The “Peach State” borders North and South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, and Alabama and has 24.8 million acres of forestland. Unfortunately, homeowners must learn how to deal with nuisance animals such as; the fox, gray squirrel, and other wildlife. Unfortunately, homeowners must understand the laws on dealing with nuisance animals when damaging their gardens, yard, vehicles, or home.
Gray squirrels and fox squirrels are classified as small game animals. Anyone with a valid hunting license can legally hunt, trap and shoot squirrels in Georgia. Squirrel hunting season runs from August 15 – February 28.
Gray and fox squirrels are the biggest nuisances in Georgia.
These rodents are commonly found in urban and suburban settings causing property damage, digging up gardens and yards, and invading attics. As a result, Mississippi has implemented nuisance animal regulations to help homeowners manage and control species from damaging their property.
If you’re having squirrel problems, knowing the legalities, which species are protected, and how to protect your property from damage is essential.
Let’s find out how to eliminate these pests and the legalities, licenses, and penalties for residents.
Types of Squirrels Found In Georgia?
There are over 65 different species of squirrels throughout the United States, including 24 species of ground squirrels.
Georgia is home to four types of tree squirrels and various ground squirrels, such as the Caucasian Mountain Ground Squirrel.
Below are the most common tree squirrels found throughout the state:
#1 Eastern Gray Squirrel
The Eastern Gray squirrel is one of Georgia’s most commonly seen squirrels. It can be found raiding bird feeders, digging through trash cans, and generally causing a nuisance.
Today, it is the most common squirrel in urban and rural areas, living in forests, parks, yards, and other human-built environments. It has adapted well to human habitation.
Many homeowners consider it a nuisance due to its habit of eating from bird feeders, digging up flower beds and gardens, making nests in attics, etc.
They have gray fur and a white belly and are about 9.1 – 21.6 inches long.
Gray squirrels store their food in caches which helps them survive harsh winters.
#2 Red Squirrel
The red squirrel resides in the higher elevations of Northeast Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountain Province.
It has a grayish-red or rust-colored body with a white belly.
In the summer, a black stripe runs along its side, between its belly and back.
It is typically seen around the edge of forests and in gardens, yards, and parks.
It feeds mainly on nuts, seeds, fruits, and insects. Like other squirrels, they also store food in caches for winter survival.
American Red Squirrels average about 12 inches tall and have a fluffy tale that helps them balance when jumping from trees. This species is not classified as a small game animal and is illegal to hunt.
#3 Fox Squirrel
The Fox squirrel is the largest among Georgia’s tree squirrels, with adults measuring one to three pounds. Their fur ranges from black, grey, and tawny to cinnamon or red.
Fox squirrels are found throughout Georgia in woods, urban areas, parks, yards, and gardens. They reside in areas with mature pine and hardwood habitats.
Their diet is similar to that of the gray squirrel, which includes acorns, nuts, and fruits. They also feed on bird eggs, insects, and even small birds.
#4 Southern Flying Squirrels
Southern flying squirrels are located in the eastern portion of the United States from north to south. It resides in forests with large maple, poplar, hickory, and beech trees.
They can be seen in rural and urban areas as they prefer hollowed-out tree trunks and attics where they can nest. However, due to their nocturnal behavior, chances are you’ll never see one.
These squirrels are the smallest of the four species, with an average body length of seven inches and a tail length of six to eight inches.
Southern flying squirrels have a greyish brown coat on their backs, legs, tail, and top of the head., with a white underside.
Their diet consists of nuts, seeds, fruits, and insects.
Can You Hunt Squirrels In Georgia?
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, hunters can legally hunt the fox and gray squirrels. It is illegal to hunt red squirrels, flying squirrels, and any other nongame species listed as
Below is a table of the small game animals and the hunting seasons.
|August 15 – February 28
|November 12 – February 28
|October 15 – February 28
|November 12 – February 28
Can You Hunt Tree And Ground Squirrels In Georgia?
At the time of this writing, the fox and gray squirrels are the only species classified as small game animals. Hunting any animal that is not classified as a small game or large game animal is illegal.
Is Trapping Legal In Georgia?
Trapping with the intention of wildlife management will vary depending on the county you reside. Contact the Wildlife Resources Division Game Management office to find out if a permit is required.
Do You Need A License to Hunt Squirrels In Georgia?
Anyone 16 years and older must possess a valid hunting license during the regular hunting season. Depending on your age, the state may require you to pass an online hunter safety course before applying for a hunting license or permit.
At the time of this writing, Mississippi residents can purchase the following types of hunting licenses:
- Georgia Resident: Anyone who has resided in the state for at least three consecutive months or meets the state’s requirements for new residents. Active duty members stationed in the state and students attending an accredited college or university can apply for a resident hunting license.
- Non-Resident Hunting License: Anyone who has not lived in the state for at least six months.
- Youth Hunting License: Residents and non-residents under 15 can legally hunt without a permit or license. However, they must be accompanied by a licensed adult.
- Senior Hunting License: Residents 65 or older may qualify for the free Honorary Lifetime Sportsman’s license.
- Military and Veteran License: Active duty military members stationed at any of the 13 military bases can purchase a resident license.
- Migratory Waterfowl Requirements: If you’re 16 or older and looking to hunt migratory waterfowl, you must purchase the Federal Duck Stamp before your hunting experience.
You can purchase a hunting license online by visiting the Georgia Department of Natural Resources website or calling 1-800-366-2661.
The table below shows the license type and fees associated with each license.
Hunting License Fees
Fees are subject to change, so please check the website for the updated and correct fees.
|Non Resident Cost
|Annual Big Game License
|Annual Hunting License
|Annual Disability Hunting License
|Seasonal Trapping License
Can You Shoot Squirrels On Your Property In Georgia?
It is illegal for residents to shoot any nuisance animal on their personal property unless it is during the regular hunting season.
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 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 Georgia?
Using rodenticides on any animal is illegal, excluding mice and rats. This is because Georgia 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 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.
When using poison or rodenticides, use them in areas without the risk of other animals or people being exposed.
What Are The Penalties for Trapping and Hunting Squirrels Illegally?
The penalties for trapping and hunting squirrels without a permit or out of season are harsh, especially if the animal is listed on the protected or endangered list.
Doing so can result in misdemeanor charges, fines, and expensive court costs. In addition, the department will revoke your hunting license if found guilty until the fees and sentencing are paid.
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 and seal the entry point with metal sheeting or wire mesh.
Can You Relocate Squirrels In Georgia?
Removing a squirrel from your attic and releasing it onto your property is legal, but relocating nuisance wildlife onto state property is discouraged and illegal. You must possess a valid permit issued by the Georgia DNR before moving rodents or other wild animals from your property.
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, contacting a professional for help is best before attempting to relocate any squirrels.
Professional Squirrel Removal Services In Georgia
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 Georgia specialize in animal removal. Below is a list of some pest control services offering squirrel removal services.
- Critter Cowboys
- Georgia PAWS (Pest and Wildlife Specialists)
- Smart Solutions Wildlife 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 Georgia
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:
- Fox Squirrels
- Big Brown Bats
- Gray Squirrel
Remembering that all these animals are integral to the ecosystem and merely trying to survive is essential.
While it can be frustrating if they set up shop in your backyard, following the laws and regulations when attempting to remove them is essential.
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.
Hunting, trapping, and shooting squirrels is legal in Georgia if you follow local laws and regulations. The state classifies the gray and fox squirrels as small game animals. Therefore, they can be hunted during the regular hunting season.
It’s important to remember that relocation is not a practical solution for nuisance wildlife, such as squirrels.
Therefore, it is best to contact a professional animal removal service if you are having trouble with these animals on your property. If you’re having issues with nuisance squirrels, contact the Georgia Wildlife Control Management center for tips and advice.
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