The Bear State, also known as Arkansas, borders the Mississippi River and consists of 57% forestland. It is known as the heart of the nation’s wood basket because of the hot timber industry. As a result, there is abundant wildlife, including; pocket gophers, ground squirrels, tree squirrels, and the southern flying squirrel. Like other US states, Arkansas has laws and regulations homeowners must follow when dealing with nuisance wildlife.
Is It Illegal To Trap, Hunt, And Kill Squirrels In Arkansas?
According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, squirrels, muskrats, opossums, and other nongame wildlife, excluding migratory birds and endangered species, can be killed during daylight hours or trapped outside the regular hunting season if they are causing damage to personal property. However, a depredation permit is required to shoot any wildlife nuisance animal at nighttime.
Arkansas is home to several species of rodents, including ground squirrels, tree squirrels, mice, and the southern flying squirrels.
Several pest control companies say the grey squirrel is the most destructive. It is commonly found in urban areas and often chews on wires, digs holes, and feeds on bird seed.
As a homeowner, you must understand the laws and regulations regarding trapping and hunting squirrels to avoid penalties and fines.
So, let’s look at the laws to help you legally protect your property.
Can You Hunt Squirrels In Arkansas?
Arkansas classifies the gray and fox squirrel as small game, and they can be hunted from May through February.
The hunting season varies yearly, so check the Fish and Game website for the exact dates. At the time of the writing, the bag limit for squirrels in Arkansas is 12, which is plenty for the avid hunter.
Below is a table of the small game animals and the hunting seasons.
|Species||Dates||Bag Limits||Possession Limits|
|Squirrels (Fox & Gray)||May 15 – February 28||12||48|
|Quail||November 1 – February 5||6||12|
|Swamp and Cotton Tail Rabbits||September 1 – February 28||8||16|
Can You Hunt All Tree Squirrels In Arkansas?
No, it is legal to hunt the gray and fox squirrels only. The southern flying squirrel is a protected nongame species, making it illegal to hunt this species.
The state is trying to prevent the southern flying squirrel from becoming endangered due to overhunting.
The best hunting spots for gray squirrels are the densely wooded areas, while the fox squirrels live in open more open areas along the edges of the forest.
If you enjoy hunting squirrels, watch this squirrel processing 101 video from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Is Trapping Squirrels Legal In Arkansas?
According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AFGC), homeowners can legally trap the following nuisance wildlife year-round.
- Striped Squirrels
A depredation permit is required to trap other nuisance animals outside the trapping season. Contact your local AFGC office to apply for a depredation permit. Click here for a list of the regional offices in Arkansas.
The depredation permit allows homeowners to trap or kill the above nuisance animals outside of the regular hunting season.
Do You Need A License to Hunt Squirrel In Arkansas?
Yes, anyone 16 years of age must possess a valid hunting license or permit to hunt in Arkansas. In addition, the state requires a mandated hunter safety online hunting course before applying for a hunting license.
At the time of this writing, Arkansas hunting enthusiasts can purchase the following types of hunting licenses:
- Arkansas Resident: Anyone who has resided in the state for at least 60 days or meets the state’s requirements for new residents. This includes active military members stationed in Arkansas and full-time students attending an educational institution.
- Non-Resident Hunting License: Non-residents ages 16 or older must possess a non-resident hunting license and any additional tags and licenses.
- Youth Hunting License: Residents under 15 are not required to have a license.
- Senior Hunting License: Residents 65 years or older qualify for the 64 Plus Lifetime Hunting License.
- Military and Veteran License: Active duty military members stationed in Arkansas qualify for a resident hunting license. Arkansas residents stationed in other states can purchase a resident hunting license. Resident veterans that are permanently disabled during active duty can apply for the Resident Disabled Military Veteran Lifetime Hunting License.
- Disability License: Permanently disabled Arkansas residents may qualify for the Resident 3-year Disability Hunting License. Those with mobility impairments and other disabilities must contact the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for details on the Mobility-Impaired Access Permit.
Hunting licenses and permits can be purchased online through the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission website or a state-approved agent. The license expires on June 30 of each year unless you have a lifetime license.
Can You Shoot Squirrels On Your Property In Arkansas?
According to Arkansas law, homeowners can remove nuisance animals from their property via shooting or trapping.
That said, you must have written permission from the landowner before shooting a nuisance squirrel on private property.
Gun laws will vary throughout the state, depending on the county or municipality in which you live. Therefore, checking your local laws before shooting squirrels on your property is critical.
The unlawful discharge of a firearm resulting in bodily injury or death will be prosecuted as murder. Even if no harm is caused, you are subject to prosecution for felony and misdemeanor charges.
Can You Poison Squirrels In Arkansas?
It is illegal to use rodenticides on any animal, excluding mice and rats. This is because Arkansas has no registered fumigants or poisons for controlling tree or ground squirrels.
Even though it is illegal, several homeowners will use rat traps and other poisons to try to kill squirrels.
Before using any rodent control products, read the label and follow all instructions. In addition, homeowners must take precautions to ensure no other pets, children, or wildlife will be exposed to the toxicants.
If you kill a neighbor’s pet, you can be liable for damages.
How Do I Get Rid of Squirrels Permanently?
If you are in a situation where you need to get rid of squirrels on your property, the best action is to contact a wildlife control specialist who can help you safely and legally.
These professionals will have the necessary equipment, knowledge, and experience to remove the animals without causing any harm.
If you decide to take matters into your own hands, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
It is illegal to trap the gray wolf, furbearing animals, or unprotected animals, except unprotected rodents such as; pocket gophers, ground squirrels, mice, voles, etc.
Second, even if you can trap and remove the animals from your property, they will likely just come back unless you take steps to prevent them from returning.
The most effective way to keep squirrels away for good is to eliminate any food sources that are attracting them to your property in the first place.
This may include removing bird feeders, sealing up any holes or cracks where they get inside, and keeping your yard clean and free of debris.
Flying squirrels are the most common nuisance for attics. So, it’s crucial to identify the entry point and seal it with metal sheeting or wire mesh.
Can You Relocate Squirrels In Arkansas?
Homeowners can release live-trapped squirrels within 24 hours of capturing. In addition, homeowners can trap squirrels outside of the regular year-round.
That said, live traps must have the trapper’s address, name, or vehicle license number. This ensures that the relocated squirrels are correctly tracked and released in a suitable location.
Before trapping a squirrel, ensure it doesn’t have a nest nearby. If so, you’ll want to remove the nest and relocate the babies with the mother.
Unfortunately, relocating squirrels is not the most humane method of removing them. Studies show that most squirrels die after relocation because they cannot find food and shelter in a new area.
Therefore, it is best to contact a professional for help before attempting to relocate any squirrels.
Professional Squirrel Removal Services In Arkansas
The best way to get rid of nuisance squirrels damaging your yard or home is to contact a professional squirrel removal service.
These professionals are trained and experienced in dealing with nuisance wildlife and can help you remove the animals safely and humanely.
They are knowledgeable about animal behavior, local laws, and techniques needed to trap squirrels quickly.
They also have access to specialized traps explicitly designed for squirrels, making their removal much easier.
Several services throughout Arkansas specialize in animal removal.
Be sure to research and choose a service with a good reputation, is licensed and insured, and offers humane solutions for squirrels.
Other Nuisance Wildlife In Arkansas
Unfortunately, squirrels are not the only nuisance animals homeowners have to deal with throughout the state. Due to developers encroaching on their habitats, many animals live in urban and suburban areas.
The most common nuisance wildlife include:
- Striped Skunks
- Feral Pigs
- Canadian Geese
It is essential to remember that all these animals are integral to the ecosystem and merely trying to survive.
While it can be frustrating if they set up shop in your backyard, it’s essential to follow the laws and regulations when attempting to remove them.
The same laws and regulations that protect squirrels also apply to these animals.
Therefore, it is essential to follow local guidelines when dealing with these nuisance critters.
Arkansas fish and Game commission classifies the fox and grey squirrels as small game animals. Therefore, both can be hunted during the regular season. However, the state makes exceptions for killing squirrels and other nuisance animals if they are causing property damage.
If you’re having problems with squirrel damage, you can take matters into your own hands or contact a professional service for help. Either way, we’ve done our best to provide you with the information you need to deal with nuisance squirrels in Arkansas legally.
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