Can Squirrels Be Hunted Year Round?

can squirrels be hunted year round

Squirrels are a favored hunting quarry for many hunters and offer a hunting challenge very different from many other game animals. Squirrel hunting can be a challenge for seasoned hunters and beginners alike. When can you hunt for squirrels, or can they be hunted year-round?

Some counties and states allow their citizens to hut squirrels year-round. However, most states limit squirrel hunting to the fall and early spring seasons. Therefore, you should consult your local state and county hunting authorities to establish the legal dates for squirrel hunting in your area.

In most locations, there are defined hunting seasons for squirrels which must be adhered to for hunting legally and ethically. Some locations allow all-year squirrel hunting, but this may be for certain squirrel species only. Knowing your local squirrel hunting regulations is as essential as hunting any other game species.

Can You Hunt Squirrels All Year?

Squirrel hunting is popular for several reasons, one of which is that the hunting season is often longer than for other game animals.

Your local hunting authorities can best answer the question of hunting squirrels all year round since the rules vary substantially from state to state and, in some cases, even at the county level.

Some states and counties offer all-year hunting of certain species of squirrel, particularly if squirrel populations in the area have increased enough to become problematic.

Consequently, hunters must be educated to hunt in the right season and to hunt the correct squirrel species. The species of squirrel that can be legally hunted also vary from state to state and are generally governed by the size of the squirrel species population in the area.

What Type Of Squirrels Can You Hunt?

A hunter must be able to distinguish the different squirrel species in their area before embarking on a hunt.

Some squirrel species are legal to hunt in certain areas, but other squirrel species in the same area are protected. Learning to discern one species from another will help you to stay legal during your hunting and avoid unnecessary trouble with the authorities.

The species of squirrel most commonly hunted across the USA include the following.

  • Eastern Gray Squirrel. The Eastern Gray Squirrel, or Sciurus carolinensis, has light gray fur on its underparts and a darker gray fur on its upper parts. You can expect these squirrels to weigh between 1 and 1.5 pounds.
  • Western Gray Squirrel. The Western Gray Squirrel, or Sciurus griseus, has a bluish-gray upper body fur with pale, almost white fur on the underbelly.
  • Eastern Fox Squirrel. The Eastern Fox Squirrel, or Sciurus niger, can vary in color from region to region. It can be brown-gray to brown-yellow on its upper parts, with an orangy underbelly fur, or the squirrels can have dark brown or black upper fur.

The Fox Squirrel is often mistakenly called a Red Squirrel, but the American Red Squirrel is a different species and is not favored by hunters because of its small size and unpleasant-tasting meat.

When Should You Hunt Squirrels?

Even if your local area allows squirrel hunting all year, you should question your own conscious whether this is ethical or not.

Shooting female squirrels during the birthing season will leave litters of baby squirrels to die of starvation when their mothers do not return from foraging.

Most squirrels give birth in late spring or the summer season, making this the least favorable time to hunt squirrels.

The best time of year for squirrel hunting is in the fall or autumn when they search the forest for food to store up for the winter. They are also most active in the morning or late afternoons.

This will be an active period for the squirrels, and the lower volume of leaves on the trees and the rustling of dry leaves as they move through the trees will make it easier to locate them.

In some states, you can hunt squirrels throughout the winter, but you may be hard-pressed to find squirrels active during this season. They may emerge on warmer sunny days to forage on the ground or to retrieve nuts from their storage locations.

The best time of day to hunt squirrels is in the early morning in the first 2 to 4 hours after sunrise, or in the late afternoon, about 2 to 3 hours before sunset. However, the Gray Squirrels are an exception for the morning hours and can become active and begin foraging before the sun rises.

What Are The Legalities Of Hunting Squirrels?

In certain states, hunting squirrels requires a license or a permit to hunt certain species. A license is not required in states where certain species are not protected, but you would need to observe the specified hunting season dates.

Make sure you know your squirrel species since some species may not require a permit to hunt, but other species in the same area may require a hunting permit.

Most locations will have a daily bag limit for the number of squirrels you can shoot in a day. The daily bag limit varies from state to state and species of squirrel.

Where Can You Hunt Squirrels?

Some states allow squirrel hunting on state-owned land, but this is not always the case, so make sure to find out the rules before embarking on a hunt on state land.

Many private landowners welcome squirrel hunters on their land because the populations of these animals can reach levels where they become a pest. This is particularly the case for corn farmers who can have crops severely impacted by large squirrel populations.

If you intend to hunt squirrels on private property, always obtain consent from the landowner before entering their property; otherwise, you could be prosecuted for trespassing or poaching.

What Are The Best Squirrel Guns?

Three primary hunting weapons are used to bring down squirrels, and the choice will depend on your preference and skill level.

Many people prefer using a shotgun loaded with shells containing #6 pellets. When using a shotgun for hunting squirrels, aim slightly in front of the squirrel’s nose to get a headshot without damaging the meat on the body.

A .22 rifle with a scope is ideal for squirrel hunters looking to improve their precision shooting. When using a .22, aim slightly behind the squirrel’s ear to give you some wiggle room in the shot for a clean kill.

Bow hunting for squirrels requires skill with the bow and good hunting technique. You must get closer to the squirrel to get a clean shot. The leaves and branches of the trees add another dimension of difficulty that can deflect a shot.

Final Word

Squirrels hunting is legal all year in certain regions. However, the most popular hunting season for them is during the fall and early spring.

Consult your local hunting regulations to establish the exact rules regarding dates and squirrel species to hunt. Then get out there and test your hunting skills against the elusive and wily squirrels!

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