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Old January 29, 2012, 01:37 PM   #10
playin' hookey
Join Date: August 20, 2011
Location: South Boston, VA
Posts: 48
I use a 12 ga shotgun. Meat damage is minimized by using relatively large shot (I prefer 5s) which minimizes the number of pellets hitting the squirrel, and not shooting them too close. Minimum distance depends on your gun's choke, and for me is about 20 yards with a modified choke and about 25-30 yards with full. I use a mod or even IC earlier in the season when leaves are on trees and shots are closer, and a full helps with the longer shots you may get later after the leaves drop. The downside of using a shotgun is that you have no control over where the pellets strike, so some of the time you will penetrate the guts. As long as you don't wait too long before cleaning them, this isn't a big problem. A 22 rifle is sporting and fun, and generally produces less meat damage, but most people will kill more squirrels with a shotgun. As for cleaning them, I do it at home where I can wash them promptly after cleaning. Skinning and gutting in the field would be ok if they are all shot in the head with a 22, but if the guts have been penetrated you are going to contaminate the meat and washing promptly is important if poo-poo is smeared around.
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