I have never eaten squirrel meat before, but my friends say it is delicious. I was wondering if in 2022 you could still eat Squirrel from your backyard safely?

The “is it safe to eat wild squirrel” is a question that has been asked for years. The answer is yes, but you should be careful because some people have had bad experiences with squirrels and they might not want to eat them.

When you see a bunch of animals moving around your yard, it’s tempting to grab for your shotgun if you’re a hunter. You could even ask whether squirrels from your backyard can be eaten.

The answer is likely yes, depending on where you reside and the responses to a few additional questions. The following are some topics to think about:

  • Is it lawful to kill squirrels?
  • The manner in which a hunter or trapper hunts or traps
  • Other elements that affect the meat’s safety
  • Recipes that you can make

We’ll go through each one in detail, providing some insights and advice along the way.


Is it Legal to Hunt in Your Own Backyard?

If you hunt other game, you’re familiar with the legalities of obtaining a license or permission, and it’s possible that the same rules apply when deciding whether or not you may eat squirrels from your backyard. Some jurisdictions enable landowners to opt out of these obligations. However, we recommend confirming your rights with your state’s DNR or department of conservation.

If squirrels are a nuisance animal, you may be entitled to hunt them even if there is a hunting season. Many regions enable landowners to deal with these concerns for free or for a small cost to get a permit.

While you’re determining if you can hunt, see if you can also bait them. If you can get them closer to you with appealing delicacies like peanut butter, you’ll have a better chance of a successful bag.

Squirrels: Can You Shoot or Trap Them?

When you’re wondering whether you can eat squirrels from your backyard, you’ll probably discover distinct criteria for shooting vs trapping, as well as some extra regulations for seasons, limitations, and procedures. Because squirrels are plentiful, the rules are often relaxed.

Eastern gray squirrels may be black or white in certain locations. Because of their rarity, only a few municipalities safeguard these variants. You won’t be able to hunt them in such locations.

Is Eating a Squirrel Harmful?

The primary issues when deciding whether or not you may eat squirrel from your backyard are the illnesses that these rodents transmit, either directly or indirectly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tiny rodents are seldom infected with rabies.

However, due to the danger of catching Salmonella from squirrels, we will not provide them a get-out-of-jail free card. There’s also the issue of tick-borne infections like Lyme disease, which you should be aware of before deciding whether or not you may eat squirrel from your backyard.

Pesticides must also be included. Because of the danger to non-targeted animals and pets, most authorities do not suggest using them to manage squirrels. Even if you know better, it doesn’t mean your neighbor with a rat problem isn’t utilizing these things.

Wearing gloves when skinning and field dressing them, as well as completing these chores quickly, will reduce your hazards. When you’re finished, be sure to put the carcasses in the fridge as soon as possible.

How to Clean Squirrel Meat and Dress a Squirrel

We’ll provide a simple tutorial to field dressing squirrels and cleaning the meat in this part. Check out this step-by-step guide on squirrel skinning for more information.

1. Have a good skinning knife first and foremost.

Before you begin preparing your squirrel, make sure you have a tiny, sharpened skinning knife on hand that can easily slide through the hide and remove any undesired bits of the animal.

2. Begin cutting underneath the tail’s base.

With the squirrel belly-down on a strong, level surface, begin cutting from the base of the tail down the back towards the head. You’ll next shatter the squirrel’s tail bone and pull the tail to take the hide from its back.

3. Remove the Front Legs and Hide the Legs

You don’t need to cut off and remove the front and back leg bones; simply use your knife and gloved hands to remove the hide.

4. Remove the head, feet, and gut.

Remove the squirrel’s paws and head with game shears, then cut the squirrel’s chest open and remove the insides until the flesh is hollowed out.

5. Rinse the meat with water to remove any blood, fur, or residue.

Before you start preparing the meat for eating, make sure you wash it again.

What Can You Do With Squirrel Meat?

We don’t want to come off as cliched, but squirrel meat can be used in every dish that calls for chicken. It’s mostly black with a little fat. It has a moderate flavor that isn’t at all gamey.

172 calories and 4.7 grams of total fat are included in a 3.5-ounce portion of roasted squirrel flesh. Chicken thigh meat has 184 calories and 9.16 grams of total fat in a similar quantity. You may prepare the game in the same way you would chicken if you keep these nutritional profiles in mind.

The majority of hunters target Eastern gray or fox squirrels. They’re bigger than smaller squirrel species like red squirrels, weighing 1.5 to 3 pounds each. This places it in the same category as a cornish game hen, which is around the same size and weight.

As a general rule, the slower you cook the squirrel, the larger and older it is. Braising is a great technique to tenderize meat while also adding flavor.

In the kitchen, always use safe cooking techniques. Before you begin your preparation, wash your hands. Rather of utilizing one all-purpose cutting board, we recommend employing a meat-specific one.

Slow-Cooking Techniques

Cut the flesh from your backyard squirrels into 1-inch slices before eating them. You may alternatively coat them in a seasoned flour mixture and brown them on both sides in a neutral oil. Place the meat on a platter and set aside.

To add those lovely caramelized tastes, we prefer to sauté cut-up veggies like celery, carrots, and onion till brown. Return the meat to the saucepan and add enough vegetable or chicken broth to completely cover the ingredients. Cook for four to six hours on high, or until the meat is soft.

You can also braise the squirrel in milk and use the liquid to create a lovely sauce. The acids will tenderize the meat to the point that it will almost melt in your lips.


Instead of plain old chicken wings, this way is an old standby that makes a wonderful tailgate feast. Buttermilk may be used to produce a batter, which will also make it delicate. Season with salt and pepper and add flour and your choice of spaces.

A teaspoon of baking soda should also be added to the mix. As a result, the pieces will crisp up quicker and absorb less fat. To assist the batter stick to the meat, place the coated pieces in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

Preheat a heavy-bottomed skillet to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with neutral oil or shortening. To prevent overflowing the pan and reducing the temperature of the fat too much, fry a few pieces at a time. It should just take a few minutes on each side for them to become a beautiful golden brown color.

Drain on paper towels and serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.

Beer-battered squirrel tenders are another twist on this subject. Allow the cut-up meat to marinade in beer with a dash of orange juice overnight. Before deep-frying in oil, drain the pieces and roll them in a combination of panko bread crumbs, flour, and seasonings.

You may consume your cooked squirrel meat in a variety of ways. Here are a handful of our favorites:

  • Jerky made from squirrels
  • Squirrel sausage is a kind of sausage made from squirrels.
  • Squirrel kabobs with a savory marinade
  • Squirrel steaks cooked in the country

The options are limitless!

What to Eat With Squirrels That Have Been Prepared

Squirrels don’t have a lot of meat since they’re little. We don’t advocate making the squirrel the main course of your supper until you’ve shot and skinned a lot of squirrels. We’ll share some of our favorite side dishes to serve with your cooked squirrel meat in this portion of the post!

Biscuits and Gravy (No. 1)

This is, without a doubt, the best way to consume fried squirrel. The biscuits and gravy provide a satisfying accompaniment to your fried squirrel supper since the squirrel is so little. This is a fantastic woodsy morning dish, but it also works well as a supper, particularly when served with fried eggs and orange juice!

2. Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Treat your cooked squirrel like chicken fried chicken (or steak) and serve it with a hearty side of homemade mashed potatoes and green beans for a southern classic.

3. Add Squirrel Meat to the Stew

So, although squirrel meat in stew isn’t strictly a side dish, it’s a satisfying, healthy, and delicious choice to explore. For example, you may use squirrel instead of chicken in your family’s chicken and dumplings dish, add squirrel to a vegetable soup, use squirrel in gumbo, create a stew with corn, potatoes, and squirrel, or prepare a comforting squirrel chili for chilly winter evenings.

4. Carrots and Garlic Oven-Baked Potatoes

Nothing goes wrong with oven-baked potatoes and carrots, particularly garlicky oven-baked potatoes and carrots. You may bake the squirrel and vegetables together on a sheet pan supper, or prepare the squirrel and veggies separately and serve the potatoes and carrots as a hearty side dish.

If you’re looking for squirrel recipes, Practical Self Reliance has compiled a list of over 40 of the most delectable squirrel dishes we’ve ever seen! So be sure to have a look at them for further inspiration.

Advice on How to Increase Your Chances of Serving Meat

Ask any hunter for advice on how to catch squirrels, and you’ll hear hundreds of suggestions. The most important things to remember are to choose the appropriate environment and to identify them swiftly using your senses.

Squirrel footprints in the mud or snow are unique and simple to see. Four toes are found on the front feet, whereas five are found on the hind feet. The rear feet fall in front of the front feet jointly as they run over the earth. In comparison to squirrels, a rabbit’s track has one rear foot following the other in a broader stride.

When you see one, always shoot it on the ground once you’ve confirmed your target. Squirrels are naturally apprehensive of strangers. If you miss it, you’ll have alerted them, as well as any other creatures or birds in the vicinity, to your presence.

We recommend shooting for the head for a swift death shot with little flesh injury.

Follow appropriate hunting procedures and wear blazing orange to draw the attention of other hunters and non-hunters. Stick to areas where there are plenty of food supplies, such as near streams or woodlands with black walnut, hickory, or oak trees.

It may be beneficial to check your hunting area before loading up to locate the trees that are producing. Every alternate year, certain species will produce nuts or fruit.

Final Thoughts on Squirrel Eating

When it comes to game meals, this animal may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Their abundance and ease of preparation, on the other hand, make them a wonderful and delectable option for autumn dinners. With same preparation procedures, the nutritional content is equivalent to chicken dark meat.

Start with the legalities and work your way up from there if you’re wondering whether you can eat squirrel from your backyard. You’ll discover a variety of methods to prepare the meat while enjoying the delight of eating food grown on your property for the utmost in locavore living.

The “how to prepare a squirrel to eat” is the question that I was asked. The answer is yes, you can eat squirrel from your backyard safely in 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions

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