moody burgoo

I’ve had some interesting experiences procuring, cooking, and eating squirrels. I’d like to tell you about them sometime, but for now let me relate just one. Last October I went squirrel hunting in southern Indiana with a guy named Forrest Turner. A horse trainer, agricultural student, rabid country music fan, and a more-than-able woodsman, he’s also the nephew of maple syrup baron Tim Burton, who introduced us.

Turner and I spent a morning out in the woods behind Burton’s Maplewood Farm stalking tree rats. He grew up hunting squirrels, turkey, and deer in those woods. He’d already shot about 15 to 20 squirrels since the season started. We stepped as lightly as possible, staring up at the canopy slowly coming to light, looking for motion in the branches, and watching for acorn and hickory shells as they dropped from the sky. Early in the day we stood under a tall oak, and with a small shotgun I took my first and only shot at a squirrel directly above. I missed. Over the course of the morning we stalked close to fifteen gray and fox squirrels, and while Turner got a few shots off, we had no luck. Near midmorning, we were about to call it a day when we heard the telltale sound of a squirrel “cutting” on a nut (it sounds like the edges of two quarters rubbing together).