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34 responses to “Into the Squirrel Woods”

  1. Mike Dwyer

    Hank – great post. Thought you would like this:

    http://ordinary-gentlemen.com/blog/2012/05/heritage-hunting-3/

  2. KyleS

    I’ve wondered if/when you would do a post on these critters. As much as I’ve ventured into hunting, I’ve never attempted a squirrel before…mostly because I don’t know anyone that’d eat one with me :) That and Sierra squirrels are a bit scrawny…maybe I’ll venture out to Spenceville or Putah Creek.

    Thanks for this little glimpse!

  3. Patrick

    Reading about those woods brought back some memories of mine in the Eastern Sierra’s, which is where I grew up. Great article, Hank.

  4. TommyP

    You’ll be happy to know that the last time I was up in the Watchung woods, walking my sister’s dog last spring, we ran into lots of squirrels and a whole family of wild turkeys, too. No peacocks any more, but the turkeys were better anyway.

  5. Michael Greenberg

    I’m a novice hunter, and we’re in the thick of squirrel season here in PA. I haven’t had a chance to go out this season, but a quick question: do you dress your squirrels in the field, or just bag them up and dress them at home? I’d worry about the meat getting warm in a bag near my body, however chilly it is out here.

    In any case, I’m looking forward to going out soon. Last year, my second year of hunting, I took my first shot at an animal: a squirrel, at about 40 yards with my 22. Not a lot compares to the feeling I got as I spotted him, got him in my sights, and fired. Missed his head by about an inch—lucky squirrel.

  6. DiggingDogFarm

    I also love eating squirrels as much as I love hunting them.
    My Grandmother made the best squirrel pot pie, so simple yet so good!
    Trying to match it, sure brings back lots of great memories!

    You’re so right about country squirrels being so different than city squirrels. Totally different animals. It’s amazing how smart and elusive gray squirrels can be, especially if there’s just a hint of possible danger. Funny how they can keep the tree between you and them even if you stand at the bottom of the tree and move around it rapidly.

    We see black gray squirrels here in PA (Tioga County) some, but they are, of course, very rare.

  7. Steve in Canton

    This is a banner year for squirrel in Ohio, I hope you had the pleasure of sauteing the brains with eggs. This is my favorite part of the squirrel to eat and it makes a great lunch or dinner when you get home that evening.

    Also the heart and liver are great eating, I prefer to marinate them with a good vinegar and oil add some salt and pepper and eat raw on crackers with cheese. An apetizer fit for a King.

  8. la domestique

    I really enjoyed reading this post, and don’t think I’ve ever seen a black squirrel- pretty cool!

  9. UlrikeDG

    Can’t wait to read about the dishes you make. I have a rat terrier who I think would love to go squirrel hunting, but I’ve never been, so I continue to hesitate.

  10. Joe Keough

    Very well written Hank. Captured that day precisely!

  11. Kevin

    I enjoy squirrel hunting both by stalking them in the woods and using dogs. Two completely different experiences though! My father-in-law, his dog, and I were able to get the limit (16) in a couple of hours the last time we went.
    We have black fox squirrels here in the south delta of MS but I have never bagged one.

  12. Marty

    Thank you for bringing back fond memories of crisp, sunny fall days hunting with my dad in the foothills of the Adirondacks more than 50 years ago!

  13. Mike

    I’m trying to figure out how to make tires out of squirrel hides. I don’t think they’d ever wear out. I swear they are kevlar belted!

  14. MJ

    As much as I enjoy watching their antics in the suburbs, when I see how fat they are in winter, fed on our gardens and expensive pet store birdseed, I do consider squirrel pot pie as a return on my feed investment…

  15. RobbieAnn Montgomery

    Hey Hank, your picture of the young woods reminds me of a day when my son was around 8 or 9 and he and I were passing through a scope of young woods and saw a fox squirrel jumping from tree to tree and all of a sudden we heard this crashing noise and apparently the sight of us made the squirrel mis-time his jump and he hit the ground with a splat and Travis and I laughed all the way to where we were headed. Such fun. He’s grown now but reminds me about that day when we go hunting.

  16. Nancy

    Love the first photo! It looks like a painting! What fabulous light! Just Beautiful! Happy to see Twitter up and running again! Interesting post too on squirrel hunting. Did they make that warning chatter sound when you were there?

  17. SusieQT

    Hank- great post. I do hope you post those recipes for squirrel! I just shot 4 the other day here in PA. I use a .22 with subsonic ammo so the gun isn’t so loud. They’re destined for a pot pie made on top of the woodstove.

  18. Dan

    As a New South Welshman I spent my younger years sneaking about in the Eucalypt Woodlands of our central tablelands. With a shotgun in hand I’d stalk through the blackberry hoping to bust a bunny.

    I still get out there occasionally with my old side-by-side hammer gun, a .410 and like you, I feel 14 again. I know every kink in the creek, the ponds where the black duck will flush and the fallen trees I still have to clamber over. Not a care in the world, shooting a rabbit really was all that mattered.

  19. Robin Follette

    We don’t have gray squirrels in my part of the woods but we do have little reds. Two of the little beasts have Squirrel Olympics in the attic, driving the herding dog crazy. They’re small but I’m going to try them as soon as I catch them away from the house where I can shoot.

  20. Will K

    I started my hunting career hunting squirrels. I still love squirrel hunting, but I don’t get to go as often as I’d like. These days, with the large whitetail deer population, a lot of beginning hunters never start by hunting squirrels and instead go straight to deer. I think that’s a shame; squirrel hunting let’s one build and refine the skills that will make one a good deer hunter later on. Oh, and squirrels are pretty darn tasty. Here in VA we’ve got gray squirrels, fox squirrels and red squirrels. The grays are pretty much everywhere, while the fox squirrels are mostly in the western part of the state (I don’t know anyone who hunts the much smaller red squirrels).

  21. Rick Elrod

    Thanks for sharing! I too enjoy squirrel hunting here in VA.

  22. Daniel

    Hey Hank,

    You’re post was a good encouragement to get out there and get hunting. I’m relatively new to hunting, and I just shot my first squirrel today.
    Question: Why do you hunt with a shotgun as opposed to a .22? I spotted probably 8 or 9 squirrels today, and only once did I manage to get a shot off. Perhaps I don’t trust the range of my shotgun enough, but I feel like I would have done better with a .22. Do you just sit completely still until they approach you, or do you tend to walk around as quitely as you can?

    Daniel

  23. Linda Eckhardt

    thanks for explaining it all. Here’s my take on your great post about the Hmong Squirrel Stew. http://everybodyeatsnews.com/2012/11/let-us-now-praise-famous-soups-and-the-cultures-who-created-them/

  24. Joe

    Shoot man. I’m a transplant myself. I’ve lived in Maine, Washington, and currently Louisiana. I grew up in the Pocono’s, in Pennsylvania, and MISS those old woods you talk about. What you say about stalking quietly amongst hardwoods strikes a cord with me. I’ve met very few people in my travels with that skill, and to me it’s second nature. Hell, I freak my wife out all the time when we’re hiking because I walk so quietly. Anyway, I just found your blog and like what you’re doing. Looking forward to reading more of it.

  25. Matt

    Hey Hank,

    Loved this post. As a New Hampshire boy up in the thick of these Eastern woods your post, though older, really sung with me today.

    I’ve been playing around with squirrel hunting but skiddish to get into it as a first timer. A question that keeps discouraging me is safety… how do you make sure there is little or no risk of getting rabies or other disease common in squirrel? Much appreciated, and hope to see you out these parts with your new book!

    Cheers,
    Matt

  26. Peter NeSmith

    Thanks for writing that Hank! My first kill was a squirrel in the country outside Gainesville, Florida when I was 9. Spent almost every day of hunting season chasing down squirrels after school.

    At first I though you were mistaken as to the Fox Squirrel. In Florida we have greys and fox’s, although the southern fox squirrel (Scirius niger niger) is vastly different than a grey and the northern fox. It is also a protected species with a very different habitat requirement.

    http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/profiles/mammals/land/fox-squirrel/

  27. Ken Ashcraft Jr

    I’ve been hunting squirrels here in Ohio for the past 47 years, the season starts soon and I feel like a kid at Christmas.
    I’ll be out there with my 20 gage flintlock smoothbore.

  28. Zane from Ohio

    Season starts today in Ohio!

  29. Nathan

    We have a decent population of black squirrels in some areas of Western New York, along with fox squirrels and grays. But I went down to my parent’s house near Asheville, NC and discovered they have a whole population of white squirrels there. They are not albino, but I believe they are a color variation of a gray, like the blacks. The locals are very proud of their white squirrels!

  30. Bricky Way

    First, nice bate of squirrels there! I’m thinking about getting some greys myself this year. Second, I just had a “Lines we draw” moment looking at the pic. Down here our subspecies of fox squirrel along with the old-growth pine forest they live in is rare and they are a protected animal with no open season. Besides how cool it is to spot one I’ve always loved their looks. In other words, I’d no more hurt one that I’d hurt a sandhill crane, another much beloved protected species (that’s also called “ribeye of the sky” in Texas, where they are legal to hunt). Its all situational unless you’re a few days hungry, huh?

  31. jake

    ive been threatening to bring a mess of squirrels home for a few yrs..you have inspired me… btw just finished my xmas chopped liver mmmmmmmmm duck in the am …skrils on the way out…don’t care how much steel is…1st time at your site ..its really nice..took me back to my first hunt..squirrles in an old growth forrest in central ohio..what a day, I was hooked..merry christmas

  32. Seth

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this particular post. I was fortunate enough to make it to the woods yesterday and kill quite a few squirrel (also a quail or two….it was a good day). I recently graduated from grad school and haven’t had the opportunity to do much hunting at all over the past few years. Most, if not all, of my friends (hunting buddies aside), can’t seem to understand how happy it made me to make it out to the woods and bring home some squirrel. It almost seems trivial as I have been fortunate enough to harvest a deer every year, but something about bringing home some of these guys reminds me of my first hunt and makes me very happy. Thanks for continuing to enjoy the delicacy of the tree as much as I do.

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