The Gem State consists of 20.4 million acres, making it home to grizzly bears, snakes, bighorn sheep, and tree and ground squirrels. Unfortunately, this means that homeowners need to know how to protect their property from squirrels. If you’re dealing with these nuisance rodents, it’s essential to understand the laws and regulations in Idaho regarding trapping, killing, and hunting squirrels.
Is It Illegal To Trap Squirrels In Idaho?
According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, you can trap, hunt, and kill only the non-protected species of squirrels. It is legal for homeowners to trap and remove nuisance wildlife. However, you must obtain a permit from the Fish and Game website. That said, wildlife classified as unprotected or predatory animals, such as; raccoons and skunks, cannot be released without written permission.
Idaho is home to more than 15 species of ground and tree squirrels, including marmots and five species of chipmunks. As homeowners, we need to learn how to live with wildlife.
However, you need to know your rights if you have a squirrel problem. So here’s everything you need to know about trapping, hunting, and killing squirrels in Idaho.
Can You Hunt Squirrels In Idaho?
The Gem State classifies the red squirrel as a small game animal. Therefore, it offers licensed hunters the ability to pursue this species from August 30 – March 31. A valid hunter’s license is required for individuals 16 years or older.
Several species of ground squirrels are protected by State or Federal laws.
Violators will be subject to fines and prosecution, so it’s important to understand and recognize which species you can hunt and which are protected.
Below is a table of the protected species and the ones that are legal to hunt.
|Ground Squirrels Legal To Hunt||Ground Squirrels Illegal to Hunt|
|Yellow Bellied Marmot||Wyoming Ground Squirrel|
|White Tailed Antelope Squirrel||Rock Squirrel|
|Columbian Ground Squirrel||Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel|
|Plute Ground Squirrel (Western Idaho Populations)||Plute Ground Squirrel (Eastern Idaho Populations)|
|Uinta Ground Squirrel||Southern Idaho Ground Squirrel|
|Belding’s Ground Squirrel||Merriam’s Ground Squirrel|
Always check your local regulations to make sure the list hasn’t changed.
Is Trapping Squirrels Legal In Idaho?
It is legal to trap squirrels. Flat snap traps work best because they are easy to set and technically challenging for them to escape. That said, relocating squirrels without the proper permit and license is illegal.
Trapping is regulated in most areas, so it’s vital to know the regulations in your specific county or city.
Do You Need A License to Hunt Squirrel In Idaho?
Idaho residents and non-residents must possess a valid hunting license to hunt any game or small mammals. You can get a license from an official vendor of Idaho business that sells permits, tags, and licenses or by phone at 1-800-554-8685.
Can You Shoot Squirrels On Your Property In Idaho?
It is not illegal to shoot an animal such as a dog, squirrel, or non-protected animal that is wounding, killing, or damaging any livestock or poultry. That said, it is unlawful to discharge a firearm within city limits.
Before discharging a firearm, you must understand your area’s laws and regulations to avoid penalties. Every municipality is different and may have its own laws regarding shooting wildlife on personal property.
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?
Many homeowners turn to rat poisoning because it kills rats and any animal that ingests it, including squirrels, raccoons, skunks, etc.
According to Idaho’s Fish and Game Wildlife, it is illegal to use poison to kill nuisance wildlife unless you closely monitor the poison. Violators will face prosecution if the poison kills neighbors’ pets, people, or protected species.
The best way to manage a squirrel problem is to live trap, euthanize, and properly dispose of the animal’s body.
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 Idaho?
Idaho homeowners have many options for removing nuisance animals from contacting local animal control, law enforcement officers, professional trappers, or wildlife rehabilitators.
If you choose to relocate squirrels on your own, make sure you obtain the required permit from the Fish and Game website. Also, ensure you understand which nuisance animals can and cannot be released back into the wild.
Only residents with a valid trapping permit can legally relocate squirrels. That said, the laws vary from county to county, so make sure you check with your local authorities before relocating any wildlife.
In many cases, it’s illegal and inhumane to relocate squirrels since they often can’t adjust to unfamiliar surroundings.
Squirrels and other animals choose their environment based on their habitat, food, water, and safety.
Relocating them to a new area disrupts this balance and often leads to the animal’s death.
In addition, it introduces new environments to diseases and can create new problems for the local wildlife.
Professional Squirrel Removal Services
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 Idaho 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.
What Are The Consequences For Illegally Trapping Squirrels In Idaho?
Squirrels are considered unprotected nuisance rodents. Therefore it is entirely legal to trap and/or remove them from your property. According to the Fish and Wildlife website, Idaho’s native tree squirrels are protected animals.
It is illegal to hunt, kill, or trap the Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel (Urocitellus brunneus). On April 5, 2000, the Endangered Species Act classified the Northern Idaho Ground squirrel as endangered.
The northern Idaho ground squirrel is smaller than most ground squirrels and is only found in parts of Adams and Valley Counties in western Idaho, extending into neighboring Washington county.
The federal government can fine violators of the Endangered Species Act up to $25,000. So, knowing what the squirrel looks like is essential before taking matters into your own hands.
Non-native squirrels, such as; fox squirrels and gray squirrels, are not protected under Idaho law.
It is legal for Idaho residents to hunt, trap, and kill non-native squirrels. However, protected species such as the northern Idaho ground squirrel are protected.
If you are dealing with nuisance squirrels, the best approach is to contact a professional wildlife removal service.
These professionals have the experience and expertise to handle the situation quickly and humanely.
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