The Centennial State comprises almost 24.5 million acres of forested landscape, combining deciduous and coniferous tree species. This environment is the perfect home for rodents such as; squirrels, marmots, wood rats, porcupines, voles, etc. Unfortunately, many of these rodents cause damage to property, crops, and gardens in urban areas. So what are the legalities of trapping, hunting, and killing squirrels in Colorado?
According to Colorado’s nuisance wildlife laws, a homeowner may hunt, trap, or kill the thirteen-lined ground squirrels, prairie dogs, pocket gophers, tree squirrels, ground squirrels, Richardson’s ground squirrels, etc., without securing a license, if it is causing damage to their property.
Colorado is home to two categories of squirrels, tree squirrels and ground squirrels. Unfortunately, many of these squirrels have adapted to living in urban areas, where they can cause damage to property or crops.
According to the Alpine Wildlife Control professionals, the Fox squirrel is the most common nuisance to homeowners in Colorado,
As a homeowner, it’s essential to understand the law before taking action with nuisance squirrels.
Let’s find out how to get rid of these pests and the legalities, licenses, and penalties for residents.
Is It Illegal To Trap Squirrels In Colorado?
According to Section 12, Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution agriculture, it is legal for homeowners to use trapping or other methods to control nuisance animals that are causing damage to their crops, property, or gardens without needing a special license or permit.
Is Trapping Legal In Colorado?
However, in 1996 the state banned the use of the inhumane methods of body grip devices, foothold traps, and cable device traps for hunting or damage control without the proper 30-day permit.
Residents with the permit can use body grip devices for birds, rats, and mice.
Instead, homeowners must use live traps to capture unwanted animals and rodents. You can use live traps day or night, but you must check them at least once daily.
Do You Need A License to Hunt Squirrel In Colorado?
Anyone 12 years and older must possess a valid hunting license during the regular hunting season.
At the time of this writing, Colorado residents can purchase the following types of hunting licenses:
- Colorado Resident: Anyone who has resided in the state for at least six months or meets the state’s requirements for new residents.
- Non-Resident Hunting License: Anyone who has not lived in the state for at least six months. Non-residents ages 18-64 must purchase the Habitat Stamp before applying for a hunting license.
- Youth Hunting License: Residents under 18 years of age or non-residents ages 12-18.
- Senior Hunting License: Hunters born before August 1, 1953, or turn 65 years of age before purchasing a license.
- Military and Veteran License: Active duty military members stationed at any of the six military bases in the state can purchase a resident hunting license.
You can purchase a hunting license online by visiting the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website or calling 1-800-244-5613. The table below shows the license type and fees associated with each license.
|License||Resident Fee||Non-Resident Fee|
|Small Game & Furbearer (under 18 years of age)||$1.31||$1.31|
|Small Game & Fishing Combo||$52.60||N/A|
|Annual Habitat Stamp||$10.59||$10.59|
|Senior Lifetime Fishing & Annual Small Game||$22.56||N/A|
Fees are subject to change, so please check the website for the updated and correct fees.
When Is Squirrel Hunting Season In Colorado?
You can hunt three types of squirrels in Colorado; Albert’s squirrels, Fox, and Pine squirrels. Below is a table of the small game animals, hunting dates, and bag limits.
|Small Game Animals||Dates||Bag Limits|
|Fox Squirrels||October 1, 2022 – February 28, 2023||5|
|Pine Squirrels||October 1, 2022 – February 28, 2023||5|
|Albert’s Squirrel||November 15, 2022 – January 15, 2023||N/A|
|Marmot||August 10, 2022 – October 12, 2022||N/A|
|Wyoming (Richardson’s) ground squirrel||Year-round||N/A|
|Prairie dogs: Gunnison’s, white-tailed, and black-tailed||June 15, 2022 – February 28, 2023|
|Snowshoe hare, black-tailed and white-tailed jackrabbits||October 1, 2022 – February 28, 2023|
It is important to note that the dates can change from year to year, so check the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website before heading to the woods.
Can You Shoot Squirrels On Your Property In Colorado?
The rules and regulations regarding the discharge of firearms on personal property depend on Colorado’s local and county ordinances.
For instance, it is legal for residents to kill nuisance animals in Denver. However, it is illegal for residents, other than law enforcement officers, to discharge any firearm within the city limits.
Instead, Denver residents must dial 311, which puts them in contact with the city services department.
Homeowners must check with local law enforcement before discharging any firearms on their property.
Can You Poison Squirrels In Colorado?
Over-the-counter toxicants such as; poison baits, Squirrel poisons (rodenticide), and other toxicants are legal for use on rock squirrels, Richardson’s ground squirrels, markets, and other rodents causing damage to personal property.
Homeowners must use the poison for the species indicated on the box and follow the label instructions.
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.
First, it’s essential to know that lethal control methods, such as poison, are inhumane and illegal in Colorado.
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 Colorado?
Before trapping and relocating squirrels, homeowners must get Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department permission. In addition, relocating squirrels in historical sites, game lands, or other state-owned property is illegal.
Instead, you must release the rodent within ten miles of where it was captured. This allows the squirrel to remain in a familiar environment to increase its chances of survival.
It is also important to remember that young squirrels can’t survive away from their mother, so you must release an entire family together for them to have a chance at survival.
Releasing an animal on another homeowner’s property is illegal without written permission. In addition, it’s inhumane, as most animals don’t survive the relocation.
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 more straightforward.
Several services throughout Colorado specialize in animal removal.
Be sure to perform your due diligence and choose a service with a good reputation, is licensed and insured, and offers humane solutions for squirrels.
It is legal for Colorado residents to protect their property and crops from nuisance animals, including ground and tree squirrels. However, you must use a live trap unless you apply for a 30-day trapping permit that allows you to use body grip devices, cable device traps, and foothold traps.
Colorado laws state residents must release squirrels and other nuisance animals within ten miles of where it was trapped.
It’s always best to contact a local wildlife removal specialist for advice and assistance with nuisance squirrels. These professionals will ensure the animals are removed safely and humanely while also taking steps to prevent them from returning.
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