Can a hit book and movie get young adults interested in squirrel hunting? I hope so, and right now, I’m playing “The Hunger Games” for all it’s worth.
by Leon Pantenburg
A popular movie and book are exposing the idea of small game hunting to viewers’ attention.
“The Hunger Games” was originally published in September, 2008. The movie came out several months ago.
The story is narrated by 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem, where the countries of North America once existed.
According to the book description: Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, (which is located in the coal mining areas of Appalachia.)
Long ago, the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games.” The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change, but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Katniss’s younger sister is chosen by lottery, Katniss steps up to go in her place.
But Katniss’ survival skills give her an edge: She is a subsistence hunter with several years experience as a poacher on Capitol lands, using snares and archery gear. Squirrels are one of her mainstays, and she is known for shooting them in the eye. Squirrel hunting is the best training for stalking and still hunting big game, IMHO, and Katniss is able to adapt her small game hunting skills to much larger game.
“The Hunger Games” is an adventure tale, and I hope some young people will be motivated to explore hunting as a result of this movie / book. Starting out squirrel hunting is a great choice.
But once a squirrel is harvested, it needs to be cooked so it is tasty. Here is one of my go-to recipes – it is easy and tastes really, really good!
Squirrel Stir Fry
1/2 pound wild game meat (from any small game animal,) cut into short thin strips: (I like to marinade most game meat for several hours in a mixture of 1 C milk, 1 egg, garlic powder and salt and pepper. This mixture will soak out the blood and “gamey” flavor in many cuts.)
1 Tbl oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 to 6 snow peas
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 C water
1 small tomato, peeled and cut into chunks.
1 C cooked rice
In large skillet or Dutch oven, heat meat in oil over a high heat, stirring constantly, until the meat is browned. Push meat to one side. Add chopped onions, green pepper, and snow peas, and stir for abut two minutes. Add salt, pepper, soy sauce and water, stirring to blend all ingredients. Cover and simmer three minutes. Stir in tomato. Cook one more minute, or until the tomato is hot all the way through. Spoon over hot rice and serve at once.