Squirrels can make a hunter’s day during February in Pennsylvania
Back when I was the ripe old age of 12, squirrel hunting was a favorite endeavor that I regularly indulged in. That lasted through my teenage years— I would often choose to sit quietly for a few hours within woods that I knew held a good population of gray squirrels.
This was often a substitute for the frequent hunting of pheasants and rabbits that my family preferred for our days afield. Yet, even the glory days of small-game hunting could become a bit uneventful and tiresome to a teenager seeking action, which led to my squirrel hunting forays.
As years passed in my life, the hunting of squirrels mostly passed, too. With the decline of wild pheasants and shrinking of places to hunt rabbits, I became much more of a turkey and deer hunter. Still, thoughts of squirrels and hunting have always remained in my mind.
Squirrels are very plentiful today.
As I’m often up a tree deer hunting over the course of many years now, I’ve come to notice that once I’m settled in and quiet, squirrels —and lots of them — will start descending trees and go about digging up the forest floor searching for food. Some of their other antics include chasing each other, often circling around the thick trunks of tall timber, a forest comedy truly enjoyable to witness.
This is true whether I enter a stand in the dark or afternoon, because most often in early morning as light slowly enters the woods, squirrels are my first sighting. Many times too, they are my only companions, because there are many days when whitetails never appear.
Going back to the years when hunting squirrels was a big part of my hunting days, I plainly remember two things: First, they were tough to clean, and second, when my mother slowly fried their tender legs and back in butter, they were every bit as good as any cottontail section of meat I stuck in my mouth.
With a few warmer days now forecast, I think I’ll grab my 20 gauge, a pocket of shells and head to some nearby woods. I’ll find a comfortable seat with my back against a tree, get settled and watch for some busy squirrels.
I might also add, I think I may have found an easier way to skin them. At least I hope I have.