LAWRENCE (KSNT) – Have you ever wanted to trap, cook and eat the squirrels in your backyard? If the answer is yes, the upcoming squirrel clinic in Lawrence could be right up your alley.
Amy Bousman, an education specialist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP), is gearing up for the clinic happening later this month. This unique learning opportunity is focused on teaching locals how to eat the squirrels in your neighborhood in a safe, legal and ethical manner.
“I’m a pretty out-of-the-box program designer,” Bousman said. “I try to develop programs that speak to the community in new and innovative ways.”
Bousman, who encourages sustainability discussions during community events, got the idea to hold a squirrel clinic after hearing of the “unruly squirrel population” in Lawrence. She had received complaints from locals on the issue of squirrels getting into community orchards and grain supplies for backyard farms. Bousman hopes this clinic is something that can be applied to other population centers in northeast Kansas.
“The idea came from a similar program I did with a refugee group in Kansas City,” Bousman said. “They were having a groundhog problem. We walked through the legal problems of trapping and how to ethically dispatch groundhogs and then clean and cook them.”
The squirrel clinic will show locals how to trap squirrels without using firearms, which is illegal within city limits, to help people find other sources of nutrition. Bousman will show attendees how to ethically dispatch squirrels, something she says is a better option to pursue when dealing with overpopulation issues.
She says this should be done over transporting squirrels, or other animals, elsewhere and dropping them off.
“You have to have a landowners permission to release a trapped animal,” Bousman said. “The issue is that a lot of those animals don’t make it. They’re like refugees who’ve ended up in a completely new continent. If you displace a wild animal into a new environment, they don’t know where the food is, where the water is. They’re going to die a slow and painful death because they don’t know where the local resources are.”
Bousman told 27 News she’ll show attendees recipes to use when eating squirrels and will let them taste cooked squirrel at the clinic. Displays of traps to use will also be on hand.
To get started trapping squirrels, you’ll need to follow hunting regulations, take a hunter’s safety course and get a Kansas state hunting license for small game. Squirrel season is active now through to Feb. 29, 2024.
The squirrel clinic will be from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 1222 Delaware Street in Lawrence. If you have any questions, you can email Bousman at firstname.lastname@example.org.