Traditionally, squirrell seasons opened in early fall and were seen in the same light as fall turkeys. Indeed, hunting the two species makes for a great combo hunt, yet squirrels are best eaten when they are young. Some Southern states offer spring squirrel seasons to take advantage of the first batch of the year. Young squirrels are small enough to be distinguished from mature adults, a fact which allows hunters to bag the best eating.
Late Summer Seasons
Changes in your state’s squirrel season may not be a press event such as altering the whitetail deer bag limit or establishing a minimum point system. For that reason, you may be surprised to learn that your state or a state in which you hunt has an early season. Last August I was invited to join a group hunting squirrels in Illinois with Gamo .22 pellet guns and it was a lot of fun.
Kill and Skin
Savvy squirrely hunters know that separating the hide of a cold, stiff squirrel from its meat is brutal work, especially if you are alone. You will find several YouTube videos that demonstrate the technique of skinning a warm squirrel and once mastered, you’ll enjoy squirrel hunting much more. You need a sharp knife, a couple of closable plastic bags and you’ll return home with venison for the freezer instead of a difficult chore.
Field & Stream
This post by Will Brantley on the Field & Stream website will take you through the do’s and don’t of the early season.
August, sophomore year at Murray State—I was skinning squirrels in the dorm parking lot when a classmate walked by. I’d never met him, but he was wearing a faded camo shirt and boots. He was obviously a kindred spirit. “Where you going?” I hollered at him, wiping my blade across my pants. He was carrying a to-go tray from Winslow Cafeteria.
“Getting closer to a crapper before I attempt to eat this slop,” he said. “My guts still aren’t used to it.”
“Come over here and help me with these squirrels, then,” I said. “I got three good young ones, all out of hickory nut trees. We’ll fry them in the community kitchen.”