Shelling hickory nuts is a tough job
Hickory trees actually are among the hardest hardwoods and make ideal wood for many building uses and prized for heating in wood stoves and for outdoor grilling. You can find hickory charcoal and really enjoy that special flavor it imparts. Hickory nuts are calorie rich and were among the most important foods for indigenous peoples and today provide food for many mammals and birds. Squirrels, chipmunks, beavers, even bears eat them, and also those cursed wild hogs who tear up the woods. Some birds crack them with their becks and pick out the meat, while wood ducks, mallards, turkeys and others can swallow them whole, and their gizzards do all the work. For people, shelling them is a laborious process and the tools used include hammers, vises, and a peculiar item called the Texas York Nut Sheller.