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Thread: Alaska small critter question

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    Default Alaska small critter question

    Ok I have a stupid question. I currently live in Alabama and will be moving to the fairbanks area in a few weeks. Squirrel in Alabama doesn't have any real overpowering tastes it's like any other game meat. I read or heard somewhere that your squirrel have a very "pine" flavor? We nicknamed them tree rats here and they are by far my favorite game not only to eat but the challenge of hunting them is great. In our research I have been side tracked a bit by the "big" animals. To be honest over a lifetime of hunting I have put more meat in the freezer with a .22 hunting rabbit, and squirrel than deer and hogs combined. I have heard of folks eating porcupine, beaver and ground squirrel up there. Are those as common as hunting rabbit? I don't turn up my nose at much and I actually love rattlesnake heck even crows are pretty good if you cook em right. What have you found palatable and what would you suggest not shooting? I refuse to waste meat I take hunting, but with that said I know what is terrible around here and just don't kill it. Raccoon is a good example, ours here are way to strong tasting to eat. Any advise you have would be great. Thanks in advance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iammarkjones View Post
    Ok I have a stupid question. I currently live in Alabama and will be moving to the fairbanks area in a few weeks. Squirrel in Alabama doesn't have any real overpowering tastes it's like any other game meat. I read or heard somewhere that your squirrel have a very "pine" flavor? We nicknamed them tree rats here and they are by far my favorite game not only to eat but the challenge of hunting them is great. In our research I have been side tracked a bit by the "big" animals. To be honest over a lifetime of hunting I have put more meat in the freezer with a .22 hunting rabbit, and squirrel than deer and hogs combined. I have heard of folks eating porcupine, beaver and ground squirrel up there. Are those as common as hunting rabbit? I don't turn up my nose at much and I actually love rattlesnake heck even crows are pretty good if you cook em right. What have you found palatable and what would you suggest not shooting? I refuse to waste meat I take hunting, but with that said I know what is terrible around here and just don't kill it. Raccoon is a good example, ours here are way to strong tasting to eat. Any advise you have would be great. Thanks in advance.
    I as raised in your neck of the woods. I've been dying to try squirrel up here, but they are small. Very small (at least where I am). We don't have many rabbits in my area either. They are here but not very common to see.
    Spruce chicken is our favorite small game. As long as it isn't winter time. Beaver is great. So is muskrat. I've yet to eat porcupine.
    I wouldn't recommend eating raven. There is a cultural reason there.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Squirrel is AK is nothing like squirrel in the southeast US. Smaller, meaner and tougher with a strong flavor.

    Small game in the Interior can be superb- several variety of grouse and ptarmigan and hares are pretty palatable. If you're a little more adventurous then porcupine, marmot (kinda like groundhog), and beaver have their adherents. Believe it or not, lynx is absolutely fantastic.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    I might have wrote this somewhere else but gonna say it again here...

    My son is 22 now but when he was ten he was next door playing with his friend who'd just got a new pellet gun for his birthday. One of them, no one knows who, shot a squirrel. The kid's dad decided to teach them a lesson and made them clean, cook and eat it.
    As my son finished the last of the squirrel he picked up the gun and was starting out the back door when his friend's dad asked where he was going. My son said "that was good, I'm going to get another one."
    The first I heard about it was when the kid's dad called me upset that my son hadn't learned his lesson. After hearing the story I told him I thought he'd learned it quite well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Squirrel is AK is nothing like squirrel in the southeast US. Smaller, meaner and tougher with a strong flavor.

    Small game in the Interior can be superb- several variety of grouse and ptarmigan and hares are pretty palatable. If you're a little more adventurous then porcupine, marmot (kinda like groundhog), and beaver have their adherents. Believe it or not, lynx is absolutely fantastic.
    I've heard about lynx and even marmot. I was anlittle
    surprised about marmot. I've had cat. So I figured lynx would be alright.

    Beaver really surprised me. Wow.

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    I ate marmot once and it wasn't half bad.....some pretty beefy hams on those little suckers! But one thing I don't care much for is eating a stupid chicken (spruce grouse) in the winter after there is no gravel for them anymore. All they eat then is pine needles and taste just like one.......
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    I eat our red squirrels, they are really small but edible.

    Marmot was ok but I wouldn't make a habit of targeting them.

    Hares are great but way down in numbers her in south central.

    I've yet to try a ground squirrel, but I plan to next fall.


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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I've not tried our red squirrels (those that live in trees), but as others have mentioned, they are way smaller than the squirrels you'll find in much of the lower 48. Ground squirrels are pretty tasty, but they are a fair bit of work unless you're going to eat all of the fat as well. Chubby little suckers.

    Lynx, as mentioned before, is absolutely fantastic! They've got a white meat that is just a touch darker and richer than chicken. As for the birds, ruffed grouse are the best, but spruce grouse and ptarmigan are pretty good as well. Avoid spruce grouse in the winter, though, as they'll taste like spruce needles. I've heard sharptail grouse are the second best, but I've not yet tried one. Snowshoe hares are excellent eating.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    My first dinner of lynx:






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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    My first dinner of lynx:





    Show off! I tried that after seeing this previously and it was great!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    My first dinner of lynx:





    I know what I'm hunting this winter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon Cornelius View Post
    ...I wouldn't recommend eating raven. There is a cultural reason there.
    Yuck!...Only if you're starving, and that's all you can catch. Not legal to shoot otherwise.
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    If lynx are as hard to spot as our bobcats here they will be hard to come by. Our squirrel are tiny here as well they might be 1/4 of a pound each before you clean them. The biggest thing is being able to grab a 22 and head out knowing you will see at least a few a day. I am not picky about what dinner is as long as there is meat to be had. It's a great feeling knowing you can head into the woods and come back with at least something to eat. I have gotten pretty good at setting snares for rabbits here over the years and I look forward to honing my skills in alaska. I don't hunt for trophies I hunt for dinner. I have no illusions about "living solely off the land". However I get the impression if your not to picky you won't go hungry if your willing to work it.


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    And if you save enough red squirrel hides, you might be able to make a coat, a bedspread...or a throw rug...maybe a doily or two...
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Quote Originally Posted by iammarkjones View Post
    If lynx are as hard to spot as our bobcats here they will be hard to come by.
    They're hard to spot, but when they're on the high end of their population cycle they're not all that hard to call in.

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    As mentioned, lynx is fantastic as well as ruffed grouse. Ate my first squirrel this summer and it was better than I had envisioned. It did not have a "pine" flavor, but more of a "nutty" flavor. You will have no problem finding squirrels. I usually see 5+ squirrels every time I'm out in the woods.
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    I agree Lynx is fantastic. Used to trap them a bunch. Most the small game is pretty good. The squirrels are just so dang small. Moving up for a job or something?
    "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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