Small Game

How To Skin A Squirrel

Use a knife with a stout blade but sharp drop point for squirrel-skinning chores.

By Andrew McKean

If you haven’t hunted squirrel before check out this squirrel hunting article first.

Especially if you’re hunting in the heat of summer, you’re going to want to field dress and cool squirrels pretty quickly after you add them to your game bag. Here’s a quick way to get rid of heat-trapping hide and cool down the thighs and shoulders of a red or gray squirrel.

The bonus: you don’t have to field dress, or remove the guts, from inside the squirrel, so this is a relatively bloodless and clean way to produce pieces of meat that, after they’re washed, are ready for the frying pan or stew pot.

  1. Make incisions around both hind legs, then slit up the inside of each leg to the anus, there your slits should join.
  2. Stand on the squirrel’s tail and pull the skin upward from the leg incisions. If the squirrel is still cool, the skin should come off fairly easily; if it’s cold, you may have to encourage the skin by making short cuts as you pull.
  3. The skin should come off as an inverted tube. Keep pulling until the shoulders and upper legs are skinless.
  4. Then cut the shoulder bones at the first joint and the neck just below the head. You’ll now have a skinless carcass with the tail attached.
  5. Remove the tail by cutting it at the first joint behind the rump.
  6. Spread the thighs until the hip bones pop out of their joints. Then cut behind each thigh, detaching the hip ball from the socket, and cut through to remove both thighs.
  7. Cut from the neck back along each side of the backbone, and then down and around each shoulder to remove each front quarter.
  8. Put each skinless quarter inside a breathable bag (don’t use plastic, because it will trap bacteria-causing heat), and keep hunting, knowing that you’re gaining tasty, healthy meat with each “chicken-of-the-tree” you add to your bag.

About the Author
Andrew McKean is a longtime outdoor writer and the former editor-in-chief of Outdoor Life. He lives in northeast Montana with his family and yellow Lab. You can follow his adventures on Instagram @aemckean or on Facebook @andrew.mckean.77

Special thanks to for providing this insightful content.

You may also be interested in:

Why You Need To Be Hunting Squirrels Right Now

Check out these Delicious Squirrel Recipes

Campfire Dutch Oven Smothered Squirrel Recipe

Buffalo Wing-Style Crispy Fried Squirrel Recipe