12/26/2015

Squirrels Wollop Kidos!

Stormy weather and uncooperative squirrels got the best of local kids during the Young Outdoorsmen United Squirrel Hunt & Dinner event held the day after Christmas. Even though hunting conditions were far less than perfect, the 10 youth ages 5-15 stalked thru the woods, learned to sit silent and motionless, in hopes of spying an unwary bushy-tail. Needless to say, not a single squirrel was spied. In spite of the blustery wet conditions, the young hunters successfully experienced first-hand how to identify specific species of trees such as white oak, red oak, hickory, and pecan, plus the fallen nut and acorns that all provide for good wildlife habitat. The girls and boys, many of them first time squirrel hunters, also were educated about the size /weight of grey and red squirrels, breeding season, gestations periods, and litter sizes. They also learned that hunters in Missouri harvest 1.5 million – 3 million squirrels annually When the weather finally forced the kids, parents, and volunteers to cease hunting, they all gathered inside the Pineville Christian Church for a dinner menu of squirrel stew, squirrel & noodles, brown beans & ham, plus cornbread. The piping hot meal was appreciated by everyone, but prompted 5 year old Jaxton Hooper, Jane MO to say “I don’t wanna eat squirrel.” He was asked if he would like a bowl of beans instead. “Nope”, he replied. But after several minutes had passed, he was observed carry a bowl of squirrel noodles back to the table. When reminded about his earlier comment, he quickly rejoiced with a great big smile, “I ate some and I like it, this is my second bowl full”. The hands-on hunting segment provided an educational lesson of the ourdoors for many of the kids, but it seems like the dinner at the event also offered some type of lesson too!