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Outdoor Term of the Week: Barking Squirrels

Ready to learn about an outdoor term you don’t know? How about that time when you heard those old hunters talk about barking squirrels and had no idea what they were talking about?

Yes, this week’s outdoor term is an exciting one. We are going to learn about barking squirrels.

Barking squirrels is probably not what you think it is. Barking, in this application, refers to actual tree bark, not the noise a squirrel makes. Don’t you love english?

The term “barking squirrels” comes from a time when woodsmen had to survive on the meat they harvested from the woods. Therefore, they needed to take certain precautions to get all the meat they could out of a kill. Instead of shooting a squirrel, and ruining a bunch of meat in the process, the woodsman would aim at the bark just below or above the squirrel.

The shot would paralyze the squirrel, making it drop from the tree, and killing it without the bullet or shot sullying the meat. The squirrel meat is then completely whole for full consumption.

The caliber to use to bark squirrels is debated across many hunting forums. Many say a .22 works but others say it should be bigger in order to actually kill the squirrel rather than knocking it out, which apparently happens a lot. Many hunters have stories of attempting to bark a squirrel and succeeding, only to have the squirrel “come to life” again after being on the ground for five minutes.

So whether barking squirrels is a myth or a real way traditional woodsmen preserved the whole squirrel, now you know what those old hunters are talking about when they talk about barking a squirrel.




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Outdoor Term of the Week: Barking Squirrels