Thursday, August 30, 2007

N.H. Gray Squirrel Season Opens Sept. 1

New Hampshire's gray squirrel season opens this Saturday, Sept. 1, and will run through Dec. 31 (five daily limit; no season limit; no hunting in WMUs A, B or C1, nor in parks or cemetaries). The arrival of this season (offered early in NH to encourage so-called "youth hunting" opportunities before others commence) always brings to mind my native north-central Pennsylvania squirrel hunting.

It's a pleasant game of sitting ("stand hunting") near available food sources (oak or hickory stands), with your back to a broad-trunked tree (an oak maybe), and waiting there for your quarry to appear at the top of a tree where it hid on your approach (um, say in an oak or hickory) before making its way down to the ground, and hopefully in range. Also they simply bound by during their feeding forays.

As a result, you can also "still hunt" squirrels successfully by padding along game trails and listening and watching for nut-cutting activity, which by the way is fully underway on my three acres of southern Maine (hickories in this case).

Daybreak and before dusk activity is often steady. There are plenty of recipes available in game cookbooks, even early editions of The Joy of Cooking. And no, it doesn't taste like chicken. It is edible, especially in Brunswick stews or the like . . .

--Steve Hickoff

(Courtesy photo)