Squirrel Hunting Surprise


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Gerowen

Squirrel season is in here in Kentucky and I'm using my Harrington and Richardson 12 gauge to bag them. It will shoot 3" magnum shells but for squirrel I just use standard shells so there's still something left to eat after shooting them. Today I was surprised by how much knockdown a 12 gauge has at distance and recorded this video. There was no blood trail, the squirrel didn't crawl that far, he was knocked back about 15 feet from where I shot him. Just thought I'd share. For those of you concerned about animal rights, I do EAT the squirrels I kill.

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Nashy

I didn't realise eating squirrel was a regular thing.

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Gerowen

I didn't realise eating squirrel was a regular thing.

I like them, it tastes pretty good. They're pretty easy to hunt, especially in this area because not a lot of people hunt any more so they're absolutely everywhere. Some people use them to make a gravy, or make dumplings out of them, or you can even fry them. I like squirrel hunting because it gets me out in nature which I enjoy, and I get to eat what I kill which saves me money on meat at the grocery store. I guess it really depends on where you live though.

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DocM

I didn't realise eating squirrel was a regular thing.

Before the days of mass cattle drives and the wide availability of beef squirrel was a major source of meat in the US, which is why most every man owned a "squirrel rifle" like the Kentucky and Pennsylvania variants. Sadly for the English troops during the Revolutionary War these weapons were deadly accurate at ranges far longer than their muskets could shoot, making them excellent standoff or sniped rifle for the Colonials. I have 2, one a .32 and one a .36 and they're great fun to shoot.

We still hunt squirrel as theylre a tough shot and great eating (especially in stews, soups etc.) but I use use either a .410 or 28 guage shotgun or a tuned up Ruger 10/22 .22 rifle. Less shot to pick out with the shotguns and head shot accuracy with the Ruger.

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Ph1b3r0pt1c

Yeah, I use my trusty 10/22 also. I've killed around 30 this year alone. Gerowen: Where are you in Kentucky? I am 2 miles south of Henderson, almost to a little town named Dixon.

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MikeChipshop

Yup i'll testify, Squirrel is delicious!

Dunno if there is a major difference in the Squirrel between the UK and the US (I thought our greys came from the US in the first place?) but over here i normally dispatch of them with a decent air rifle, what you're packing seems a bit overkill (and pricey per unit) but if it works for ya meh.

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Cute James

Are squirrels considered pests in your part of the world?

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Nothing Here

Youtube must be down. Can't watch the vid. A 12 gauge is a bit overkill in my opinion also. I also use my Ruger 10/22.

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Gerowen

Yeah, I use my trusty 10/22 also. I've killed around 30 this year alone. Gerowen: Where are you in Kentucky? I am 2 miles south of Henderson, almost to a little town named Dixon.

I'm from Magoffin County, over in eastern KY. The nearest town to me is Salyersville. My wife is from that end of the state though. She grew up in Providence, and went to high school at Webster County High in Dixon.

12 gauge is what I got, I've thought about getting a smaller gauge, but I haven't had any huge issues with damage to the animal except for one that caught me by surprise that I shot from about 10 feet away, and the only other option was my backup sidearm which is .40 and would have probably blown it in half at that distance. Even that one was in perfectly edible condition, just a bit bloody. That's why I use #4 shot, to avoid peppering it to pieces with too much buckshot. Would be nice if 12 gauge shells were cheaper though, :p

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SupportGeek

Are squirrels considered pests in your part of the world?

Ground squirrels are definitely, they eat everything and burrow everywhere.

Ranchers have damage to livestock all the time because those suckers leave holes all over the fields for the animals to step in and break legs.

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DocM

Michigan squirrels -

Chipmunks (2 types), Ground squirrel (13 lined), Tree squirrel (Grey, Red, and Eastern Fox), Flying (2 types) and Marmots (Woodchuck.) There is also a breeding population of black squirrels that are a melanistic variant of the Grey.

The trees and woodchucks are the most hunted, the latter usually both as vermin and as food because of their large size, up to 30 lb, and flavor when properly prepared. 'Chucks are tough though, often requiring anything from a .17 HMR to a .22 Mag or even a .223 Remington at longer ranges.

Mid-sized Michigan woodchuck with a Winchester Model 53 for scale -

michuck.jpg

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Gerowen

Are squirrels considered pests in your part of the world?

We consider ground squirrels (chipmunks) a pest species here. They're too small to eat, dig holes, carry diseases and they will clean out $10 worth of birdseed from our bird-feeders in one day, so we keep a shotgun on the porch and shoot any of them that come into the yard. I don't go hunting for them though, just keep them out of the yard.

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DocM

We have a large population of red tailed hawks (up to 5' wingspan) that keep most small pests under control, and the reds have become quite used to hunting in human areas - not unusual at all to see one in your back yard making a kill. Not too good for smaller pets though.

What the reds don't get the rat snakes & rattlesnake go after.

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  • 5 months later...
Torolol

Squirrels are free spirits, but you can lure them with any food within their taste range.

Takes times, but squirrels can recognize you if you are try feeding'em regulary, and became less scared to you.

I have better luck with cats turn nicer to me than squirrels though.

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cork1958

Only kind of hunting I do anymore is squirrel hunting and have since I was a kid. I use a little bitty single shot .410.

Would never even dream of using something as big as a 12 gauge though. Totally takes any challenge out of it. Heck, even if one of the bb's doesn't kill it, the tree that you just shot down will fall on the squirrel and kill it!! :rofl:

Very good eating too, no matter how it's cooked/used.

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  • 2 weeks later...
DocM

Squirrels are good eating, but I agree that anything larger than a .410 or .22 is a waste. Hell, I can just imagine my Saiga 12 turning one into an inedible poof.

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Tuishimi

You know I have never tried squirrel. I think when my brother was at Ft. Knox and when he was in Georgia he might have had it... So what does it compare to, flavor-wise?

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cacoe

Can't imagine there's much meat on a little thing like that...

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DocM

You know I have never tried squirrel. I think when my brother was at Ft. Knox and when he was in Georgia he might have had it... So what does it compare to, flavor-wise?

Texture is like dark chicken/turkey but the flavor is a tad more beefy. Makes a great gravy

As to size, it depends on the type of squirrel. Black squirrels (small melanistic Eastern grays) are small, maybe 0.3 to 0.5 lbs and not worth the trouble. American reds aren't much better at 0.5+ lb unless they're from areas with light predation, in which case they get much larger. Eastern grays run about 1.5+ lbs and are better eating. Moving on to ground squirrels, adult woodchucks (groundhog, marmot etc.) can run10-30 lbs and are very tasty. We have woodchuck a lot.

The key to taste is preparation; ALL superficial fat must be removed, along with the membrane overlaying the muscles. Best way to remove the superficial fat: refrigerate the cleaned carcass, which hardens the fat & makes it easy to remove. Soak in brine for an hour or so, rinse & cook. Most of the recipe sites have several options.

Tidbit: before the cattle drives of the 1800's squirrel was one of the largest meat sources in N. America. That's why the rifles used by many American colonists were called "squirrel rifles." Slightly larger were the Kentucky rifles. They were so accurate the English fell prey to long range sniping (to 300+ yards) while their muskets were accurate to only 50-100 yards. The battles of Bunker Hill and Saratoga in particular were influenced by these weapons.

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