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Thread: Spring Squirrel Trapping

  1. #1
    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Default Spring Squirrel Trapping

    Just wondering if any readers go out in the spring season and trap arctic ground squirrels for their pelts? Native people here in my area have a long history of spring squirrel trapping, pelts are used for making beautiful traditional squirrel parkas for women and young ladies. Squirrel meat is eaten too, most say it is pretty tasty fare. Squirrel trapping usually occurs after spring waterfowl season and egg gathering is over. It is usually a family activity, kids really enjoy camping out in the wilderness in the spring and trapping squirrels, lots to see and enjoy. Each day after the traps are checked and the squirrels are brought back to camp, moms and dads would skin the squirrels and air dry the meat and pelts. Some families would camp out for two weeks, some longer. In the old days families would stay in spring camp from the start of spring to the beginning of summer. Must have been a very good and healthy way to live.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    sounds pretty cool. Too bad it would take a lot of red squirrles to make a coat, maybe I can make mittens!
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Funny

    AKPM, they are not red.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Dave - He was referring to red squirrels, which are what we have here around Eagle River (where AKPM resides while not in school). Reds are quite a bit smaller than their tundra cousins.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default I thought he was confused

    The post is about Artic Ground squirrels. Many native women harvest them for coats and meat. The women in Elim would even hunt for them with .22's. They taste like chicken ;D

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    They taste like chicken ;D
    Yep, they do! On my only fly-in sheep hunt, we were unsuccessful. We found a nice band of rams, but simply could not get across the river necessary to get at them. Anyhow, the plane was a few days late coming to get us, and by day 7 we were rather tired of freeze-dried food. Pretty soon those chubby little suckers started to look awfully tasty. We shot a couple and cleaned them (which took almost as long as a big game animal due to the fat), marinated them overnight in Yoshidas, sprinkled with some seasoned salt, and threw the chunks in with noodles and rice. Man, that was some fine eating! I'd be happy to eat squirrel again, but I think I'll wait until my nephew or child is with me so that I can convince them to clean it.

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    A friend and I ate a couple of them years ago. They are unbelievably fat in the fall but will render down over coals real nice. Those are the only two I have ever killed. They do make pretty parka liners for the native style parkas though now don't they?

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Default Clean kills, clean pelt, good quality meat

    Spring squirrels are lean and easy to skin, almost no fat after their winter hibernation. When squirrel trappers are setting their trapline, they usually mark their path with a few small rockpiles spaced out within sight of each other along their trapline to help with location. Once a squirrel is trapped the best way to kill it and keep the hide from getting bloody is to hold the squirrel down with your foot or a small forked stick then grab a hold of the neck by placing your hand behind the head, hold on tight then with your other hand place your thumb and forefinger at the bottom of the ribcage push in and upward when you feel the heart beating pinch it at the top where it is connected then pull down, disconnects the heart and kills the squirrel instantly. No blood, clean pelt when skinning, good quality meat. When looking for dens, set traps only on dens that are ice free, sometimes the front of the den may look clear but further down it may still be blocked with ice. Just carry a stick and poke it down the hole to check.
    Sometimes when you're out squirrel trapping you see brown bear, they just love digging out ground squirrels in the springtime, so it is good to carry a rifle with you.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Dave - He was referring to red squirrels, which are what we have here around Eagle River (where AKPM resides while not in school). Reds are quite a bit smaller than their tundra cousins.
    Exactallty, and there are a ton of them down here in Juneau, just not enough for a coat I think
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member Nukalpiaq's Avatar
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    Skinsewers say that you need 50 squirrel pelts for a woman's parka and if you are making a parka for a man you would need 60 squirrel pelts. Red squirrels being smaller than their tundra cousins you may need a 1/3 more,

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