Saturday, September 27, 2014
It's That Time of Year Again
Squirrel season opened up again around here and I noticed a few trucks parked along the National Forest land areas and a couple of hunters stopping in down at the gas station. One in particular said it was a good year for em.
We have two kinds in pretty much equal amounts in this part of Missouri. The smaller Gray ones as you see above and the larger Fox Squirrel pictured below.
As a kid and an early teenager I couldn't wait for the opening of squirrel season. I would be up bright and early carrying my little Mossberg 51M .22 rifle. I would sneak into a section of the woods I knew was just full of squirrels and find a convenient log or tree to put my back on and just wait for the little buggers to come to me.
It never really took very long and even after bagging one there wasn't much of a wait before I heard the scurrying SSSHHHHISKK SHSSSISK of another squirrel foraging around in the leaves.
Sure as the sun had come up there he would be sitting on the porch waiting. The first thing he would do as he took the little tree rats from me is check to see where I had hit them. See that area right under the ear in the above picture where the different colored fur from the cheek meets the fur on the side of the body? That curved section? That was the target spot and it had to be done with a .22 no shotguns allowed. Why? Because the nasty old man....
ATE THE DAMNED BRAINS LIKE SOME ZOMBIE OUT OF AN OLD MOVIE!!!!
It was friggin disgusting.
OK in all fairness he did cook the brains first somehow. I never bothered to stay around long enough to find out. I do know one year my Grandmother bribed me to not go squirrel hunting for a couple of weekends if that tells you how nasty the entire family found this brain eating concept to be.
Gramps would watch me fumble around cleaning the first squirrel for a while. We always did it out back under the addition they had built on the house. The remains always went into a paper bag (wasn't a lot of plastic around then) and would be delivered to a neighbor who was actually a commercial fisherman on the Missouri river. Believe it or not there were still a few around back then and he would use the offal as bait. Said it was great for catfish and spoonbill.
In very short order Gramps would get annoyed at my slow squirrel cleaning abilities and have the others finished before I got the first one done. I swear that man could clean a squirrel quicker than it took me to pull the trigger on one. He then soaked the bodies in ice water for a while and I went on my merry way. I never took any squirrel home my mother would have thrown it in the garbage.
If there is one critter around these parts that I am convinced will survive a collapse and remain a source for wild meat even after all the other game is killed it's the squirrel. While I remember my Grandfather claiming he rarely if ever saw a deer, turkey or game bird after about 1920 or so, and didn't see em much even before that, he always claimed there was never a shortage of squirrel. Although in typical "walking barefoot in the snow up hill" fashion he did like to claim they were much harder to hunt when he was a kid. According to him those squirrel back then could swoop down and take your throat out like some bunny from a Monte Python skit and not only that they could camouflage themselves better than a Predator fighting Arnold too.
Regardless there were always a lot of them. My guess is that so many of them were in such remote areas that no matter how the hunting pressure grew they always bounced back. I know Grandpa ate a lot of squirrel in his life and claimed for a while it was about the only meat they had at one time for a spell here and there.
I got that Mossberg out this morning. No I didn't go hunting although I did think about it. After a while I oiled her down and put her back. She has a little 2x scope on her these days that my son used when he went through his hunting education course a several years back. I never had the privilege of hunting the little tree rats with a scope before, of course now I don't need to save the brains either. Maybe I will give it a try one of these days.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!