How to Skin Squirrels: Step by Step Picture Guide

Squirrel: Copyright Denver Bryan/ Images On The Wildside 2016...

All furred game – big or small – should be opened up to begin cooling as soon as possible after it’s taken. In the case of hunting small game, like squirrels, it makes sense to skin and gut the animal completely right away. Especially with squirrels, the sooner you get to them, the easier they are to clean.

Gear for Field Dressing and Skinning Small Game Animals:

folding knife gerber
Gerber Folding Blade Knife

Tools you'll need to process squirrel with links to purchase in case you need to restock your field dressing kit.

game shears
Game Shear Multi-Tool

1 medium sized folding blade knife
1 pair of game shears
1 solid work surface in the field for example a tree stump or rock
6 pair latex field dressing gloves
1 ice cooler with ice Gallon-sized Ziploc bags


field dressing gloves
Field Dressing Gloves


Print the Field Dress Squirrels Step by Step Guide



STEP 1: Prep for Field Dressing the Squirrel

squirrel prep step1

Begin by laying the squirrel on the work surface, belly down. Lift the tail with your non-cutting hand and with a sharp knife, make horizontal cut through the skin that extends on to the rump on both sides.

Tip: 5 Easy Squirrel Recipes

STEP 2: Break Tailbone

squirrel tailbone step2

Pick up the squirrel in both hands and break the tailbone, but be careful to not tear or cut the skin above the tail.

Tip: How to Still Hunt Squirrel as Deer Season Winds Down

STEP 3: Begin Skinning

squirrel skinning step3

Using the knife, begin to skin up the squirrel’s back creating a flap of skin about two inches wide still connected to the tail.

STEP 4: Loosen Hide

squirrel hide step4

Make a small cut under the skin down the top of each back leg to begin to loosen that hide as well.

STEP 5: Continue Skinning

squirrel continue skinning step5

Continue to skin that flap up the back to about two and a half or three inches from the first vertical cut. Pinch and lift up the skin at the point you located on the breastbone.

STEP 6: Use Your Muscle

squirrel muscle step6

Now comes the part that takes a little bit of muscle. Lay the squirrel on the ground on its back, and put the heel of your boot on that flap of skin below the tail. The base of the tailbone will catch on the inside of your heel.

STEP 7: Pull Skin Off Front Legs

squirrel pull skin step7

Get a firm grasp on those hind legs and pull slowly straight up! Keep pulling until the skin comes off around the front legs and right off the head.

STEP 8: Pull Skin Off Hind Legs

squirrel pull skin hind step8

Grab the squirrel around the body behind the front legs with your weak hand, and with your strong hand grasp the skin beneath each rear leg and pull it toward you and off the hind legs.

STEP 9: Cut Off Head & Remove Feet

squirrel cut off head remove feet

Next cut off the head if it is still attached, and then you can quickly remove the feet if you have a game shears with you.

STEP 10: Gut Squirrel

squirrel gut step10

To gut the squirrel, pinch the meat at the underbelly and make small slit with the knife to open the underbelly.

STEP 11: Cut Through Chest

squirrell cut chest step11

Use your fingers to make the opening larger. Then with your knife blade turned up and being careful not to cut any entrails, cut the squirrel open all the way up through its chest.

STEP 12: Pull Entrails Out

squirrel entrails step12

Get two fingers in front of the membrane in the chest cavity and pull the entrails all the way back and out the rear of the squirrel in one motion.

STEP 13: Rinse

squirrel rinse step13

If you have water available rinse the cleaned squirrel inside and out.

STEP 14: Put On Ice

squirrel on ice step14

Put it in a plastic bag and get it on ice as quickly as possible.