Squirrel Meat – I’m Going to Get Hungry, So I’m Going to Eat Some Squirrel Meat
A raconteur of raccoon meat, Gary Riggleman’s son Calvin is a proponent of squirrel meat. The bushy-tailed Sciurus carolinensis, as it’s commonly known, wreaks havoc on farmers’ fields. The prolific, omnivorous creatures are known to eat fruits, nuts, and freshly-planted seeds, and are a popular source of food for raccoons. Some Northeast states have experienced crop losses due to the growth of the squirrel population. Pest experts use chemicals to control squirrel populations, and in many cases, they are not effective.
Hunting for squirrels
Squirrels are very skittish creatures, and they will often be heard, not seen. They will rustle leaves, shake branches, and chatter to alert you that they are nearby. If you hunt near a water source, you should wear hip waders or knee boots. During the hunting season, you should look for signs of activity such as broken acorns and nuts on the ground, or bark tumbling on the forest floor.
Squirrels will be most active during the morning and early afternoon, and you may have to hunt during the drier part of the day. During the cooler part of the day, squirrels will be less active, but they can still be seen if they’re out and about. You should also avoid strong winds and rainstorms, since both will cause the squirrels to seek shelter.
Cooking with squirrels
There are a few ways to cook squirrels. Cooking squirrels is a great way to prepare lean meat. One common method is casseroling, or slow-cooking, which is a great way to get the soft, meaty texture of gamey meat. This method also lets you add vegetables and wine, so you can enjoy the taste of the delicious meat without the work of making it on your own.
Since squirrels can live up to seven years, they tend to develop tough meat, so cooking them through requires creativity. The first step in the cooking process is to coat the cut pieces in flour, then sear them in a skillet or Dutch oven until crisp. You can then add red wine and herbs to the pan and use the residue to make a flavorful sauce. If you have a young squirrel, sauteing will be appropriate. If the meat is old, braising is more appropriate.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.