How To Butcher a Squirrel, by B.T.

It would seem these days the world in which we live is anything but predictable. Who is to say you will always be able to run down to the corner gas station and fill your tank? Or drive thru your local fast food chain for a quick fix, when those hunger pangs kick in? In the event of an economic crash or other disaster, food and other supplies may be very hard to obtain. You may not be able to make your regular trip to the local Wal-Mart or other grocery store. Store shelves will go bare very fast, and many people will be left without the proper supplies. Even if food is available, and stores are open, the prices of everything in the store will skyrocket. As in the case of hyperinflation. Loaves of bread for $25, and $30 for a gallon of milk. How will you feed yourself and your family? Is it time to give up hope and die? No, of course not!

It is time to learn new things and strengthen your skill set. What is a skill set? Skills that will enable and ensure you and your family will survive. Skills like learning moss contains water, How to make water safe for drinking by adding a few drops of bleach per quart, or how to put snow in a water bladder or baggies and melt that snow with your body heat, by placing it inside your jacket next to your body to make drinking water. Even Boy Scouts at a young age, are taught to make lamps and candles out of old tuna cans and wax. When the time comes are you going to be prepared? All the tools and weapons in the world won’t do you any good, if you don’t know how to use them.    

It would also be a very good idea to purchase several different types of firearms, along with plenty of ammo. It is advisable to have at least one handgun, one shotgun (preferably 12 gauge), one large caliber rifle, and one small caliber rifle such as a .22, for taking down small game animals like rabbits and squirrel. A pellet gun would also come in handy for hunting down the smaller game animals. Perhaps you would find yourself in a situation where you needed to hunt for food, but making noise with a loud weapon might bring unwanted attention your way. A slingshot would also work, but a pellet gun would allow to have repetitive fire.     

Hopefully you have been prepping and laying back a good stock of things. Things like water, beans, rice, salt, and first aid supplies. One thing I would like to add to the list of things you might want to consider putting back, would be baby formula. Why? You say you don’t have an infant? Well even if you don’t have a little one to care for, the day may come in such a situation when the mother down the street knocks on your door, and how great would it be to help save a little ones life? There are many things you can do to supplement whatever food you may have. Most people know most of them, like grow your own vegetables. Seed collecting from the various items you’ve grown. How many people though, have thought about trapping and killing birds and mice in your own back yard? In a real survival scenario, you will do whatever it takes to survive, and if you are not prepared to do those things, then you will not survive.    

Learn how to make your own snares to trap rabbits, or maybe even something bigger. Learn how to make small traps baited with food, in order to lure birds in. Make good solid cages to house the birds you catch, and keep them alive until you are ready to harvest them. Snakes and squirrels are also very good forms of valuable protein. Protein your body must have in order to pull through, and keep on going. When you catch that bird, snake or squirrel, then what? Okay you kill it, but then how do you go about preparing it for consumption? That’s what I’m about to teach you.    

I’ve chosen the squirrel out of the animals I have mentioned for you to learn how to skin. However much of the information can and will also apply to other animals as well. For example, you always gut the animal, and take care with the body fluids. As the bodily fluids will ruin the meat and possibly make you sick.

How to field dress and quarter a squirrel:

First off, I recommend that all of your squirrels be head shot. That way the heart, kidneys, and liver can be harvested for consumption more easily.  If you gut shoot your squirrel you will have punctured the guts, and therefore contaminated more of the meat. It is also of importance to check the color of the liver. The liver should be very dark red almost a maroon color, with no discoloration. If the liver is spotted or pale in color, this is a very good indication the animal is sick, and therefore the meat questionable. This is also true of deer and most game animals.     

Tools needed: Skinning knife, or just a good sharp pocket knife.   

Step one: Lay the squirrel out on its belly, and with your fingers pinch up the skin in the middle of the animals back. Take your knife and make about a one inch cut. Try not to cut into the meat.    

Step two: Insert your fingers into the opening you just made with your knife, and pull the skin in opposite directions. Do this until the skin rips all the way around the width of the body. You may have to use your fingers from time to time, in order to help the skin come free of the meat. Now you should be left with the skin divided into two sections, the upper and the lower.    

Step three: From here on out the squirrel will be laying on its back. Pull the upper portion of the skin up over the shoulders, then pull the arms out of the skin. It’s just like pulling off a shirt. Pull the skin up to the neck, and cut off the head. Cut the hands off at the wrist, and take special note of the tufts of hair still located near the wrist. It’s been said that these tufts of hair are scent glands, and if left on can make the meat have a bad taste. Cut off the tufts of hair.    

Step four: Pull the lower portion of the skin down to the ankles. Pull the skin just past the ankle bone and carefully cut off the feet. Pull the skin the rest of the way off the tail.   

Step five: Take your knife and just above one of the back legs, (where the leg meets the body) split the pelvic bone and break it open. This will cause an opening just above where the tail is.    

Step six: Very carefully take your knife and slowly split the squirrel up the full length of its body. Take the incision all the way up the body and out the neck. Be very careful not to cut the guts, or the meat will either be completely ruined or taste bad. If you do and get some nastiness on the meat, quickly rinse the meat with water. If you are careful and take your time when cutting, you will avoid cutting open the guts.    

Step seven: Make an incision on the outside of the pelvic bone (where the back leg meets the body). This will open up the tail are a little more, allowing you to get to all of the tail. Cut the tail off.    

Step eight: Take your hands and reach inside the incision you made along the belly. Start in the chest cavity and pull out the larynx, lungs, heart, and on down to the diaphragm, pull guts and all out. It all comes out clean in one pull. You are now left with a nice clean piece of meat.    

Step nine: Carefully cut off the arms behind the shoulder blade. Take your knife and cut the back legs off as well. Cut them along the pelvic bone. All you have to do here is slice the meat all the way around the leg so it loosens up a little, then just twist the leg off.    

Step ten: Cut the squirrel into two halves. Make your cut right where the ribs end. The rib section wont have much meat on it, but if put into a stew, the meat that is there will fall right off the bone and tastes really good. Take the other section of the body along with all of the legs, fry or bake and season to taste.   

How to get rid of the “gamy” taste: If you don’t like a gamy taste to your meat you can place the meat in a container, add one tablespoon of salt, fill with water. Let this sit refrigerated over night to help reduce the gaminess of the meat. Seasoning the meat further while it cooks will remove even more of the gamy taste.