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First squirrel hunt

Old 08-08-2006, 11:14 PM
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Default First squirrel hunt

I've never gone squirrel hunting, but I'm thinking of giving it a go this year. I have a Winchester 12 ga. I use for trap&skeet. Is 12 ga. too big for squirrel hunting? If not, what size shot should I use?

Also, does anyone have any tips for field dressing and processing squirrels, or know of any good websites or books on the subject?

Thanks to all who respond, I know I have a lot of questions,but I'm sure youallknow what it's like trying something new for the first time
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Old 08-09-2006, 12:40 AM
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Default RE: First squirrel hunt

ORIGINAL: Challynger

I've never gone squirrel hunting, but I'm thinking of giving it a go this year. I have a Winchester 12 ga. I use for trap&skeet. Is 12 ga. too big for squirrel hunting? If not, what size shot should I use?
Not too big. All depends on the load and where you are hunting. I use 12, 20 and .410. The 12s will give you a bit of reach, especially if hunting in early fall when there are still leaves on the trees or in pines like I do. It also gives you some extra firepower if you happen to hunt where you may also run across birds or foxes and such. I load up with #7 or #8 in 2 3/4" field loads and carry a few 2 3/4" or 3" heavy shells in #6 for extra punch.
Maybe a couple of 3" #4 or 4 buck if there is agood chance for coon or fox.

Also, does anyone have any tips for field dressing and processing squirrels, or know of any good websites or books on the subject?
I don't have any books or websites off hand, I leaned off of my father myself. But the best advice I can give you is to dress out and skin them as soon as possible. Once they cool down they can be a real bugger toskin. It's a lot easier to do fresh. I do mine as soon as I kill them. Carry all that I needright in a field pack set up specifically for squirrel hunting, including heavy duty ziplock bags for the skins andmeat, and some waterless hand cleaner and small junk towels for cleaning up. Got the bag at Walmart (gasp!) It's one of those camo shoulder bags they sell, just the right size to fill up with everything needed for a specific hunt. Got one for small game, deer, archery, muzzleloading, etc. Keeps everything I need in one handy "go bag". then again, you end up having X number of knives, etc to fill them, but I already have a thing with "collecting" gear anyway.

Thanks to all who respond, I know I have a lot of questions,but I'm sure youallknow what it's like trying something new for the first time
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Old 08-09-2006, 08:10 AM
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Default RE: First squirrel hunt

I don't know if a 12 gauge is to big but I always used a .22 rifle. If you hit them around the heart or neck area it would drop them dead!!
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Old 08-09-2006, 08:21 AM
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Default RE: First squirrel hunt

well if you use like, 7 shot or something a 12 guage is fine, but you wanna have some useable meat left . If you have a .22, that's perfect. As far as field dressing it, most of the meat is by the legs, and they taste great. Boil em first, then throw em in a pan with a cover with somesome grapseed oil, or even a little ginger ale, then throw em in a stew. You get 2 that's a good meal for one. Good luck, it's alot of fun.


-Travis-
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Old 08-09-2006, 09:31 AM
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Default RE: First squirrel hunt

I have always used a .22 on squirrel. I like the squirrels just like Southern Fried Chicken.
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Old 08-09-2006, 09:57 AM
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Default RE: First squirrel hunt

I also use a .22.


I would suggest 5 or 6's for shot size.

Bigger shot= farther range= more energy

Squirrels have tuff skin.
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Old 08-09-2006, 11:50 AM
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Default RE: First squirrel hunt

WhileI too prefer to snipe squirrel with a .22LR many of the state parks around me only allow shotgun, which I learned to enjoy last season as well. You have to be a little more sneaky to get close enough to use that shotgun. 30 yards and under. I suggest taking a few practice paces to get used to how far 30 yards actually is. Take each stride as one yard....of course I'm 6 foot so ...depends on how tall you are.

As far as a 12 gauge....it'll work great...I used my Winchester 120 all last year. Contrary to what some say on here, I never tore up the meat. That will only happen if you are very, very close. This year I bought a 20 gauge just for squirrel hunting....it's probably better suited for this purpose and lighter in the field. The one I bought has a 26 in barrel (again to lighten the load, and easier to swing if they run) but a 20 gauge isn't necessary.

6 shot, 1 ounce is what shot I've been using, and it seems to be working great.

One other thing I would mention is the choke on your shotgun. Remember the tighter the pattern out of the gun, the longer shot you can take. I would prefer a modified or full choke. Especially when the leaves fall....harder to get in for that close shot.

As for cleaning....here's a quick run down...then I'll try to find the video that I think used to be on this site and get you a link..

1st - Start at the tail, and start your cut under the tail, towards the head. The goal is to cut through the bone, but keep the tail attached to the outter skin. Kinda difficult at first, but you'll get the hang of it.

2nd- make one slit down from the cut you just made down towards the back leg...repeat on opposite side.

3rd - put tail under foot and pull front two legs until skin pulls over head and off front feet

4th - use fingers two pull off back two legs skin.

5th - I just cut off the legs where they connect to the body as there isn't much meat on the body.

6th- I think there some type of sack to be removed in the arm pit area...if you cut that off...can't remember.

7th - that's about it....but try not to get hair all over the meat....it doesn't come off easy.

Good luck and have fun!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-09-2006, 12:03 PM
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Default RE: First squirrel hunt

See the post i have about skinning squirrels....it has the link. It's how my buddy and I learned....not quite as easy as this guy makes it look...but it gets easier the more you do it.
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Old 08-09-2006, 12:11 PM
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Default RE: First squirrel hunt

Another good trick to locate squirrels is to take two quarters and strike the edges together. Makes a high pitched sound like a squirrel barking. I know it sound stupid but it works. Once you get a pretty good fix on their position, sit down and wait. They will usually reappear in a few minutes. I also agree with skinning them asap. I usually do it when I get back to my truck.
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Old 08-09-2006, 09:01 PM
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Default RE: First squirrel hunt

Another way to make a barking sound is just two small hard stones struck against each other. Nice rounded stones from a stream work great.
With practice you might be able to do a softer call by making a high pitched cluck sound in the back of your mouth. I can do it but my brother and father can't.

And don't forget a pocket full of stones for tossing. Get a squirrel up a lone tree and it keeps on the opposite side as you sneak around to get a shot, sit down a while then skip a stone into the leaves or brush on the other side and you might trick him into moving to where you can shoot him.
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