The Squirrel Hunters reel

There are 3 recordings of this tune.

The Squirrel Hunters has been added to 4 tune sets.

The Squirrel Hunters has been added to 53 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: The Squirrel Hunters
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Amix
|:efed B2d2|efed B2A2|G2B2 d3d|BABc d4|
efeA B2d2|efeA B2A2|G2B2 d2ed|(3cBA A2 A4:|
|:e2a2 a2gf|edef g4|G2B2 d2d2|BABc d3d|
e2a2 a2gf|edef g3g|G2B2 d2ed|(3cBA A2 A4:|
X: 2
T: The Squirrel Hunters
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
e2 ed B2 d2|e=fed B2 A2|G2 GB d3 d|BAGB d2 gf|
efeA B2 Gd|e2 eA B2 Ad|G2 B2 d2 gd|cB^cA e2:|
e2 a2 a2 gf|e^def ge=dB|G2 GB d2 B/^c/d|GFGB d3 g|
e2 a2 a2 gf|e2 ef gedg|G3 B d2 gd|cA^cA e2:|
& to end ~|dB G2 G/G/G g2||
X: 3
T: The Squirrel Hunters
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
|:"4"e3d .B2 Bd|efed .B2 BA|GABc d2 dc|dBcA BcBA|
"4"e3d .B2 Bd|efed .B2 BA|GABc d2 B2|1 "4" A8:|2 "4" A6||
|:Bd|edeg a2ag|edef g2BA|GABc d2dc|dBcA BcBA|
edeg abag|edef g2BA|GABc d2B2|1 "4"A6:|2 "4"A8||

Nine comments

Squirrel Hunting

I’ve noticed that the American fiddler John Hartford has brought this tune into the USA old time scene and though he gives his source as the Samuel P Bayard collection, I have to say that he butchered it pretty good… but thats just to my ears. He often recorded with bluegrass musicians and in my opinion didn’t quite get the old mountain sound… but then again that’s just my humble opinion.

This tune was once very popular on fife and fiddle in SW Pa, WV, Western MD and even has some variants in Kentucky… (just follow the spine of the Alleghenies south.) There is a strong relationship of tunes in all of these states.

I have posted this for a few reasons. 1. Someone said we should have more old time tunes. 2. It is obviously characteristic of Irish and Scottish (even English probably) tune types. 3. If played correctly with the right syncopation it has an infectious groove that if I could dance… I would dance to it.

You can’t dance?! 🙁

“Squirrel Hunting” ~ for which I am guilty, but I we did eat them…

Well, I had seen MH and by initial association I just had to give this one a go, but being outside of the Alleghenies, though I’d really like to be hiking those hills right now, it may have twists you won’t approve of dear friend, but hopefully not along the lines of ol’ John Hartford, as I can’t claim any bluegrass influence, in my blood or regularly in my ears. I’d love to see the Bayard collection though. Anyhow, here goes:

K: G Major
|: B/^c/d |
e2 ed B2 d2 | e=fed B2 A2 | G2 GB d3 d | BAGB d2 gf |
efeA B2 Gd | e2 eA B2 Ad | G2 B2 d2 gd | cB^cA e2 :|
|: cA |
e2 a2 a2 gf | e^def ge=dB | G2 GB d2 B/^c/d | GFGB d3 g |
e2 a2 a2 gf | e2 ef gedg | G3 B d2 gd | cA^cA e2 :|

& to end ~ | dB G2 G/G/G g2 ||

My aunt was the gifted one in the cooking area, as you often hear, and it was true with here, with game of any sort ~ the meat just fell off the bones ~ mmm, mmm… 🙂

Dancing-Hartford-Squirrel Hunters

My dancing is comical.

I pulled up a sample of Hartfords Squirrel Hunters“ and there just something about it that doesn’t click for me. Maybe butcher is to strong of a word… I may have to get used to his version because it’s popping up in alot of the old-time recordings and jams lately.

“The Squirrel Hunters is a nickname given to militiamen and men that came to the defense of Cincinnati, Ohio when it was threatened by Confederate forces that had been victorious in Kentucky. There were not enough regular Union forces in the area that could be spared, so Governor Tod called for volunteers. Over 15,000 men showed up. Confederate force upon learning of the size of the force opposing them turned back and retreated. The Governor went to the legislature and asked for discharges for these volunteers. Years later these men were given one month’s pay for their service, $13.”


From Ceolas Fiddlers Companion….
T:Squirrel Hunters, The
S:John Hartford’s “Wild Hog in the Redbrush” transcribed by Llarry Brandon
|:“4”e3d .B2 Bd|efed .B2 BA|GABc d2 dc|dBcA BcBA|!
“4”e3d .B2 Bd|efed .B2 BA|GABc d2 B2|1“4“ A8:|2“4“ A6|!
|:Bd|edeg a2ag|edef g2BA|GABc d2dc|dBcA BcBA|!
edeg abag|edef g2BA|GABc d2B2|1“4“A6:|2“4“A8|


I think if i would’ve done this as a 2/4, the MIDI may have come out better… maybe to illustrate the short, quick bow strokes that fiddler’s used in pre-bluegrass Appalachia. I picked up that bowing from some older folks around where I grew up and Ive read somewhere that the style is similar to an old English, Ulster Scots style of bowing. Less ornamented (not neccesarily simple) and aggressive.

Re: The Squirrel Hunters

Sounds a lot like a tune that I play called
“ Hail Against the Barn Door “
From West VA

Re: The Squirrel Hunters

My great, great grandfather, one George Kinzer, was one of the “squirrel hunters” who served in the 90-day militia that was called up to defend the Cincinnati area against Confederate John Hunt Morgan’s cavalry. The wording of the brief reference above may be read as suggesting that no battle took place, which is not correct. Some the squirrel hunters did see action in Ohio, e.g. Battle of Buffington’s Island, against Morgan’s men.