Hunting The Kentucky Hills


I spent another evening in the hills yesterday. Enjoying this week of cool weather and doing some more small game hunting.

On a cool windless evening with no humidity it was easy to nearly run to the top where the bigger red squirrels are. Once I got up there I was surprised to find hundreds of new Pawpaw trees. I spent just as much time gorging on ripe pawpaws as I did looking for game.

taste like a banana/pear/mango/apple flavored custard. brown color is from the seeds

I didn’t see any squirrel until I got to the top, in the big hickory trees. These catch the most sun all day and so their nuts ripen earlier . The first one I shot from a distance I had no right to try with a 16 gauge shotgun. But I know it and I know what I can do with it.

The problem was there were two more in another tree about 30 yards to it’s right. Not close enough for me to shoot one then quickly get the other. .The other two were not young , so they wised up as soon as I shot and took off without stopping. A young squirrel would have been nosey and stopped to see what the racket was. The cat wasn’t the only thing to be killed due to its curiosity.

I moved on around the ridge to another large hickory and listened. You know you hit jackpot when it sounds like a local rainstorm is going on from a hickory tree as shaving from nuts fall through the leaves. The squirrel chews through the outer hull to get through to the nut. You can hear their teeth grinding if your hearing is good. If not you can hear the rain like sound of shavings. If you wait. you will eventually see them run out on the end of a limb to get another nut, shaking the limb and all the leaves in a motion that wind can’t replicate. When it stops to grab that nut, you give it a face full of shot. Or if you have a rimfire, watch it run back to its perch to eat, then shoot it when it stops.

dinner for two plus dessert

The good thing about two or more in a tree is if you make noise by accident, or even fire a shot, more times than not the other squirrels assume it was one of it’s buddies making the noise and won’t spook. Yes, a squirrel will think another squirrel made the sound of a shotgun blast. They will maybe stop a second then go on like nothing of importance happened. Just be still and quiet a few seconds and wait for your next shot. If they don’t react this way it’s because one of them saw you move. Even then a young one will come running out in the open to bark at you to figure out what you are. Or maybe it’s just cussing at you in squirrel. Either way, shoot it.

I spent the rest of the evening waiting to see if more came to the tree but no luck.

On the way out I did some opportunistic foraging and picked some of my home grown stuff that was ripe.

pawpaws, pears, banana peppers, tomatoes

It was a pretty good way to spend 4 hours in the evening.


    • haha no sad to say I don’t have many to offer. My grandmother could make “squirrels and gravy” but she took that to the grave with her. The older WW2 generation women around here all knew how to make it but didnt seem to pass it on. I always just put a half stick of butter in them, salt pepper onions carrots potatoes and honey all in tinfoil and baked it. Thats about all I ever did. Or you can grill them like chicken on the grill. I dont have much advice on how to cook them with any creativity Im afraid

      • We do have squirrels in the mountains around here, and a season from October to December. Isn’t love to bag some and cook ‘em up. Or, let’s be real, I’d dress them and the wife would cook them up.

        Was your grandmother’s squirrels and gravy like a biscuits and gravy but with squirrel?


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