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Using Squirrels to Harvest Nuts

 
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Here is a research paper that should help with your squirrel labor force
What is interesting is that squirrels can determine which nuts have potential for longer strorage and those are the ones that go into a cache.
Other nuts are just eaten. So a squirrel cache is likely to have the best nuts for seedlings!


Mechanisms of chache decision making in fox squirrels
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~prestos/Downloads/PrestonJacobs2009.pdf
 
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This video has an idea I am going to try. Placing concrete blocks such that the hollow middles make attractive areas to naturally cache for the squirrels .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8vs5Et9c2s
 
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Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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Anonymous wrote:I did not know that most of the nuts squirrels collect are actually misplaced, and not actually consumed, why is that?
I have never had squirrel to eat, is it good?



By digging to save their nuts, the squirrels actually 'plant' them where they will spend the winter in a moist and cold environment, which stratify the nuts and prepare them to germinate. The trick with the nail keg its to have them actually use the kegs. Not sure how that would work but hey, I'm willing to learn. American hazelnuts are plentiful here and they seem to look at me giving the nuts the once over. That very night, they harvest all of them minus those that are wormy.
So yes, if you can find a suitable vessel that they would use to hide their nuts, it would be worthwhile. Not just because they harvest them all in one day but because they also sort them out! It would help to find such a cache and study the shape and size, then duplicate it in wood. Although they have hidden nuts in the plastic pails I stored in the garage, in the exhaust pipes of our motorcycles, so they may be less picky than we think, and they do look for dryer spots, so perhaps the nail keg idea is not so silly after all.

As far as eating them, the larger, grey squirrel is best. The red one is usually skinnier and tough as a coot. Still, they are a lot smaller than rabbits. Tasty though. Once they are dressed and skin is off, you need to do everything you can to tenderize them: They have very little fat, so yes, they may be tough. Cook them in wine, slow cook them, cook them in buttermilk, brine them... whatever you can to make them tender.
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Unofficial Companion Guide to the Rocket Oven DVD
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