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Cleaning squirrels

Discussion in 'Ohio Small Game Hunting' started by Goshengrunter, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. So I've hunted and eaten lots of squirrells before...but all the cleaning is self taught. I'm taking some kids this weekend and want to teach them the best way possible. How does everyone else clean em?

    I usually gut them and skin as soon as I shoot tgen put em on ice

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  2. Every once in awhile I will skin one in the woods, but I tend to wait until I am back at my vehicle or house depending. Since most kids (and people like me) are visual learners have them watch what should be the standard of all squirrel skinning videos.


    People say it's easier to skin them warm, but those fox squirrels are tough for me any which way (unless it is a young one). I've tried immediately after shooting and waiting until later and it makes no difference to me. Gray squirrels are easy. My biggest problem is keeping the flap of skin pressed down under my boot. It always wants to slide out from underneath my boot. That's probably the biggest reason I wait until I am back at the house so I can do this on the concrete pad. I don't ever think I could skin like this in the woods unless I could find a rock somewhere which there aren't that many rocks around here. I really think I don't weigh enough to hold pressure down on the skin flap. Maybe I'll get a government grant to study the optimal minimal pressure needed to hold down a squirrel in order to skin. Oh but then I have the issue of bending over to get the squirrel under my foot to begin with. Dang this getting older stuff. :)

    When all is said and done though and even with my troubles, this method has simplified skinning for me 1000%. And we don't have many grays, but man are they EASY!

    So I skin first and then gut. I'm good at that gutting part 'cause I know where all those inside parts are located. ;) ;)

    Oh the other thing I do before I start skinning (if I am at home) is I get a big bucket of warm water and dip the squirrel in that first. I do this with rabbits too and holy smoley it cuts down on fly-away fur sticking to the carcass.

  3. That video sure makes it look easy. I notice it's a gray he's skinning. I've tried that method on foxes and ended up ripping the tail off :irked:. They're tough critters. I've never gotten a gray. With the fox, I skin first, then gut. The skinning is usually a two man job (me and my son). Slit all the way around the middle, between the front and back legs, then peel off each end, working the legs out, but not the head. Makes the gutting a lot cleaner, as the blood doesn't get all over the belly fur.

    Good luck this weekend!
  4. I agree with RRMike, skin first then gut. I cut off the feet first with a pair of side cutters. Then, I make a horizontal incision along the center of the back and then pull the skin in opposite directions. Pull the skin to the neck and the base of the tail. Then cut the head off.

    For the tail, some people just cut it off and leave the bone in the tail. I prefer to strip the bone away from the tail skin. The only downside to taking the bone out is that sometimes you can rip the tail, so if you are afraid to rip the tail, leave the bone in. Especially if its a kids first squirrel, you'll want to keep the tail as a memory and not risk destroying it.

    After the skin is all the way off, make a vertical incision along the belly and remove the guts. I usually wear rubber gloves for this portion, its just cleaner and I can wrap the guts in the gloves when I take them off.

    I always try to do the cleaning as soon as I get home from the field. I've never done it in the field. One time I made the mistake of waiting 6 hours to clean the squirrels and the meat was tainted from the guts being in the squirrel too long.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2012
  5. This is how I do it. This guy is halarious also. Not to kid friendly though.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2015
  6. Man, I gave squirrel up years ago, but with this thread, reckon I'll be in the woods come Monday.

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  7. Ah, I see it opens Saturday, so Saturday it is.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2012
  8. Thanks that was a good video.
  9. funny video

    thats one way to skin a rat
  10. Age a squirrel by the amount of hair on the balls:yikes:.... Learned something new on that video for sure:bouncy:
  11. Favorite quote from the video: " they got tuff bones, I aint shittin ya!" Ha ha ha

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  12. Good stuff, thanks for posting!

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  13. I take a small piece of rope or rawhide and skin them in the woods. Just tie small loop around the hind legs and tie off to a tree. Skin them like you would a coon or fox. Then gut them.
  14. The way I came up with is to use a piece of rope, I happen to use nylon, and "hang 'em". Rope around neck, rope tied to something. Like a branch or the latch for my car trunk. Then cut the skin, skin only, around lower neck just under the rope. Pull hide down, use the knife to help at first like pulling a deer cape down, slip out the arms, pull down more, then pull the feet out. Last work the tail bone out of the tail with thumbnails. Remove tail. Just the way I do it, it may be harder I don't know. But, with the hide in one piece it seems easy to pull. Gut. Prepare. Season to taste. I clean and salt some hides for kids to mess with and give some away as people can hardly believe I really squirrel hunt, and love it too!
  15. I use the "cut them above the ahole method" cut them right above the anus making a descent size slice across the back legs. Place the base of the tail under your boot heel and push down hard with heel. Pull up with a back leg in each hand, this peels the hide off. It works very well and you get absolutely no hair. It takes lots and lots of practice and it helps to be shown by a veteran of this method.

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  16. if ya deep fry the brains, just cook 'em a little more then medium-rare!!
  17. I also carry surgical gloves, gameshears and a sharp lil case skinner knife.

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  18. After years of skinning squirrels similar to how you skin deer, I decided to give that method a try last year (the one with the boot on the tail.) Holy smokes, it cut down on my skinning time probably 80%. Had 3 of them done in minutes with minor mess. I use a hatchet to chop off the head and feet.

    Just did a fox squirrel this past weekend and had it done in about 2 minutes. It wasn't warm anymore, but it was still easy as pie. Give it a try sometime.