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Author Topic: NUTS FOR SQUIRRELS - Jim Larsen  (Read 2339 times)

Offline Terry_Green

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« on: February 26, 2004, 04:39:00 PM »
by Jim Larsen

   Here in Michigan, small game season opens on September 15th.  Why?  I have no idea except must be someone with some pull with the DNR must have wanted it that way.

   I’m not complaining though.  It gives me something to do when I’m scouting for deer.  I know, you’re thinking why start scouting for deer two weeks before opening day of bow season.  I didn’t say I just started scouting; it’s a year round thing for me.

   When I was a youngster my father used to allow me to miss school on the opening day of small game season.  Dad loved to squirrel hunt and I tagged along and learned the art of patience.

   Back then season began some time in October.  The leaves had turned color and many trees had already lost most of their leaves.  I marveled at the beauty of the woods this time of year and learned the names of some of the trees as well as the fruit that they bear.

   Dad would carry his trusty single shot .410 in pursuit of the furry rodents.  I learned to shoot guns and bow at a very early age and I learned the importance of safety when handling such weapons.  I would take turns with dad until we had taken our limit.

   The times spent in the woods with my dad began a love affair of the outdoors that I will take to my grave.

   Sitting quietly on a tree stump, we patiently wait
for the squirrels to return to their nest building and nut gathering after our entrance into the woods had spooked them.

   Whispered talks of school or life in general solved many problems and probably prevented many more as the close bond between father and child strengthened.

   Many autumns have passed since my first trip to the woods and I had never considered using a bow and arrow for squirrels until fate played a part.

   I was 18 years old and was working full time for a landscaping company.  Working six days a week from dawn to dusk had hampered my plans for some pre-season white tail scouting.

   October 1st, opening day of archery season fell on a Sunday that year.  I knew most of the wood lots in y neighborhood like the back of my hand.  With no stands in place or ground blinds built I decided to take my longbow with me shortly after daybreak to do some scouting.

   I slipped along a fencerow dividing a large cornfield from a hardwood.  I was walking on the cornfield side of the fence observing the many deer tracks, rubbed saplings, and the occasional halfhearted attempt at a scrape made by a buck.

   I heard something running through the woods nearby so I ducked my head under the large leaf covered branch that blocked my view into the woods.

   As I peered into the woods I saw a large, fat squirrel scamper up the side of big white oak and stop about 5 feet off the ground.

   Instinctively I reached into my leather back quiver and withdrew a Zwickey tipped cedar shaft.  I nocked the arrow on the string of my 58 lb. 68” LaClair Special Hunter longbow and once again leaned under the large branch.

   The squirrel was on the side of the tree perfectly broadside to me.  With my longbow canted almost completely horizontal I slowly began my draw.
   The arrow covered the 10 yards so quickly that I was unsure of a hit.  The squirrel flinched a little and scampered up to the safety of the leaves high above.

   My arrow sailed through the woods out of sight.  “Great” I said to myself, “There goes my arrow!”  I climbed the fence and walked up to the big oak and peered further into the woods to see if I could spot my arrow.

   Suddenly I heard the rustling of leaves bout 25 feet above my head.  As I looked up I was forced to jump out of the way of a falling squirrel!

   The fox squirrel hit the ground at my feet with a resounding “WHUMP!”  My eyes widened as the gears began turning in my mind.  A broad grin came across my face as I concluded that   he didn’t commit squirrelicide, I had actually taken him with my bow!

   My worries of the lost arrow disappeared as I picked the squirrel up for further observation.  The two blade Zwickey broad head had cut a large slice right behind the squirrel’s front legs.  Since it did not center punch him and knock him off the tree, he was able to scamper to safety until he bled out.

   I was thrilled at the thought of sharing the adventure of my first bow-killed squirrel with my father when I got home.

   I now had another reason to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy a walk in the woods with longbow in hand and squirrels on the menu.
   I have included a recipe for squirrels that my wife and I enjoy.

   I remove the meat from the legs and along the back.  Then trim any fat and silver skin from the meat.  Dice the meat into small 1-inch chunks.  Dice up ¼ onion and fry onions and squirrel chunks on high.  Fry just long enough to brown all of the meat.  Use butter or olive oil.  Pour meat and onions into crock-pot add cream of mushroom soup, Worcestershire sause, and garlic salt.
Slow cook on low for 3 hours, pour over noodles or rice and serve!

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