There’s a new style of fishing on Augustana College campus: squirrel fishing.
Grab a stick, some nuts, swipe on some war paint, and head on over to the Elmen on Saturday, April 20 to participate in Augustana Recreational Services’ new intramural.
Intramural coordinator Chad Barman said Recreational Services is excited about the new addition to its spring intramural lineup.
“We know it’ll be a fun and obviously interesting activity,” Barman said. “I’ve seen squirrel fishing done before. They just hold onto the nut as you lift them in the air. It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”
After seeing countless attempts of students trying to grab the almost-tame squirrels on campus, Barman had the idea to make it into a friendly competition.
“Students do it anyway,” he said. “Why not have a reward if you can catch the most?”
One Augustana student admits he has been obsessed with squirrel fishing ever since his freshman year.
“They’re squirrely little devils, so they are hard to catch,” junior Clint Freiheit said. During the fall of his freshman year at Augustana, Freiheit said he went out with friends one evening to capture squirrels by the dorms.
“We bought a fishing net and tried to be really sneaky,” he said. “We caught one and then it was like a fever. We had to keep doing it.”
The intramural sign up for squirrel fishing ends on April 18 with the event to be held between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 20 on campus.
Recreational Services is still ironing out the details, but students can sign up individually or with a group, and the team that catches the most squirrels could win $50 Buffalo Wild Wings gift cards. There will be prizes for second and third place, along with a category for most creative catch.
Students can catch squirrels anywhere on campus between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., but they must film or take a picture of the caught squirrel to show proof.
Barman said the Elmen will provide tools and supplies similar to what professionals use, which include string to tie bait, such as apples and peanuts, to tree branches.
“The squirrels love apples,” Freiheit said. “Once I threw an entire apple at one. It ran up the tree with it and then sat there watching me while he began his feast.”
The new intramural has even sparked curiosity among faculty and staff. Business administration professor Jason Harris is excited, not only to watch students’ attempts, but hopes to round up a team to participate in the sport.
“I’ve dreamt of the time when squirrel fishing is socially acceptable,” Harris said. “I’ve done it in secret for years, afraid, but now I will proudly fish away.”
Harris said government professor Joel Johnson and foreign language professor Sam Ogdie are members of his team, which he wants to name Redneck Warriors or Bait the Nuts. Students with other team name ideas for the professors are welcome to talk to Harris.
“We are working on having Jim Bies join our group too,” Harris said. “With Bies, we would be basically unstoppable. That man is a squirrel-fishing machine.”
Barman said if the intramural turnout is good he may consider starting an official Squirrel Fishing Club to begin next fall.
Freiheit said his team has been practicing their form and procedure for the past month. They even are trying to learn how to speak squirrel.
“It’s a lot of squeaking,” he said. “We’re a little rusty,” he said, “but those Augustana squirrels better watch out. We are a-coming.”