Hi MK. Squirrel hunting is one of my favorite pastimes and one thing I have learned is that squirrels seem most active when I am deer hunting. So I tend to use a similar approach. I like to find an area where there is a lot of activity and go out before sunup, conceal myself somewhat beneath a tree, and then wait. With fairly equal time spent hunting both in the morning and in the afternoon, I have bagged more squirrels in the morning, but I don't know if thats normal or if its just because of other variables such as the areas I hunt or even me being more alert. Do you plan on using a shotgun or a rifle, and also, what type of terrain, ground will you be hunting? I use both a 410 and a .22, and hunt a little differently with each. I also hunt a bit differently in the thick timber than I do in say, a cow pasture. I used to use my 12gauge a little before deer season just to get comfortable with the gun, but haven't done that for probably 10 years because it was a bit much and I prefer my meat lead free.
As for cleaning I always soak a squirrel in a bucket of water before I clean it, which seems to reduce the amount of hair that gets stuck to the meat and generally make a somewhat difficult task a little cleaner. I start by cutting through the bones that attach the back feet (useing a ***** pliers or similar tool), but I don't cut them completely off, just so I can free the leg meat from the feet. Then I make a cut below the tail and work around until the back legs are skinned (they kindof pop out of the skin if you do it right). Then I stand on the tail and pull up on the hind legs, which skins the squirrel about like pulling your foot out of a sock while standing on the toe of it with your other foot. Pop the front legs out as well, down to the feet, cut off the front feet, then cut off the head (which should be inside the now inside out skin. All of the waste should be in one piece if you do this right, and now you have a carcass that can be gutted, cut up, and cleaned. Also there are sweat glands under the front legs that should be removed.
Well, I've never really tried to explain that before, I learned by watching, and then practicing. Maybe youtube isn't a bad idea, haha. Anyway they aren't the easiest small game to clean but after botching 2 or 3 you will figure it out and become a pro. As for the cooking part, that is my grandma's department but I think if one has any culinary skills whatsoever, squirrel can be prepared in about as many ways a chicken. With a little thought I could probably post how to make it the way I like it best, but this post is already way long so I will stop.