The other day, I looked out my workroom window and saw a squirrel on a tree. I grabbed my now modified Barra 1866 (topic for another article), pumped it, and loaded it with a RWS Superdome. One of my windows has the screen removed for this very purpose, so I quietly slid that window open so I could take the shot.
I rested my shot on the windowsill as the squirrel waved his tail on the tree trunk, aware that something was amiss, but couldn’t quite put his finger on it. The pellet found its mark behind the eye, coming to a rest just under the fur on the opposite shoulder. The impact noise is quite impressive now that my 1866 is fitted with a LDC, akin to hitting a squirrel with a baseball bat. Needless to say, the shot spun him off the tree, and he was dead on the ground:
This was a pretty large male, usually only fit for slow cooking. Since I only had one, I decided to try an experiment. First, let’s look at the exit wound on this guy:
The above picture is just a reminder to treat all airguns like they were firearms. Also, just because you can’t afford the fancy guns you see featured by YouTube personalities doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and put some food on the table with what you have. Practice with what you’ve got, keep your shots within the range you are capable of, and enjoy the sport of airgun hunting.
After letting him soak overnight in a saltwater bath, I discarded the brine, rinsed off the carcass, and deboned it. After removing the meat, I cut it in small pieces, and further beat those pieces with a knife to tenderize. While I was doing that, I had a cast iron skillet warming up a little cooking oil. The meat was browned in this oil as I added some sage, garlic powder, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes. I then added some beef broth, let it come up to a light boil, and simmered it until most of the liquid was reduced:
Once the liquid was reduced, I added in some flour, constantly stirring, and coating the meat. With the flour now cooked, I turned up the heat and stirred in milk to form a nice gravy:
Once it began to bubble and thicken, I turned down the heat, kept stirring, and carefully added milk until it reached the creamy, thick consistency I was looking for. For an extra boost of flavor, I threw in a splash of liquid smoke. I thought about baking some biscuits, but opted in favor of making some toast. This one squirrel, turned into gravy, and poured over toast made enough to serve my wife, two kids, and myself. Here’s my plate:
The results were excellent. This cooking technique proved successful in turning an old tough squirrel into a tender, tasty dish.