Squirrel Jerky

I love jerky, but it tends to be quite expensive. Squirrel provides an abundant source of lean meat, so I decided to try an experiment. The other morning, I killed five squirrels. After cleaning them, I broke them down into hind legs, front legs / shoulders, loins, rib cages, and belly meat. The belly meat is the perfect size and thickness to make jerky from, so I set it aside for this project.

After trimming any bits of fat and membrane from the belly meat, I prepared a marinade. The marinade is composed of liquid smoke, soy sauce, a small splash of apple cider vinegar, and a couple shakes of Louisiana hot sauce. A bit of black pepper and garlic powder was added for some additional spice and flavor. The meat was then marinated in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Plenty of flavor soaking up

After the meat had soaked for a couple hours, the stove was preheated to 250*F. I patted the meat dry and arranged them on a wire rack. They were then placed in the oven for a hour. The heat was then lowered to 175* for a couple more hours. Here’s the result:

Squirrel Jerky

I’m happy to say the jerky turned out great! As you can tell, I played it very safe with the temperatures, but it certainly didn’t affect the flavor and texture in any negative way. Squirrel doesn’t yield much belly meat, but groundhogs and raccoons do, so I’ll be doing the same thing with them! Read more about jerky safety guidelines.

1322 ACP Squirrel Hunt

I was testing out a LDC on Christmas morning and noticed that there were 7 to 8 squirrels chasing each other in the treetops about 30 yards beyond my targets. With my targets being 45 yards away, I figured I’d better work my way in closer for good clean kills. I sneaked within 30 yards of the squirrels and sat on the path waiting for an opportunity. It didn’t take long – a squirrel ran down a tree and perched on a large vine. I carefully squeezed off the shot, sending the RWS Superpoint into its ear.

You can silence an air rifle, but you can’t silence the impact. Those Superpoints hit really hard! The impact noise scared another squirrel up a tree and I slowly pumped 9 recharge pumps. The tree was 30 yards away and the squirrel was about 30 feet up the tree. Another precise shot to the brain sent this squirrel tumbling to the ground.

Two squirrels down within a minute

I sat for a minute more, then decided two squirrels was enough for now. As I was cleaning them, a couple more squirrels chased each other until they were within 25 yards of my deck, playing in the thick brush. After cleaning the two I had, I grabbed my 1322 once more to see if I could shoot one of these rascals.

Since they were in some thick brush, I crept in closer, getting to about 15 yards from them. They chased each other up into the top of a sapling, giving me a clear shot. I squeezed off a shot between the eyes of the closest one and began my recharge pumps in an attempt to nail them both. The shot one fell motionless to the ground and the other one ran down the sapling to see what had happened to his buddy. A quick sniff later, and he got wise to what was going on, taking off for the woods.

He never knew what hit him

This platform is quickly becoming my favorite squirrel hunting rig. It is rock solid and 9.5 FPE at the muzzle proves to be extremely effective with a mild holdover out to 30 yards. The muzzle report is virtually nonexistent with the 6.5″ LDC on the barrel. I need to work on silencing the pump itself, but I’m still able to get followup shots in spite of its noise. Here’s a couple of the pellets I recovered from these squirrels:

Recovered pellets compared to a fresh one

As you can tell from the above photo, even with only 5.5 FPE on impact, they are fully capable of delivering a fatal dose of lead to the target. Squirrels are tough animals, but extreme accuracy and a complete energy dump into the target are a lethal combo fully capable of humanely harvesting small game. I now have 3 squirrel hides tanning and we had the squirrels last night for dinner after an afternoon of fishing. Life is great!

Quick Pest Control Hunt

During firearm deer season, I realized that chipmunks were really making a comeback on my land. I don’t mind having them in the woods, but they really become a problem when they start moving toward the house and vehicles. I’ve received a lot of the parts I was needing for my 1322 ACP project, and decided it was time to take it in the woods for a test drive.

A beautiful late fall day in my woods
A beautiful late fall day in my woods

I began my excursion initially after a squirrel. He stayed about 30 yards away, right on the west property line. With 8.2 FPE at the muzzle and my 1322 zeroed at 20 yards with a duplex reticle scope, there just wasn’t enough margin for error to warrant taking the shot. That’s when I saw a quick scurry 20 yards away toward the east. The chipmunk stopped on a large log, facing me.

As you can tell from the above picture, there’s a lot of saplings mixed with fairly mature trees. These saplings make living shooting sticks, and this time was no exception. Steadying my shot with a sapling, I slowly squeezed off the shot. I pulled a little to the left and missed the intended brain shot. Instead, it smacked through the right cheek, deflected, and exited the ribs on its left side.

The chipmunk was blown off the log by the impact, kicked a time or two, and lay still. The 1322 drew its first blood:

The 1322 scores its first kill
The 1322 scores its first kill

A little further away, I spotted something on a fallen log that spans my weather creek. Through my range finder I could see a chipmunk from the shoulders down, this time 18 yards away. Steadying my shot once more with a sapling, I aimed right between the shoulder blades. This time, I didn’t pull the shot. The smack of the impact is shockingly loud when you hunt with a LDC! Unfortunately, he tumbled down into some rocks and I was unable to retrieve him. At any rate, I’ve taken two chipmunks out of the woods, hopefully helping to keep them from crowding into my yard, vehicles, and home.