View Full Version : Squirrels...Hunting...Varmint pest or Game Animal?

February 16, 2009, 11:33 AM
The question is stated above...

The reason I am asking is simple. I LOVE to squirrel hunt but in Texas in the Pineywoods Squirrel tastes like Turpinetine. YUK. I have never been able to prepare it so that it tastes like anything but turpinetine.

So for years I did not hunt them but I really miss hunting them and would like to do so again...so I want a little feedback from you all as to whether you consider them game animals and therefore if you shoot them you eat them or if you think you are doing the world a favor by removing them and therefore saving the world...

February 16, 2009, 12:07 PM
it may not matter what our opinion is, if you live in one of these counties...


personally, any animal that is depredating, is fair game to shoot and leave... although I'm not sure how a squirrel gets to taste like turpentine...

February 16, 2009, 12:35 PM
squirrel, opossums, coons, rabbits are all fair game IMO with rabbit being the exception of killing and not eating.
I like squirrel and coon and will clean and eat these little varmints.
East Texas squirrel are very nasty tasting. They taste like turpentine smells IMO from all the pine cones they eat.
Still a lot of fun the hunt.
I have a relative out that way and he feeds the meat after it is boiled to his dogs, they seem to love it.

February 16, 2009, 01:04 PM
therefore if you shoot them you eat them or if you think you are doing the world a favor by removing them and therefore saving the world...

Yankee input here! I do consider them as game animal and Greys are delicious and would not appreciate the turpentine marinade. Generally I do not hunt anything I won't eat but that's my ethics or hang up, depending on one's measure. There are hunts and then there are conservation efforts to reduce game numbers and seldom confuse the two. Basically I need some justification to shoot any animal. Granted, I don't need much but anything short of that is killing for the fun of it. You make the measure. ..... :rolleyes:

world a favor by removing them and therefore saving the world

Hardly, or at least not in my woods !! .... :barf:

Be Safe !!!!!

February 16, 2009, 01:05 PM
Out here we hunt Columbia Black Tail Ground Squirrels. I've heard some eat them but the smell puts me off. I hunt them because the land owners invite me to do so... they make a lot of holes in the ground and can be right skitterish about 2 legged critters staring at them.

I hunt them with a .32 caliber Tennessee Poor Boy percussion rifle. This makes it very interesting and is helpful in big game hunting. You pretty much have to stalk them instead of sitting out there at 100 yards or better with them not even knowing you are in the vicinity and paying nigh on 75 cents a shot to vaporize them. (Not hunting in my book.)

February 16, 2009, 01:06 PM
Gray squirrels are very tasty. . Fox squirrels taste fine but tend to be tough in my opinion. Never ate pine squirrel but have been told they're basically indedible - supposed to have the 'piney' turpentine taste mentioned.

Brian Pfleuger
February 16, 2009, 01:10 PM

Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out.

February 16, 2009, 01:14 PM
didn't think about the pitch in the pine... that would do it.

learn something new everyday:D

February 16, 2009, 01:16 PM
The ones I have (greys) in my yard feed primarily on pine seeds so they get shot at a rate of no more than 2 per week for the snake to eat.

February 16, 2009, 04:54 PM
they grays in new york i eat. Like another said i only shoot what i'll eat. of course there are exceptions, but so far thats how it is for me. so i go hunting them pretty often and always eat them. Slow cooked for an hour and 1/2 or so and you are good to go. otherwise its like chewing on a car tire.

February 16, 2009, 05:19 PM
Here in Eastrn MA we have plenty of black squirrels...apparently they're the result of gray squirrel over population and the ones that would typically die off during harsh winters are surviving due to birdfeeders, eating trash, etc. Plus there's no predators around to eat them. So basically, not just the strong are surviving. I make it a point to eliminate them. I live in the suburbs, so I use a Benjamin 392. Head shots at 25 yards with open sights aren't a problem.
To answer the question...I think they're varmint and game. I wouldn't eat a city squirrel, but the woodland ones are tasty.

February 16, 2009, 06:48 PM
I wish you guys were making it easier for me...but unfortunately I can not seem to get over the killing for the sake of killing. I absolutely love to hunt them in the pineywoods. It is a blast but because they feed on the fruit of pine trees they taste like turpentine and that makes them inedible. I can not justify shooting them as a pest really because I am talking about going to the Davy Crockett Nat'l forest to hunt them and they just can not be considered a pest there.

I would love to hunt the ones that primarliy eat nuts and such. I would think they would be tasty but I do not live anywhere where that is the case.

Thanks for all your responses!

February 16, 2009, 08:49 PM
Around here, most species of tree squirrel are protected.

Ground squirrels are all that we can safely shoot. (Some of the unprotected tree squirrels are visually similar to protected species.)

They are vermin. Ground squirrels are left where they die, or gathered up as bait. .... for more squirrels. That's right. They're scavenging cannibals. We use their dead brothers as bait for more squirrel popping goodness.

February 16, 2009, 08:52 PM
ive hunted them since i was young for meat.. still eat em these days.. never had one that didnt taste good tho... squirrel and rabbit taste alike to me

February 16, 2009, 10:16 PM
ive hunted them since i was a kid. tasty!
but i also varmint hunted them in strip mines were they tasted like clay. they were gnawing up the the new planted trees.

February 17, 2009, 10:18 AM
I absolutly hate squirrels. They are a fun watch while sitting in a deer stand, but other than that, I can't stand them. Don't really know where this loathing of such a small creature comes from. I used to eat them, still do sometimes. I find folks that do and drop off all that I kill.

I don't really go squirrel hunting, I go on squirrel killings. It's fun sometines to take out the .22 shorts for the challenge, but the loathing takes over and I carry the 12 gauge with #4-6 high brass with a Turkey choke.

wish you guys were making it easier for me...but unfortunately I can not seem to get over the killing for the sake of killing.

Yes, they are dead, and you killed them just to kill them. But in looking at the nature of things, they won't be wasted. They will end up in the chains of the ecosystem somewhere. Coyotes, fox, crows, dirt/plants, something will benifit from them.

February 17, 2009, 10:32 AM
I would feed them to my dogs if they needed thinning out.

srt 10 jimbo
February 18, 2009, 11:28 PM
Sorry , I have a pet Squirral(Hammy) that I raised since a baby. She's almost 2 now. cant shoot one.:(

February 18, 2009, 11:33 PM
I have raised 2... I also would hold the dead one by the tail in the carport and let "baby" or "squeaky" watch what happens to bad busy tail rats as I feed it to a bulldog...:D

February 19, 2009, 05:02 AM
so they get shot at a rate of no more than 2 per week for the snake to eat.


When i was in college it was tough to scrounge together enough cash to feed my boa. Eventually I got head shots almost every time with the trusty sheridan air rifle. The snake LOVED the fresh killed prey. Much better than thawed rats that cost me around 4 bucks.

What kind of snake were you feeding hogdogs?

February 19, 2009, 08:11 AM
Junior had several snakes in Daytona with several over 8 feet... thought since his free feed connection (helped the herp shop owner for snakes and feed) they would starve. He sold all but the first snake. A red tail boa raised from 12 inches long and is now 5+ feet. Once moved he was mad as we have much more wildlife including rabbits for the big snakes all over up here.
He always had live eater snakes but she will have to settle for fresh killed.
The The one pet store here sells feed rats for 10 bucks each...:eek:

February 19, 2009, 09:15 AM
If I hunt squirrel, I plan on eating them. I'm not a big fan of the whole killing things just because I don't like them thought process. Around here at least, I don't see any significant problems being created by squirrels......other than eating our pecans....and I eat those ones. :D

February 19, 2009, 06:56 PM
Around here, red squirrels aren't much good to eat but they can be destructive if they decide to move into a building. We routinely shoot them around the hunting camp because of the damage they do to the buildings and the mess they make once they're in there. We have a few grays from time to time but I've never eaten one. Only ever shot a couple and gave them away to people who really wanted them.

February 19, 2009, 09:35 PM
If you don't think you might create an endangered species then go shoot some squirrels. Best to eat what you kill, but if they taste funny, nothing wrong with shooting a few for practice. They make good fertilizer... You could donate them to a pet shop for the snakes.

February 19, 2009, 10:51 PM
Years ago when I hunted them we ate them. Mother fixed dumplings, fried them and even made gravy. Alot of times thats all we had to eat...:eek:...no just kidding guys. Even though they can be a pest I consider them a game animal and I don't shoot them unless I plan on eating them.

February 27, 2009, 07:13 PM
I absolutely love squirrel (Aberts)hunting. This year I took over 100 of the tassel eared critters. My hunting buddies and I got together and made squirrel tamales. This was probably the best way to fix them I have ever had.

March 1, 2009, 12:35 PM
In rural areas, squirrels can do severe damage. In fruit orchards squirrels can chew holes into the bark of various types of fruit trees to sample the sweet sap that starts to flow in spring, eat flower buds that normally would make fruit, destroy fruit before and after it ripens, and gird branches killing them off. This doesn’t count the small branches they chew cleaning their teeth. Squirrels eating fruit wouldn’t aggravate the owners so much if they really ate it all but they waste ten to fifteen times as much as they eat. In a hard wood forest, particularly New England, squirrels have been known to chew through pipes and container of Maple syrup especially plastic ones. In nut orchards, nut production is severely decreased because the squirrels harvest the large numbers of nuts before they’re ripe and carrying off a large portion of the remaining ripe nuts before the humans can start their harvesting. In the country at least you can shot and thin the ranks of the marauders and vent some frustration.

In the city, squirrels damage lawns by digging to bury or retrieving acorns, nuts, seeds and also in flower beds finding and eating roots and bulbs (Tulips, crocus, etc). They chew on ornamental shrubs or trees giving them a lop-sided appearance or sometimes killing the plant. They also eat flower buds before they open into blossoms. They take food intended for birds and will sometimes enlarge holes in birdhouse to enter and eat nestling songbirds. They travel on the power lines and short out transformers interrupting electrical power to large sections of the community.

Squirrels have been known to make nests in attics, garages, chimneys, barbecue pits, crawl spaces and other unusual places, even in cars. Any place that is dry, safe, and protected that they can squeeze their head through a squirrel can get into and make a nest. This is bad for several reasons; they mess up the insulation in the walls and ceiling, gnawing on electrical wiring can cause fires, they gnaw holes in the walls and allow precipitation to enter the house, etc… I have heard that you can buy a rubber snake and scare squirrels away or spray a pepper or a predator (raccoon) urine solution around your house to cause them to leave your plants and house alone or you can spend lots of money buying ultrasonic noise-makers to ward squirrels away. Of course this was said by the same people who recommend feeding garlic and yeast to your dog to repel fleas. Once the squirrel gets used to the sight, smell or sound they’re back again. LOL. The only practical way to remove squirrels is to check local ordinances and see if you are allowed to trap and relocate them at least five miles from your house. Plan ahead and determine the squirrel’s relocation prior to trapping it. I suggest someplace across a river and several roads. Even that may not stop its return, as gray squirrels are able to swim two miles in calm water. They swim using the dog paddle stroke with their heads and rumps, including the tail, held up out of the water. Myself, I think a skillet is the best and final answer for a troublesome squirrel. I would not recommend poisoning because in most places it is illegal, as there is no effective bait you use that wouldn’t be consumed by a pet or other animal. orchidhunter

James R. Burke
March 12, 2009, 07:24 PM
Were I live I consider the big grays a game animal to eat. I really dont like cleaning them so I leave them alone.

March 12, 2009, 07:41 PM
We have the Aberts tassel eared squirrel here. The hardest part about hunting them is the field dressing. I stumbled across this video and it has made field dressing much easier.
This was a good afternoon of squirrel hunting
took lots of cleaning:)

Fat White Boy
March 12, 2009, 11:01 PM
In California, they are a game animal, listed in the Fish and Game Regs as such. The good news is you can hunt them with .22 handguns...

T. O'Heir
March 13, 2009, 11:31 PM
"...how a squirrel gets to taste like turpentine..." Eating pine tree buds. Not pine cones. If you see a tree rat chewing on a pine cone, it's for the nut inside the cone.
Tree rats are a game animal up here too.
"...They make good fertilizer..." No, they don't. Bait for coyotes, if it's legal, though.

December 8, 2009, 07:00 AM
I am an avid squirrel enthusiast. I believe the Abert squirrel should be a protected species because of it's beauty. I hate you Arizona <people> that see them as something to kill in large numbers indiscriminately. I have visited the Rockies twice to try to find Abert squirrels for photographic opportunities, but I couldn't find them likely due to overhunting by you reckless inbred rednecks.

December 8, 2009, 08:50 AM
Wow treehugger, kinda harsh eh? If you really want to see some, maybe you should go out with 6X6pinz, he doesn't seem to have any trouble finding them... :D

December 8, 2009, 09:27 AM
If you'd quite hugging the trees and start looking for squirrels, you might see some... talk about inbred behavior :rolleyes:

December 8, 2009, 09:47 AM
Those tree rats around here are good for one thing - eating my solar pool tubing on the roof. And the crows appreciate a fine meal now and again

Art Eatman
December 8, 2009, 11:01 AM
How do you tell if a plastic is vegetable based? Easy: Mice, rats and squirrels consider such to be yummy-tasty. They won't eat petroleum-based plastic.

Seems to me that depending on location and circumstance, squirrels are "all of the above". Definitely game animals, but sometimes definitely pestiferous.

Hog Buster
December 8, 2009, 12:02 PM
Considered a game animal here they are also considered crop destroyers. With many Pecan trees around my place I also have many squirrels, mostly reds. I've killed hundreds over the years and all have gone in the pot. Fixed in a sauce piquant or gumbo they're pretty tasty, or as we say down here, "Talk about good!". All squirrels have a distinctive odor, but I would imagine that those dining exclusively on pine trees might be a bit rank for eating.
I don't hunt them much anymore, but have a 15 year old grandson who gives them hell. Squirrels are a great animal to hunt when learning. They're just quick and sneaky enough to be a challenge. Lots of things you learn while hunting squirrels you carry over into deer and other game hunting.
When populations get too high and become a threat to my Pecan crop I always have to bust a few. None go to waste, if not me, someone is always ready to cook a few.
While using a shotgun is OK, head shots with a .22 will make you a deadly accurate shooter.

December 8, 2009, 03:33 PM
I love putting squirrels in the red dot of my GSG, and it loves taking them out!

I dont like eating them though, just not my thing. I give em to a friend who enjoys grilling them.

December 8, 2009, 07:26 PM
Great Ceasar's Ghost, I did not realize Squirrels were more dangerous than Terrorists! My house is surrounded by them, must be the Bird Feeders and Ear Corn!

I will be getting out the FAL or the M1A out of the gunsafe and loading up some 20 round magazines with 180grain .308, stacking magazines and hand grenades and setting out trip flares and claymores! Will be out on Listening Post all night breaking squelch on the radio every hour on the hour, although I don't expect the Squirrels to attack until first light. If I survive,,, my next campaign will be against those pesky birds and deer!

Seriously I have no problem with anyone shooting Squirrels that are damaging crops or property. We have a season on them here in Iowa, and I love to hunt the big Red or Fox Squirrels and the little Gray Squirrels and love to eat them. I love all animals and love to hunt and fish and I eat everything I kill except Coyotes and if hungry enough (I went without food once for three days while not a long time got plenty hungry) I would happily give Coyote a try!

December 8, 2009, 08:17 PM
Please sign me up as a new passenger on the "reckless inbred redneck" train.

I got my first ones this season, and can't wait to get out again. Squirrel gravy and biscuits suits me (and my boy) just fine.

And us city folk can clean 'em indoors, without the whole neighborhood freaking out.


December 9, 2009, 12:29 PM
Gray squirrels are game here. They're very plentiful as long as I'm carrying a deer rifle. As soon as I pick up my rimfire, they become quite scarce.