(Minnesota Squirrel Hunting 2006, originally uploaded by LeDeathman.)
Sorry for the alarmingly graphic photo. Most “squirrel hunting” photos on Flickr show the smug hunter, holding up his kill — always by the tail – for the camera. This one, at least, looks a little less ridiculous.
Growing up in South Texas, I’m used to hunting — of deer, quail, javelina (hog) and dove. But squirrels? No. So perhaps that’s why it strikes me as an absurd source of prey for hunting. Squirrels are tiny. And so easy to bait with some peanuts or other tasty morsel. I guess I don’t get it: Where’s the thrill in shooting a squirrel?
Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I understand how, traditionally, squirrel meat is a better option than no meat. And, given my Texas background, I also see the benefit of population control via hunting. But I can’t support the hunting of red squirrels — the species in the photo above — because they are in decline everywhere.
I also can’t support bragging about killing squirrels. That’s a bit like bragging about being able to tie your own shoelaces. (I mean, is it that challenging of a sport when every squirrel hunting article has a quote like this: “Squirrel hunting is a great way to introduce kids to hunting; there are plenty of them, and kids have a greater chance at bagging a squirrel than they do a deer.” (ed note: “Bagging” a squirrel?)
If you’d like to read more about squirrel hunting, this article from the Lafayette, Louisiana Daily Advertiser makes for fascinating reading. Like this gem from Wildlife and Fisheries commissioner Henry Mouton.
“Squirrel is a delicious animal to eat,” Mouton said. “Cajun chefs make it without a recipe; they just add a little of this, and a little of that. Then we’ll sit around six to eight hours drinking beer, watching football and talking about hunting and fishing until that meat is almost falling off the bone.”