Approximately 15 million acres of forest land covers “The Show-Me State.” It is home to beautiful oak, pine, red cedar, and walnut trees. These trees are home to the wildlife species such as; squirrels, woodpeckers, chipmunks, deer, etc. Therefore, homeowners must learn how to deal with nuisance animals while following the rules and regulations set by the state.
Hunting enthusiasts can legally hunt and trap gray and fox squirrels during the regular hunting season. However, according to Statute 3 CSR 10-4.130, homeowners can shoot, trap or kill squirrels that are causing damage to their home, crops, garden, etc., outside of the regular hunting season without a permit.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Eastern Fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) is the most commonly found squirrel throughout the state. However, the fox and Eastern gray squirrel are considered the biggest nuisance.
The state classifies both species as small game mammals to help control their population. But unfortunately, both species have adapted to human interference throughout the years and can become a major nuisance to homeowners.
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 protect your property legally in Missouri. But before we get into the laws and regulations, let’s look at Missouri’s most common types of squirrels.
Types of Squirrels Found In Missouri?
There are over 65 different species of squirrels throughout the United States, including 24 species of ground squirrels.
Missouri is home to three common types of squirrels.
The Eastern Gray Squirrel
The Eastern Gray Squirrel is the most common and has distinctive grayish-brown fur on their backs. In addition, it has a white underbelly and a bushy tail.
These medium-sized squirrels typically weigh between 1 and 2 pounds and measure up to 20 inches long, including their tail.
Gray squirrels are primarily herbivores, and their diet consists of nuts, seeds, fruit, and other plant material.
The Fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) is the largest species of tree squirrel found in North America, including Missouri.
They have distinctive rusty-red or orange-brown fur on their backs, with a white underbelly and a long, bushy tail. Fox squirrels are typically larger than gray squirrels, weighing between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds and measuring up to 30 inches long, including their tail.
Like their cousins, their diet consists primarily of nuts, seeds, fruits, insects, and small animals.
Southern Flying Squirrels
The Southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) is a small, nocturnal tree squirrel found in North America, including Missouri. They have brownish-gray fur on their backs, with a white underbelly and large, dark eyes.
One of their unique features is a furry membrane called a patagium, which extends between their front and rear legs that helps them glide from tree to tree.
These nocturnal animals consume eggs, fruit, nuts, mushrooms, small birds, carrion, etc. Unfortunately, not many people are lucky enough to see them in their lifetime because they only come out at night.
Can You Hunt Squirrels In Missouri
The Eastern gray squirrel and fox squirrel are classified as small game animals. Therefore, licensed hunters can legally hunt these pests in any of the 125 counties or specific hunting zones.
The early morning and late afternoon are the best times to hunt squirrels because they are most active during these times. Squirrels are diurnal animals, meaning they are active during the day and sleep at night.
Below is a table of the squirrel hunting season and daily bag limits.
|Season Dates||Bag Limits||Possession Limits|
|May 27 – February 15||10||20|
The dates are subject to change yearly, so check the MDOC website before heading out.
Other Small Game Animals
Missouri offers hunters the opportunity to hunt a variety of small game animals during the regular hunting season, which include:
- Other small furbearers
Can You Hunt Tree And Ground Squirrels In Missouri?
Ground squirrels are not classified as game mammals, meaning it is illegal to hunt them. Contact the Department of Conservation for details on controlling nuisance ground squirrels on your property.
Is Trapping Legal In Missouri?
Live trapping squirrels is legal. However, homeowners must adhere to local ordinances or regulations concerning trapping and wildlife control.
Place traps in areas frequented by squirrels, such as near trees, fences, or buildings.
This will increase the likelihood of capturing the target animal and minimize the chance of trapping non-target species. Proper baiting and positioning techniques can also help maximize trapping success.
Do You Need A License to Hunt Squirrels In Missouri?
Anyone 16-64 must possess a valid license or permit to hunt legally.
Below are the different types of licenses offered.
Types of Hunting Licenses In Missouri
- Missouri Resident: Anyone who has lived in Missouri for 30 consecutive days. This includes active-duty military and non-resident students attending an accredited school.
- Non-Resident Hunting License: A non-resident is anyone who resides in another state or has lived in Missouri for less than 30 days.
- Youth Hunting License: Residents 15 years of age can hunt for squirrels without a permit if they have a hunter education card.
- Senior Hunting License: Residents 65 years old can hunt wildlife (except turkey or deer) without a permit or license.
- Military and Veteran License: Active duty military members stationed at any of the three military bases can purchase a resident license.
Missouri hunting licenses are valid from the date of purchase through February of the following year.
You can purchase a hunting license online by visiting the Missouri Department of Conservation website or calling 1-800-392-4115.
The table below shows the license type and fees associated with each license.
|Deer Hunting Permit||$7.00||$25.00|
|Turkey Hunting Permit||$13.00||$130.00|
|Federal Duck Stamp||$25.00||N/A|
The fees may change, so be sure to check the Missouri Department of Conservation website for the most updated information.
Can You Shoot Squirrels On Your Property In Missouri?
It is generally illegal for homeowners to shoot an animal in their backyard unless they are in immediate danger and need to defend themselves or others.
The state has strict hunting and firearm use regulations, and discharging firearms within city limits is usually prohibited.
Can You Poison Squirrels In Missouri?
It is illegal to use poisons or toxicants) on squirrels and other wildlife, except for rats and mice.
The use of poison to control wildlife is highly discouraged. All toxicants must be registered with the EPA and state regulatory agencies and can only be used by licensed professionals or government agency personnel.
If you use rodenticides, follow all instructions carefully and store the product safely out of reach of children or pets.
Be sure to check with local authorities for any special regulations regarding the use of toxicants in your area.
In addition, it is essential to remember that baits and toxins used on one species may be attractive to another, including birds.
How Do I Get Rid of Squirrels Permanently?
If you need to get rid of squirrels on your property, 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.
Below are some tips to help protect your home and yard from these rodents.
1. Seal up any potential entry points: Inspect your home for any holes or gaps in the exterior, and seal them up with caulk or mesh wire. Also, pay attention to areas around the roof, eaves, and attic vents.
2. Remove food sources: Squirrels are attracted to bird feeders, so consider taking them down or using squirrel-proof feeders. Also, keep trash cans tightly sealed and remove fallen fruit from trees.
3. Use repellents: Several natural and commercial repellents can be used to deter squirrels, such as hot pepper spray, predator urine, and mothballs. Place them around areas where squirrels are active.
4. Install barriers: Install metal barriers around trees and bird feeders to prevent squirrels from climbing up. Also, use mesh wire to create a barrier around gardens or other areas where squirrels may be digging.
5. Call a professional: If you are having trouble keeping squirrels out of your home or yard, consider calling a professional wildlife removal company. They can help identify entry points and develop a plan to safely and humanely remove squirrels from your property.
Can You Relocate Squirrels In Missouri?
According to Missouri law, it is illegal to relocate squirrels without a permit from the Missouri Department of Conservation (source: Missouri Department of Conservation).
This is because relocating squirrels can cause various problems, including spreading disease, disrupting local ecosystems, and causing harm to the animals.
Unfortunately, most squirrels don’t survive relocation, and it is considered inhumane.
Professional Squirrel Removal Services In Missouri
The best way to get rid of nuisance squirrels damaging your yard or home is to contact a professional.
There are several squirrel removal companies throughout Missouri. Below are some companies that deal with pest removal, including squirrels.
- Wildlife Command Center located in Springfield Missouri
- Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions – Squirrel removal professionals located in St. Louis, Missouri
- Xceptional Wildlife Removal – Located in Kansas City
These professionals are trained and experienced in dealing with nuisance wildlife. They can help you remove the animals safely and humanely.
Before hiring a wildlife control company, make sure they are licensed to do business in your state.
You should also check for reviews online and ask for references. This will ensure that you’re hiring a reliable company.
Other Nuisance Wildlife In Missouri
With 15 million acres of forest land, unfortunately, homeowners will experience conflicts with several types of wildlife.
Below are some of the nuisance animals you will find throughout the state.
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.
Homeowners can legally trap, shoot, and euthanize squirrels during the regular hunting season. However, according to Statute 3 CSR 10-4.130, homeowners can shoot, trap or kill squirrels that are causing damage to their home, crops, garden, etc., outside of the regular hunting season without a permit.
In most cases, the most economical way to reduce nuisance problems with squirrels and other animals is to create physical barriers and use one or more of the repellent options listed in this article.
If all else fails, contact a licensed wildlife control company. These specialists are trained to safely and humanely remove pests from your property.
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