By now, you’ve either heard about or experienced first-hand, the squirrel explosion of 2018 on New Hampshire roadways.
How ironic that Mepps of Antigo, Wisconsin is currently promoting their Mepps Squirrel Tail Recycling Program. The message is intended for squirrel hunters around the country, but given circumstances around the Granite State, it may give some cause for pause. The tails are used for the hand-tied, dressed hooks of their world-famous, fish-catching lures. They've been recycling squirrel tails for over half-a-century.
Mepps buys fox, black, grey and red squirrel tails and will pay up to 26 cents each for tails, depending on quality and quantity. Plus, the cash value is doubled if the tails are traded for Mepps lures.
Just how the hooks on Mepps spinners have come to be dressed with squirrel tails is another Todd Sheldon-Wolf River story. Back in the early 1960's, Todd had experienced a particularly good day trout fishing the Wolf with Mepps spinners. On the way back to his car, he met a young boy who also had limited out fishing with Mepps lures. But, all of the boy's trout were larger than Todd's. This is not something easily accepted by any fisherman. Todd noticed the Mepps spinner attached to the boy's line had a small tuft of squirrel tail attached to the hook.
When he returned to the plant, Todd began experimenting with dressed hooks. Bear hair was tried as well as fox, coyote, badger, skunk, deer, even Angus cow. But no other tail provided the pulsating action in the water created by squirrel tail or buck tail.
So, in theory, you’re driving by 26 cents every time you see a squirrel on the road. It may not be a big enough draw to actually stop, but at least you know that you’re not “nuts” for thinking about it!