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Arkansas Game and Fish hosting the 'Big Squirrel Challenge'

Arkansas Game And Fish is hosting their second annual Big Squirrel Challenge this weekend, inviting hunters to present their three heaviest rodents.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — Arkansas Game And Fish is hosting the big squirrel challenge this weekend.

Participants can start hunting at noon on Jan. 13 through 30 minutes after sunset, then hunt again 30 minutes before sunrise until weigh-in at noon on Jan. 14. The goal of the challenge is to hunt and gather squirrels to have the heaviest three squirrel bag.

Each team of two individuals can win prizes for the heaviest bag. 

"I'm sure if you have bird feeders at your house, you probably see squirrels a lot and you get maybe a little aggravated that they're out there showing the bird feed or something like that, or knocking over your bird feeders," said Jordan Bevis.

Educator Jordan Bevis said that many hunters use shotguns or .22 rifles for the hunt. She explained the best way to find a squirrel is to find their nests. Those can consist of bunched-up leaves and twigs or even a few nuts.

"Some people really enjoy hunting with dogs. And if you have a squirrel dog, that's great. They kind of do all the work for you a little bit," said Bevis

While you can hunt squirrels, nearly year-round, Arkansas Game And Fish explained that this challenge encourages many to participate in small game hunting.

"Just like any type of hunting, it helps prevent some of the starvation issues that if there's too many of or diseases or anything like that, this helps control that population. So we don't get to those points," said Bevis.

Bevis explained that hunting squirrel is a great way to teach new hunters. She encouraged young hunters to join their families on a social hunt.

"If they are talking, or you know, they get excited, it's okay. And with our squirrel, you typically see a little bit more squirrels in the environment than, say, a deer or maybe ducks or something like that. So it gives them a chance to be successful, which is what we want for them to be successful and be excited about it," added Bevis.

Arkansas Game and Fish has tutorials on how to process squirrels and even recipes.

Weighing will take place from noon to 1 p.m. on the 14th at the 11 weigh-in stations across Arkansas.

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