John Lewis Thomas'
Squirrel Cleaning Technique
The following is a method my father (John L. Thomas 1924-1986) taught me when I was very young, and that I still use today at age 51.

This method works easier if you have a friend to help, but I have learned to do it alone also.

Take a squirrel by his tail and have a friend hold his rear legs as you hold the tail (squirrel head toward the ground). With the tail in your grasp, take your knife and cut into the tail just above where the tail connects to the body above the booty hole on the underside of tail. Slowly cut through the tailbone, being careful not to cut the tail off the squirrel! You want to cut through to the skin on the other side of the bone, leaving the tail attached by this narrow band of skin holding it to the rest of the hide.

With your friend still holding the rear legs and you grasping the tail, skin the tail down the squirrel's back aproximately 1-2 inches skinning across and around the sides a little as you go.

Next, have your friend let go now and take the tail and put it under your foot on the ground and put all your weight on it. Grasp the rear legs tightly and pull upwards until the skin peels off up to the squirrel's neck (like pulling his shirt off).

Next, grab the front legs that are still in the skin and pull them out of the skin up to the feet. Next, let go of the rear legs as you grasp the edge of the hide left on the rear portion that looks like his pants on the belly side and pull it off like pulling his pants off. (You should still be standing on the tail at this point). Pull it down to his rear feet.

Next, cut the front and rear feet off and you're done with the skinning. If you practice this technique and master it, you can clean three squirrels to your buddy's one, consistently! I have proven it over and over many times and have won bucks on those who did not believe this method works.

This method will leave little or no hair on the squirrel meat. I have taught my two sons this method and they love it! Also, remember to remove all the squirrel's musk glands during cleaning and gutting to prevent a bitter taste. The glands appear as little small grayish balls found on the neck, under front leg arm pits, on belly and hips areas, directly behind rear leg knee joints under the flesh. You must cut in order to find the gland here. The other glands are easily seen after skinning.

Good Hunting and Eating!

Lewis E. Thomas
Tallahassee, Florida

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