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Old December 5, 2006, 04:42 PM   #1
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Squirrel Hunting

I need some advice from the bushy tail hunters out there. How do you carry them during the hunt? New York allows 6 per day so it could be a few hours between the first and the last so how do I lug them around? I've thought of a canvas bag but would'nt that get messy with blood or ticks/fleas? Another thought was a plastic bag but that would keep the heat in and that dosent sound good. Maybe a chain or rope with hooks similar to a fish carrier? So what do the pros out there do????? Thanks in advance,
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Old December 5, 2006, 05:22 PM   #2
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I use either an upland vest that has the game carrier in back or a waist belt game carrier. They are both blood proof. I wash them out with water and dish detergent. Someday, I am going to make a game bag that I can sling over my shoulder like a carrier bag.
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Old December 5, 2006, 06:32 PM   #3
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I also use a turkey/upland game vest with a game bag in the back to carry my bushytails. The game bag area is a nylon material that washes out quite easily. Good luck squirrel hunting from one New Yorker to another.
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Old December 5, 2006, 08:35 PM   #4
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a series of loops in a piece of parachute cord. I noose it around thier necks.

Another good way is to use a coat hanger, Make a big safety pin and run one end through one hind foot. Kind a like a fish stringer.

With either one, you can carry it until you see something to shoot at then just drop it down really easy.
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Old December 6, 2006, 12:58 AM   #5
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I use two or three wal-mart bags and put them inside each other and tie the handles on my back belt loops, and when you are done hunting you just throw them away and you don't have to worry about washing anything.

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Old December 9, 2006, 09:55 PM   #6
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call me crazy but i skin, gut, and get them on ice immediatly. You dont know if guts are going to be tainting the meat inside it. and body heat is what makes meat go bad/taste worse. Granted most people stay out in the field for hours and do all the gutting/skinning at the end but i was always taught to get that meat cooled down and the guts out asap.

Granted, i am a brand new hunter, but this is what i did and the first one took me 10 minutes the second one 5 minutes and i was back hunting.

Make sure its dead

soak the entire body in water (carry a good amount of h20 on you, dip it in a creek ect..get the hair soaked) This keeps the hair that sticks to the meat to a minimum.

Lift up the tail and cut underneath it and cut out to the sides, as if you could continue the cut on the outside of the thigh going down the leg. so the cut is like 2" wide under the tail.

place it upside down, step on the flap of skin/tail. grab both back legs, smoothly but strongly pull the back legs straight up. the hide peels right back up over the head and stops at the front feet.

Now just rip the remaining rear skin off. cut off all 4 feet and head. slit lengthwise and through teh sternum and remove all the guts, rinse w/ fresh water and/or wipe out with a heavy duty paper towel.

place in zip lock bag and put in backpack. Now what i do, and i thought was a pretty cool idea as take a good size water bottle and put it in the freezer. this is your ice and is your back up water supply. i place the bottle of water in the same bag as the squirrel and am nuts enough for the first one to basically spread its ribs so it is 'hugging' the water bottle, as to speed cooling. This gets the things from living to on ice in no time flat. literally it was my first time ever field dressing anything other than a fish and it took me 10 minutes tops as a total newb. Taste was most excellent once cooked!

Now everyone has their different ways of doing things. but i much prefer to do it my way. the first squirrel i got no guts were ruptured so it was prob good to go for a while w/o touching it, especially being 40F outside. however you must remember the hide is what keeps the animal warm and you have a pile of body temp guts keeping the meat warm and severely slowing the meat cooling. which IMO (cooling the meat) is of most importance ASAP. For the second one i got, some intestines were ruptured and i wouldnt have been too happy if i let feces/urin/intestinal juice ect sit on the meat in a nice warm enviornment for a few hours before cleaning.

To each his own i wont knock you for how you guys do it as long as you use what you kill, all is good

o yeah i bring a little back pack with me. so everything is in there.
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Old December 16, 2006, 12:01 AM   #7
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I can put you in touch with a couple buddies of mine if you like. They hold the Wisconsin state record for squirrel as evident by the picture below :

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Old December 16, 2006, 03:22 AM   #8
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I use one of them waist paks that has a large game bag (lined) in the back and two smaller unlined pouches for crrying calls, ammo, etc... The cheap nylon belts and plactic clip on need to be ditched an get a good quality nylon or leather belt. I originally had a tan colored set of pouches, but switched to a camo set when I had a guy take a pot shot at me once (he was trying to poach on while trespassing on my families private property) because the tan pouch was very close to the color of deer.

The vest with a pouch in the back are great as well, plus they hold a little more game in the back (stuffed 3 phesants and a couple grouse in them once)and hold more ammo and stuff up front.
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Old December 22, 2006, 03:44 PM   #9
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great reply

great reply banditt, i do the same because of they way i was raised and taught. the backpack is a great idea i will have to implement next time with the frozen water, normally i carry a small cooler with ice but i think the backpack will do great. thanks for the idea.
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Old December 22, 2006, 04:21 PM   #10
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+1 on Banditt 07 method. I use a small oldtimer gut hook knife, chest to between the legs, Hold the fore legs and hind legs , a sharp jerk downwards and the guts drop out, clean any bits with fingers. then get a hold of the skin either side of the cut in the belly, pull up to the spine both sides, skin back to the tail cut of the tail, then pull forwards over the head and cut off the head and skin, put the now skinless body in my fanny pack with a cooler pack or as Banditt a froze water bottle. When you have done a few it takes all of 30 seconds to clean em out. 6 of them make one really nice casserole or sometimes we make a chilli out of them or laced with butter and pepper on the barbecue. Damm , mouth watering now must look in the freezer to see what I got left.!
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Old December 22, 2006, 04:58 PM   #11
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At least dress them out and carry in a mesh bag or vest with mesh .
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Old December 22, 2006, 06:02 PM   #12
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I use a hooked roofing blade in a utility knife to open them up and finish with whatever pocket knife I have with me. I take a cleaning break after 2 or so hours if I don't get the limit. I'm in western NY and usually get my limit in 2-3 hours, a lot of nut trees where I hunt.
Oh and I carry them in a plastic shopping bag tied to a belt loop.
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Old December 22, 2006, 07:56 PM   #13
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Depends on the weather....

If it's cold then I wear an upland coat with a game bag in the back.

If it's warm, I sharpen one end of a stick (6-8") and put through their rear foot. You can then put the stick through a couple of belt loops. Your pants may get a little blood on them, but hey, you're in the woods.
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Old December 22, 2006, 08:24 PM   #14
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I carry a zippered nylon mesh bag. I sewed a shoulder strap to it and just throw it over one shoulder. I field dress them, and skin them later.
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Old December 28, 2006, 11:48 PM   #15
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All kinds of info there - FREE!
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Old January 14, 2007, 10:46 AM   #16
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Probably too late to reply, but my uncle taught me to carry a small pocket knife and cut a small slice through the pad on each back foot (in between the bones) and then cut a small live stick. Sharped the ends of the stick a little and push it through the small cuts. Then you have a handle to hold the game by. It works pretty well with animals that size.
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Old January 14, 2007, 06:32 PM   #17
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Gut and skin and store them in my pouch on the back of my hunting vest.
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Old January 16, 2007, 01:37 PM   #18
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Heck back in the day before my first hunting vest, I would carry them by the tail in my right hand. Once I got several I would tie a string around the tails and keep on hunting. If it was cold I never dressed them until I got back to the house.
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Old January 16, 2007, 01:46 PM   #19
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Skinning them exposes the meat to any bacteria they may come in contact with. Unless you are out for a long time on a hot day then there is no need to gut and skin in the field. I just put them in my vest and go on. I've never been sick from one nor have my ancestors.

Gut and skin and store them in my pouch on the back of my hunting vest.
I would advise against this unless you have a plastic bag because you are esentially putting raw meat in your pocket. Even if you wash your vest you are putting meat in a warm, dark, damp (because of the meat) place perfect for breeding bacteria.
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Old January 16, 2007, 01:52 PM   #20
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hunting vest

My pouch on my vest is plastic lined.. Not rubber or canvas cleaned after every hunt
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Old January 16, 2007, 03:11 PM   #21
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I'm usually not out for a long time.

There's a couple ways I do it though.

If I'm stalking, I shoot them and cache them someplace convenient. I find hanging them from a tree works well if predators are about.

I prefer to still hunt however, and call them in. My method varies with the temp.

If it's cool out, I use a former 'Nam Marine sniper's suggestion and stay put, mapping with a small pad of paper where they fall. I don't worry about gutting them at that point.

However, if it's still summer (our season starts in late August) I get up, dress it out right away, and stuff the body cavity with ice that I pack with me in a cooler. I then park my butt someplace near where I gutted it.

I don't overly worry about dressing out an animal anymore. I get a deer, well, I toss it into the pickup and take it to my processor. He charges $10 to dress it but no biggie for me. I figure that if you can shoot a deer, go home and sleep while it bleeds out, and track it the next day and have no meat degredation, the same holds true if I retrieve the deer, squirrel or rabbit right away and don't let it go undressed for more than 24 hours. Proper cooking should take care of any potential illness.

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Old January 16, 2007, 03:20 PM   #22
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I only squirrel hunt when it is cold anyway so the heat doesn't much factor in my methods, but I agree that it is better to hunt a few hours and then skin and gut at home than to carry raw exposed meat around all day coming in contact with the outside world. I use an upland game vest that has the pocket in the back. It washes easily. I pre-wash it and then wash it with my regular hunting clothes in "Sport Wash" which does a good job of removing any blood.

As to the skinning here is my method:

Make small incision perpendicular to spine about halfway up the squirrel's body. Take both index fingers and insert into cut on either side and pull apart. Skin will come off like pants and a shirt (this works best with a friend, but a single person can do this). You may have to make another incision to cut a band of skin on the belly that will tend to hang on but that is it. Once you've got it skinned down, cut tail, feet, and head off. Then take knife and split squirrel from anus to sternum and strip out all it's innards. If you are carefull with the blade it will all come out in one piece with nothing foul touching the meat. Rinse any hair off that has attached to the meat, soak overnight in brine in the refrigerator then cook or freeze.
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Old January 16, 2007, 04:08 PM   #23
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I do it the same weather it is hot or cold out. I either put thim in the big pocket on my leg on my BDU's or I carry a very large saftey pin and put the pin through their foot then my belt loop.
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Old January 16, 2007, 10:14 PM   #24
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my grandpa taught me the same trick as volfan and rugerjoe. Works well also on grouse, but make sure you go thru between the tendon and the bone.
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