags...
wif my shoot'n stix.. i can get'um out to 100yrds
jus gotta know your gun & glass......:D
head shots are not that common @ 100, at that range its mass!!!!
good glass cus my eyes are olt & tard:cool:

September 29, 2009, 02:40 PM
Ive hunted the delicious little rodents my whole life. I prefer a .410 with no4 shot. But thats what i started huntin em with. I do like 22lr alot and 17hmr is sweet. You will have to pattern and carefully place shots on any small animals with

Old Grump
September 29, 2009, 04:37 PM
Always in the trees, any I have seen on the ground were heading rapidly for the nearest tree if I was within shooting range with my pistol. Standard Velocity LR in pistol or shorts in single shot rifle, works for rabbit pigeon and squirrel. Have to admit rabbits have always been on the ground and I use regular Hi Vel bullets for them but 40 gr RN instead of HP's, doesn't tear up the meat so bad.

September 29, 2009, 05:07 PM
Prefer a .22 but only if can shoot down into a valley. That's why I like to be on a ridge.

As far as eating squirrel... it's great. Like anything else it's all about the cleaning.

And................. anyone that eats chicken or pork should never turn up their noses on any other kind of meat.

September 29, 2009, 05:41 PM
you saida mouth full there dragon...:D
they gud ain't they;)
oh-man jus 2 mo days, then its ON !!!!

i hada dream bout rat gravy an bisquits las night...mmmmmmmmm!!!!:D

October 3, 2009, 03:06 PM
oh-man yeah!!!!
got 9 dem rats today...
wish the ol'lady wasa heah wif the camera,
but shesa play'n shoppin mall today
o'well i'm gonna get my dream ta come true.
even if i gotsa fix'um myowndamself..........:D
goan get after'um tomorra too!!!:cool:

October 5, 2009, 06:36 AM
Took out my new Smith and Wesson MP15-22 this weekend, since it was opening squirrel season here.
I managed to limit on them even though it was a bit windy and still a little warm for them to be out and running about.
Here is a picture I took from my cell phone, not the best but it is better than nothing.

October 5, 2009, 06:58 AM
good shoot'n !!!!
thatsa fine TAW kinda thang ya got there...
i seen one of them,i think is was a high point
or somethin like that ..it wud'nut hit a 12" target a 50 yrds

but i bet that S&W is on tha mark... its gotta be to hit dem rats
fine machine !!!!:D