Although most hunting seasons are over, many small game seasons remain open and afford hunters the ability to extend their hunting seasons. Small game hunting as a whole used to be much more popular than it is today. It’s small game that many hunters used to cut their teeth on as beginners and learn the basics of hunting and shooting. Michael says squirrel hunting is something that really has the ability to help recruit and retain new hunters. As a Squirrel Master Classic champ many times over, Michael is fond of squirrel hunting still today and he’s good at it. It all starts with fun, he says, being with family and friends, knocking down a few squirrels. You aren’t worried about age structure or what they look like when you’re squirrel hunting. You just want to get enough to get something for the table. Squirrel hunting is a gateway to big game hunting. You never stay at the beginning, Michael says, when learning a skill you always advance on to something more challenging. In this case small game serves as a great place for novice hunters to start and hone their skill set as they work their way up to hunting deer, elk or other big game animals. The fun, the ease of it, the ability to secure hunting permission more easily - all of these factors make small game hunting attractive to novice and seasoned hunters alike. Not every land owner is willing to let you hunt for turkey or deer, however, when your target is small game it’s often easier to get permission. When you add hunting dogs to the equation, Michael says it elevates the excitement even more and makes small game hunting that much more enjoyable for everyone. It takes a mess of squirrels to make a meal, Michael says, but it’s worth it. As a southern guy, Michael says he’s all about fried squirrel. After skinning them out, he leaves the bone in and either boils or steams the squirrels for a bit to help tenderize the meat. Then after that, Michael says he likes to dip them into a batter and fry them up. Squirrel can be really tough, he notes, so it’s worth the effort it takes to break them down and find a way to tenderize them.
While a lot about television personalities today is contrived, Michael says his southern country persona is the real deal - no acting needed. Growing up, he didn’t know anyone that didn’t hunt or at least didn’t accept hunting. It wasn’t until he started working in the outdoor industry and traveling that he began to explore what life was like outside of his rural roots. It’s those experiences that Michael credits for helping him become more business savvy and a little more sophisticated. Learning from each other is important, he says, and he has enjoyed the opportunity to show city people what the country life is all about, just as much as he has enjoyed experiencing the city life. It helps us understand that people aren’t that different, regardless of where you’re from. It’s important to have an open mind and explore each other's lives and cultures a little, he says. When talking about the misconception of rural loving Americans, Michael says, “I just think sometimes that the outdoor community is underserved as to what people don’t know about our lives and you realize that once you step over into it, even if you grew up in the city, how fun it is.”
Listen in as Michael Waddell talks small game hunting. He challenges people to get outside, taking kids hunting, and give them a memorable experience. Squirrel hunting just may be the thing that will trip the trigger to get them hooked on hunting and eventually take them to the next level, he says.
Be sure to catch “Michael Waddell’s Bone Collector” Sundays at 10:30 pm ET on Outdoor Channel. Go back and relive past hunts and adventures with the Bone Collector crew with MyOutdoorTV where there is an extensive archive of past seasons and episodes.
Get your squirrel hunt on,