The tail-step method provides easy, hair-free meat
I grew up squirrel hunting, but one thing I didn’t learn was a way to clean squirrels that didn’t end with picking hair off the carcasses.
My dad taught me to cut a hole in the back of a squirrel’s hide, stick my fingers in the hole and pull in opposite directions — the same way rabbits skin out.
The problem is that squirrel hides are much tougher than that of rabbits, so it’s almost impossible to follow that method without hair tearing off and getting all over the meat.
My father-in-law Jean Fairchild, who is a squirrel-hunting fanatic, laughed at me (just before he told me I didn’t know anything) when he watched me tugging at a squirrel.
Instead, he uses a method that’s much quicker and results in not a hair on the carcass.
I haven’t squirrel hunted much in years, but I was reminded of my pop-in-law’s technique when hunting with Keith LaCaze last month.
Here are the steps to easily, quickly and cleaning snatching the hide off of a squirrel.
1) Place legs of squirrel in squirrel skinner, with back facing outward.
Most hunters have loops hanging off a tree or post to use to hold a squirrel while skinning and cleaning, but I had never seen what Keith LaCaze and his buddies at The Bird Camp Hunting Club use.
Just slip the squirrel’s back legs into the outside slots, with the back facing out. Pull the legs as far into the slots as they will go, and you’re ready to make the cut at the base of the tail, which is the first step in skinning the squirrel.
You also can put the squirrels hind legs back in the slots before you cut the rear feet off to hold the carcass while gutting it.
The squirrel skinner can be made by anyone who knows how to work with metal, or you can go online and purchase one at www.huntershelper.com/tools.shtml.