MAKENZIE’S OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Squirrel Hunting
BLAINE COUNTY, Okla. (TNN) -Oklahoma has one of the longest squirrel seasons in the country lasting from May to January.
It’s the state’s longest hunting season in general.
And while it’s more of an outdoor pastime these days, 7 News Anchor Makenzie Burk found one of the few squirrel hunters left in northwestern Oklahoma.
She has more in her latest Outdoor Adventure.
Squirrel hunting is more common in eastern Oklahoma because of the timber, but Chris Ross and his dog Jet are doing what they can to keep this dying art alive.
“Been doing it for six years with the dog but pretty much all my life,” said Ross.
His dog Jet, is a trained squirrel hunting treeing feist.
“They are the smaller dogs, only weigh about 20 pounds,” said Ross. “And they do their job you know. They just track squirrels down and then they’ll tree em. They use all their senses...sight, they hear em, they smell em, so they’re good at tracking.”
Ross says he trains them when they’re puppies using squirrel tails.
“They get familiar with scent,” said Ross. “After that it’s just taking him to the woods and really walking. I mean just a lot of time time and effort put into it”
Once Jet would tree a squirrel, the hard part starts of trying to find them. With squirrel hunting, you spend a lot of time looking up.
Ross loves it, because it’s something the whole family can do. And it’s a great opportunity to teach kids about gun safety.
“Take the kids out and they can be loud they don’t have to be quiet you know,” said Ross. “And they can chase after their dog or someone else’s dog you know, and they really enjoy and they can shoot the .22 or .410 and not have a problem.”
Although the limit per person is 25, Ross says 10 to 12 is plenty for him and his family to eat.
“Oh yeah they’re really tasty everyone tries to say everything tastes like chicken. I mean it tastes like a squirrel,” said Ross. “It’s similar to chicken, you can do the same recipes or anything like that. So there’s a jerk chicken recipes, Buffalo wing recipes, I mean there’s a lot of things. Or you can cook them down and make them into jambalaya, gumbo, anything like that. I mean like I said I’ve been eating it my whole life, so it’s a good meat.”
For those wanting to get into squirrel hunting, there are several groups on Facebook for Oklahoma squirrel hunters. Even though so few people do it anymore, he says there’s still plenty of people who would be willing to take someone new with them.
“I promise, they’ll take you out,” said Ross. “They just want people to enjoy their dogs. They do a lot of training and put in a lot of time with them you know. We spend a lot of time with our dogs so I means a lot to us when they go out and can keep people happy.”
He hopes more people will pick up the hobby, because it’s a tradition he says is worth passing on.
“Enjoy the outdoors,” said Ross. “I mean I truly enjoy it. I’m glad that my dad took me out to do these types of things, and I can pass it on to my kids, and my kids they enjoy it as well.”
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