Can You Hunt Trap And Kill Squirrels In New York? [Laws & More]

can you hunt trap and kill squirrels in New York

“The Empire State” is home to over 20 million people and has 18.6 million acres of land. It is home to deciduous and coniferous trees, which attract various wildlife species, such as; owls, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, etc. Residents must understand the laws and regulations to help them deal with nuisance squirrels when damaging property.

Gray, Black, and Fox squirrels are classified as small game animals. You can legally hunt and trap squirrels during hunting season with a valid license. Homeowners can humanely live trap squirrels on their property. However, relocating them to another area, including public parks, is illegal.

The Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is considered the biggest nuisance squirrel species in New York.

These squirrels are found throughout the state and are known for their ability to adapt to urban and suburban environments. 

Gray squirrels are notorious for raiding bird feeders, chewing on electrical wires, and nesting in attics and chimneys. 

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 New York. But before we get into the laws and regulations, let’s look at New York’s most common types of squirrels.

Types of Squirrels Found In New York?

There are over 65 different species of squirrels throughout the United States, including 24 species of ground squirrels. 

New York is home to five 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.

Fox Squirrel

The Fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) is the largest species of tree squirrel found in North America, including New York.

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 in length, including their tail. 

Like their cousins, their diet consists primarily of nuts, seeds, fruits, insects, and small animals.

Red Squirrel

The Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is a small tree squirrel species native to Europe and northern Asia and found in some parts of North America, including New York.

Red squirrels have a distinctive reddish-brown fur on their backs, with a white underbelly and a bushy tail. 

These rodents are known for their vocalizations, which include a high-pitched bark and a trill.

Northern And Southern Flying Squirrels

The Southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) and the Northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) are two species of small, nocturnal tree squirrels found in North America, including New York.

Southern flying squirrels are smaller than their northern counterparts, measuring 8 and 10 inches long. They have brownish-gray fur on their backs, with a white underbelly and large, dark eyes. 

The Southern flying squirrels are found in deciduous and mixed woods in the eastern half of North America, from southeastern Canada to Florida.

Northern flying squirrels are slightly larger, measuring between 10 and 12 inches in length. They have grayish-brown fur on their backs, with a white underbelly and large, dark eyes.

The Northern flying squirrels are found in coniferous and mixed forests in the northern United States and Canada, including parts of New York.

Can You Hunt Squirrels In New York

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, hunting enthusiasts can hunt Gray, Black, and Fox squirrels. The hunting season falls on two different dates throughout the state.

Below is a table of the squirrel hunting season and daily bag limits.

Hunting SeasonSpeciesDaily Bag LimitsHunting Zone
September 1 – February 28Gray, Black and Fox6Southern
November 1 – February 28Gray, Black and Fox6Northern

Consult the Department of Environmental Conservation hunting seasons and regulations website for a detailed and updated table of the hunting seasons, daily bag limits, etc.

Red squirrels are unprotected, you can hunt them throughout the year without any limitations.

Can You Hunt Tree And Ground Squirrels In New York?

At the time of this writing, it is illegal to hunt ground squirrels in the state of New York. 

The fox, black, and gray squirrels are small game animals. 

That said, check with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for the most updated information on hunting regulations.

Is Trapping Legal In New York?

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 New York?

Anyone 12 years and older must possess a valid hunting license to hunt legally in New York. That said, the following hunters are exempt from possessing a license.

  • Residents under the age of 16 and hunting small game with a crossbow.
  • Residents of New York State who are 70 years of age or older and have a valid driver’s license or non-driver ID issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Native American hunters who are members of a federally recognized tribe and who are hunting on reservation land

Types of Hunting Licenses In New York

At the time of this writing, New York residents can purchase the following types of hunting licenses:

  •  New York Resident: Anyone who has lived in New York for 30 consecutive days. 
  • Non-Resident Hunting License: A non-resident is anyone who resides in another state or has lived in New York for less than 30 days.
  • Youth Hunting License: Residents and non-residents 12-15 may qualify for a reduced-fee hunting license.
  • Senior Hunting License: Residents 70 can purchase a reduced-fee hunting license.
  • Military and Veteran License: Active duty military members stationed at any of the five military bases can purchase a resident license.

Hunters can purchase licenses and permit yearly beginning September 1 and expire on August 31 of the following year.

You can purchase a hunting license online by visiting the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website or calling 1-866-933-2257.

The table below shows the license type and fees associated with each license.

Hunting and Permit Fees

AgeResident FeesNon-Resident Fees
12-15 Years Old$5$5
16-69 Years Old$22$100

Can You Shoot Squirrels On Your Property In New York?

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 a firearm within city limits is usually prohibited. 

Can You Poison Squirrels In New York?

Using rodenticides on any animal, including squirrels, is illegal except in very limited circumstances. 

The use of poison to control wildlife is highly regulated and requires a permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

That said, most people won’t be given a permit. Instead, the state recommends using non-lethal squirrel control methods, including habitat modification, exclusion techniques, and utilizing professional services.

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.

That said, 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 New York?

According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, moving or relocating any wildlife (including squirrels) from your property is illegal. 

If you live trap an animal, you must release it on the property where it was captured.

Contact a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator (NWCO) in your county to have them professionally remove the animal from your property. These professionals are licensed by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

These companies charge a fee for their services, so make sure you perform your due diligence and ask in advance what their fees are.

Professional Squirrel Removal Services In New York

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 New York. 

Below are some companies that deal with pest removal, including squirrels.

  • Animal Control NYC
  • Top Notch Pest Control
  • Victory Wildlife & Pest Removal
  • Squirrel Removal – Pro New York City
  • Universal Pest Control

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 New York

With 18.6 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.

  • Groundhogs
  • Snakes
  • Squirrels
  • Opossums
  • Coyotes
  • Rats
  • Deer
  • Feral Cats
  • Mice
  • Raccoons

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. 

Final Word

Hunting, trapping, and killing squirrels in New York is legal but can only be done during the regular hunting season. Homeowners must use humane methods to euthanize and control nuisance squirrels.

New York, like other states, encourages residents to learn how to resolve wildlife conflicts by making simple changes such as; removing attractants, cleaning their yards, etc.

Unfortunately, as we increase land development, we reduce the natural habitat of these animals, so it is vital to take steps to coexist with them.

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