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Author Topic: Cleaning A Squirrel / Skinning A Squirrel  (Read 88451 times)

Offline Gutpiles

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Cleaning A Squirrel / Skinning A Squirrel
« on: May 14, 2005, 01:03:10 PM »


All information and pictures contained in this section are the property of Big58cal and may not be reproduced in whole or in part, without written permission from the man himself.

Great Work BC!!!!

CLEANING A SQUIRREL

Start with your squirrels and a good sharp knife or two, as well as a bucket, jug, or pan with water to put the cleaned squirrels in.  You may also want to have a good set of crock sticks to hit your knife on between squirrels to keep it sharp, and you may also want to have a set of pliers.  Some big old fox squirrels have got some pretty tough bones in their legs.  The pliers make it a lot easier to break those bones.

Put your squirrels in a bucket of water to wet them down and let them soak a little.  The reason for this is that you’ll get fewer hairs on the meat while cleaning.  The wet hair doesn’t stick to the meat as easily as dry hair does.




Pull a squirrel out of your bucket and hold it by the tail, with the belly away from you.  Make a cut up close to the base of the tail.  Cut through the tail bones and skin the skin away from the flanks a little.




Put the squirrel’s tail down on a hard surface and step on it.  Grab both back legs with a hand and give a good steady pull up.  This will strip the skin off from better than half-way on forwards.



Pull until the skin gets up to around the front legs / shoulders.




Work your fingers up around each front leg (the front) to separate the skin from the meat.  Work your finger/thumb through the area until it goes all the way through to the other side.  Pull the skin out to the foot on each leg and pull the skin up to around the head.



Take your hands and break the bones in the front legs (like breaking a stick).  If the bones are too tough (as is sometimes the case on fox squirrels), use the pliers to break the bones.  Once the bones are broke, use your knife and cut the front feet loose from the legs.  Now all that’s left is the head (on the front half at least).  Even though I ate my fair share of squirrel heads when I was younger, you’re not supposed to do it now days because of the threat of Mad Cow Disease.  Cut around the neck with your knife and give a good twist.  The head and skin attached will break loose.



Now to start to work on the back half.  Grab the little section of skin that’s left on the belly and start working it back.  Usually, you can jerk the rest of the skin off by holding the squirrel behind the front legs and giving a pull on the skin.  Pull it off to the feet again as done on the front.



Grab the legs and break them, as before with the front.  If you’re going to use the pliers, this is probably where you’ll need them.  Break the bones in both legs and then cut the rest of the way off with your knife.




To start gutting the critter, turn the squirrel over with the belly toward you, with the back legs up.  Start at the end of the rib cage at the breast bone.  Put just the tip of your knife in to avoid cutting any of the “innards” and making a mess.  Cut toward the pelvic bone, a little at a time, avoiding the intestines and such.



Once you get down to the pelvic bone, put the tip of your knife in under the pelvic bone and pull up to split the bone.  Once you get the belly and pelvic bone split, don’t bother with pulling the guts out.  This is the easy way of cleaning a squirrel.  You won’t need to gut the critter completely.  Spread the back legs backwards toward the back like a butterfly to open up the belly area.  Reach in and pull the intestines, any blood vessels and such loose from the back end of the squirrel.  Pull the stuff loose up to about the diaphragm.




Now, flip the squirrel over and grab a front leg.  Twist the leg a little so that you can see where the leg is attached to the torso.  Cut the leg loose completely while like this.  You’ll be able to see really easily where to cut.  Do this with both front legs.



Once the front legs are cut off, plop them into your bucket, pan, jug, whatever you’ve got to put the meat into.  Next, go to the back of the rib cage and make a cut right behind the last rib, all the way up to the backbone.  Do this on both sides.



Once you’ve got that done, grab and twist to separate the rib cage and guts from the rest of the carcass.  Pitch the ribs and guts in your gut bucket.



Now, make a cut on either side of the back legs, above the hip bones (you’ll see the hip bones sticking out a little).  Cut all the way around, and then twist to separate the saddle piece (back) from the legs.  Pitch the saddle piece with the front legs.  Next, cut up on either side of the tail to separate the back legs from the back bone.  Pitch the backbone piece in the gut bucket.  Once you’re done, you’ll have 5 pieces of meat, the 2 back legs, the 2 front legs, and the saddle piece.





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« Last Edit: September 05, 2010, 07:49:45 PM by Gutpiles »
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Offline John Andrews

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Re: Cleaning a squirrel
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2005, 10:18:36 AM »
Absolutely perfect! Those pictures are really great, too. Now, y'all know the right way to dress a squirrel. About GP's quite correct mention of knives, it does take a sharp knife to do the job. Hey, that looks like Big58cal doing that cleaning job. Nice job! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:I really like this section of the forum, a most excellent addition. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Offline Big58cal

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Re: Cleaning a squirrel
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2005, 07:59:21 PM »
Some people keep the rib cage, heart, liver, etc from squirrels.  I have before, but I don't anymore.  I'm not starving, and I don't much like that stuff anyway. :wink:  Some people will split the rib cage up all the way.  If you're not going to eat the rib cage, all you're doing is dulling your knife.

Sorry for the "subsitute" model in the pictures.  I didn't have one of John's knives when I took the pictures, so I had to make due with a Marbles. ^-^

If anyone is unclear about anything, please let me know and I'll see if I can help you.  There's other ways of cleaning a squirrel, but this is the easiest way that I've found.
The only purpose of bread is to hold meat!

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In all seriousness, the Marlin is a great rifle, too. I own a Model 60, one of the best rifles ever made.
Brownings are nice, but in terms of quality AND accuarcy AND ruggedness, it's hard to beat the Marlin.
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Offline John Andrews

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Re: Cleaning / Skinning a squirrel
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2006, 06:41:07 PM »
I notice also that the demo squirrel BC has shot and is cleaning is head shot, as usual .  O0  :twisted:  :)
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Offline Gutpiles

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Re: Cleaning A Squirrel / Skinning A Squirrel
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2011, 09:39:13 PM »
Back up for the new folks!  O0
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Offline Gutpiles

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Re: Cleaning A Squirrel / Skinning A Squirrel
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2012, 06:03:06 PM »
Rolling this one to the top for new potential squirrel skinners out there!
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Offline John Andrews

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Re: Cleaning A Squirrel / Skinning A Squirrel
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2012, 07:56:22 AM »
Many folks don't squirrel hunt because they don't know how to clean a squirrel or have great difficulity doing so.
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