How to Field Dress a Squirrel

Whether you’re out in the woods hunting for food or just trying to get back home, there are certain skills that every person should know how to use. Knowing how to field dress a squirrel is one of them! This article will teach you everything from finding and skinning it, through gutting and cooking up your new meal!.
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Field dressing a squirrel is not an easy task. You have to make sure that the animal is dead before you can do it, and it takes time. However, in some cases, you may need to field dress a squirrel as soon as possible. This article will teach you how long you should wait to field dress a squirrel. Read more in detail here: how long can you wait to field dress a squirrel.

Small gray squirrel on the ground.

Note from the editor: This is a guest article from Willow Haven Outdoor’s Creek Stewart.

**Disclaimer: This page involves a violent step-by-step portrayal of a genuine squirrel being skinned, sliced, and disemboweled. Please avoid this topic if you’re eating, have always had a strong affinity with forest critters, or swoon at the sight of severed squirrel gonads. **Seriously.

Food is easily accessible on practically every street corner for most people reading this post. It takes relatively little thinking, effort, or time to secure our next meal. Each of us has a hunter-gatherer mentality, and with it, the critical self-reliance abilities connected with hunting, gathering, and cooking our own food are fading. These abilities nourished our forefathers for millennia before us, but they are now practically extinct in our contemporary civilization.

In life, however, there are no guarantees. Our cup may not always be overflowing. If the time comes for you to awaken the hunter-gatherer spirit inside you, knowing a few fundamental skills will come in handy. Field dressing wild game is one of such talents. I’ll show you how to field dress a squirrel in this post.

Man hunting in woods with rifle wearing red plaid.

Squirrel is an excellent and versatile survival meal. There’s a decent possibility you’ll locate squirrel if you can find trees. They are simple to locate, seek for, and cook.

To begin, I’d want to point out that there are a variety of techniques to field dress a squirrel. This is the way that I have discovered to be the most efficient and clean. As you can see, the hide is not damaged if you decide to have it preserved or tanned for later use. You should be able to move from forest to frying pan in under 5 minutes with a little practice.

A sharp knife, as with any comparable endeavor, will make this procedure much more efficient.

How to Dress a Squirrel for the Field

A dead squirrel and a knife on a wooden log.

Turning the squirrel on its tummy and cutting through the underside of the tail about 12″ to 1″ from the base is the first step in this easy procedure.

A man cutting tail of a squirrel.

After you’ve cut through the tail, cut a couple of inches through the skin on either side, as seen in the figure below.

A flash of a squirrel after cutting of the tail.

Now we’ll get to the component that makes this procedure so straightforward. Place the squirrel on a firm surface. Step on the tail and skin that you opened up in the previous step while hanging onto the back legs and forcefully pull straight up on the back legs. The hide will begin to tear away from the body as a result of this process. You’ll need to work out your rear legs while pulling up. Working your fingers between the muscle and the hide around each leg is a good way to start. This will take some practice, so don’t be discouraged if it seems weird at first.

A man removing the skin of squirrel.

Continue to firmly and slowly pull the rear legs straight up after they’ve been liberated.


A man removing the skin of squirrel holding a flash with hand and one foot on a skin.

When the hide reaches the front legs, pull them out in the same manner as the rear legs. Work them out with your fingers, and a quick pull at the “wrist” location will separate the hide from the feet.

A man pulling the hide from front legs.

The separating hide from a squirrel.

Pull the rear legs till the hide is up to the head and around the neck once both front legs are out. You’ll see that my hands have been totally clean up until this moment.

A final result of a removal of hide from squirrel.

Then proceed to sever the head. By slicing into the flesh around the neck and then cracking the bone with my hands, I accomplish this. I don’t advocate using your knife to cut through bone. It dulls your knife and causes shards of bone to appear in your meat. Around the “ankles” and “wrists,” I employ the same procedure. If you like, you may also cut the feet off at this stage (I do that later).

The flash of a squirrel and a skin with knife in cover.

The entrails must now be removed. This is a relatively straightforward procedure. To open up the body cavity, squeeze the stomach and cut a tiny incision with your knife. Note: You’ll need to trim the penis and gonads of male squirrels like this one.

A man pinching the stomach.

A man inserting two fingers into the slit.

Insert two fingers inside the incision and move your knife (cutting edge up) between them toward the squirrel’s neck. This method allows for a little amount of clearance, ensuring that your knife does not accidently puncture any guts such as the intestines or bladder. Cutting open the guts or bladder might contaminate your meat, so proceed with caution. When sliding the knife between your fingertips, it’s quite simple. Continue this motion all the way through the neck, starting in the middle of the rib cage.

A man running a knife from slit towards the head.

A cutting of a flash running a knife towards head of a squirrel.

Then just separate the pelvic bone in the middle to open up the squirrel’s whole midsection. With your knife, you can easily do this.

A man splitting the pelvic bone in the center to open up the entire middle of the squirrel.

Finally, the entrails must be removed. The chest cavity is enclosed by a membrane. You may take everything out in one continuous motion by sweeping two fingers from the neck down and capturing this membrane.

A man removing the entrails.

A man pulled out the entrails with fingers.

But hold off on tossing anything away just yet. I always glance at the liver to make sure it’s in good shape. The hue of the liver should always be a deep, rich crimson. A speckled or off-color liver might indicate that the animal has a health condition, in which case I would avoid eating it. This squirrel’s liver seems to be in great condition, indicating that he or she is in good health.

A liver of the squirrel.

I then use my knife to slice around the “ankles” and “wrists” and snap off the feet as a pencil would be broken in two. The heart and liver are kept to cook with the remainder of the squirrel, but the remaining entrails are discarded. I now have a properly dressed squirrel that can be cooked in a number of ways for consumption. On this particular day, I opted to do a spit-roast over an open flame.


A squirrel and liver and a knife placed on wood log.

A man cooking the squirrel on a fire.

Man eating the cooked squirrel.

If this is your first time field dressing a squirrel, don’t be discouraged if you run into any difficulties. It takes some practice, like with other worthwhile life skills. For those of you who are curious, I shot this squirrel using a Ruger 10/22 rifle and a Marttiini Lynx Lumberjack knife.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN that matters.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN that matters.

Creek Stewart teaches at Willow Haven Outdoor School for Survival, Preparedness, and Bushcraft as a Senior Instructor. Creek’s life’s work is to educate, share, and preserve outdoor survival and living skills. Creek’s book Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit is also available. Visit Willowhaven Outdoor for additional information.



In “how to skin a squirrel rdr2,” the protagonist is taught how to field dress a squirrel. The article includes pictures and step-by-step instructions on how to prepare and clean the animal for consumption.

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