Squirrels Wallop Kiddos
A rainy Saturday gave squirrels the upper hand when Young Outdoorsmen United took a passel of youngsters squirrel hunting. The kids enjoyed time outside and the meal that followed.
Stormy weather and uncooperative squirrels got the best of local kids during the Young Outdoorsmen United Squirrel Hunt and Dinner event held the day after Christmas. Even though hunting conditions were far less than perfect, the 10 youth ages 5 to 15 stalked the woods and learned to sit silently and motionlessly in hopes of spying an unwary bushytail. Needless to say, not a single squirrel was spied.
In spite of the blustery, wet conditions, the young hunters successfully experienced firsthand how to identify specific species of trees such as white oak, red oak, hickory, and pecan, plus fallen nuts and acorns that all provide good wildlife food. The girls and boys, many of them first-time squirrel hunters, also were educated about the size and weight of grey and red squirrels, breeding season, gestations periods, and litter sizes. They learned that hunters in Missouri harvest 1.5 million to 3 million squirrels annually.
When the weather finally forced the kids, parents and volunteers to cease hunting, they all gathered inside the Pineville Christian Church for a dinner menu of squirrel stew, squirrel and noodles, brown beans and ham, and cornbread. The piping hot meal was appreciated by everyone — but prompted 5-yearold Jaxton Hooper of Jane to say “I don’t wanna eat squirrel.”
He was asked if he would like a bowl of beans instead. “Nope,” he replied. But after several minutes had passed, he was observed carrying a bowl of squirrel noodles back to the table. When reminded about his earlier comment, he quickly rejoiced with a great big smile, “I ate some and I like it; this is my second bowl full.”
The hands-on hunting segment provided an educational lesson of the outdoors for many of the kids, but it seems like the dinner at the event also offered some type of lesson, too.
Dedicated Squirrel Hunters: front row from left, Jaxton Hooper, Hayden Hooper, Jette Akins, Jeremiah Lowe; and back row from left, Cody Richardson, Ian Campbell, Zack Stewart, Andrew Moritz, Luke Guss, Cheyenne Knott.