Stripping a Squirrel

An easier way to clean a bushytail.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Pound for pound (okay, ounce for ounce), squirrels are among the most difficult game animals to clean. Their skin is tougher than duct tape, and squirrel hair sticks to squirrel flesh with the tenacity of five-minute epoxy. Fortunately, you can create a simple device that makes stripping them a cinch. Here's how. -T. Edward Nickens

MAKING THE STRIPPER:
[BRACKET "1"] Draw two lines across a 5x33/4-inch piece of 1/16-inch aluminum plate, sectioning it into thirds.

[BRACKET "2"] Cut three slots from the long edge of an outer third (see above for slot sizes). Smooth the edges with sandpaper.

[BRACKET "3"] Drill two holes through the middle of the other outer third. Then bend the two outer thirds up at a 90-degree angle, forming a U-shaped channel.

[BRACKET "4"] Using the holes that you drilled, nail the squirrel skinner firmly to a tree or post at shoulder height.

SKINNING THE SQUIRREL:
[BRACKET "1"] Hook the squirrel's rear legs in the two narrow slots, its back facing you.

[BRACKET "2"] Bend the tail over the back and make a cut between the anus and the base of the tail, through the skin and tailbone. Extend this cut about an inch down the squirrel's back, filleting a ¿¿-inch-wide strip of skin away from the muscle, but leaving it attached at the bottom.

[BRACKET "3"] Make two cuts, each starting at the opposite sides of the base of this strip and extending laterally halfway around the squirrel, stopping just in front of the hind legs.

[BRACKET "4"] Now grasp the tail and loosened hide and pull firmly down. Except for the skin covering the back legs and part of the belly, the hide should shuck off inside out.

[BRACKET "5"] Flip the squirrel around, and slide its neck and two front paws into the slots. Grasp the edges of the remaining hide and strip the "pants" off the squirrel.