Squirrel is one of the largest small game hunting opportunities in the United States and a great source of more meat for the table.
Kevin Murphy is a small-game enthusiast who enjoys hunting and cooking squirrels. Follow along as we chase Kevin and his dogs over the hardwood ridges and through the valleys of the Kentucky hills in search of Eastern gray squirrels. He has been squirrel hunting in these hills for 52 years and seems to know tens of thousands of acres of National Recreation Area like the back of his hand. Roaming these hills and listening to his dog’s bark “treed” is what Kevin, a self-proclaimed “true Kentuckian,” lives for.
We learn more about a hunting endeavor that is so easy and yet so rewarding to partake in. Squirrel hunting is a natural renewable resource and the population is thriving in most states. Little did we know that there is in fact such a sustainable, organic, meat source roaming the tree-tops of our nearby National Forests! Squirrel meat recipes are nearly endless, and the meat has a unique flavor. In these hardwoods, squirrels are feeding mostly on acorns and hickory nuts, giving them a mild taste that can be prepared in many ways, satisfying even the newly-initiated wild-game eaters.
Whether you are a seasoned bird hunter or someone brand new to hunting, squirrel hunting has a low barrier of entry and is fun for all ages. It can also be another way to get that versatile hunting dog in the woods more and learn a new craft. Like Kevin says, “Just grab yourself an ol’ .22 or shotgun, find yourself some public land and head to the woods to find some squirrels.”
Project Upland is an editorial initiative to capture the cultures and traditions of upland bird hunting. We seek to inspire a future generation of upland bird hunters to understand the essence of hunting traditions and the critical cause for conservation.