When I was younger, I used to hunt squirrels a lot. Squirrel season was the first to open, and I wanted to be out hunting. I didn’t want to waste the game, but I dreaded having to clean them. Later, I even stopped hunting them because it was so difficult to clean them with a knife—the only method I knew and which was the same way I cleaned rabbits. Cleaning took a long time and wasn’t worth the effort required to undress the little critter.
Recently, I found that game scissors work wonders on squirrels. Start by clipping off the feet at the first knuckle, then cutting off the head. Next, pinch together a small amount of fur and skin, running from head to tail, in the middle of the back. With the scissors, cut the skin apart enough to allow getting two fingers into the skin. This is the only time hair can get on the meat. Then start pulling the skin apart in opposite directions, head to tail.
Once down to the tail, cut it off from the inside. As one end of the skin comes off the body, grasp the body in the empty hand and continue to remove the rest of the skin. It peels right off the legs and, with no feet in the way, is easily removed.
Now use the scissors to cut into the body cavity, opening the chest to the neck and the tail. With the squirrel open end to end, pull out the intestines and internal organs. After a quick rinse, the process is done. I’ve found the best scissors to use are made by Chicago Cutlery. They’re made from stainless steel and can be taken apart for a thorough cleaning. Also, one blade is notched, which allows for better cutting of the bones.
Now squirrels are again on my most-wanted list. They’re good to eat, but that’s another story.
Warren S. Everett
From—Real Hunting with NAHC Members