The Sunshine state is home to different wildlife species, including tree, ground, and flying squirrels. Some people enjoy hunting or seek ways to rid the pesky rodents of their property. Before killing, shooting, or trapping squirrels in Florida, keep in mind the state has strict anti-cruelty laws that prevent inhumane treatment or the killing of any wildlife. So, let’s look at how to do it legally.
Is It Illegal To Trap Squirrels In Florida?
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, it is legal to hunt gray squirrels during regular hunting season. Unfortunately, squirrels, chipmunks, and other rodent species are not considered pests, and considers it illegal to trap and relocate wildlife on public land.
Florida is home to five species of squirrels; unfortunately, they can be a nuisance to homeowners. So what is one to do when faced with a pesky squirrel issue?
Let’s find out how to get rid of these pests and the legalities, licenses, and penalties for residents.
Is Trapping Legal In Florida?
There are no laws stating you can’t trap squirrels. Residents can make habitat modifications, use deterrents, or trap animals humanely.
Sherman traps are the most popular way to catch squirrels in Florida. The traps cost $15-$20 each and can be reused multiple times.
You must also understand the local laws before trapping any animal on your property or in public areas. Before trapping an animal, make sure you have a plan of what you will do with the trapped squirrel.
If you’re unsure what to do or how to release it, the best thing to do is to contact animal control.
There are strict regulations on what you can do with a trapped animal.
The only animals that are prohibited from trapping are:
- Any bird protected by the Migratory Bird Act
- Black Bears
When Is Squirrel Hunting Season In Florida?
Florida offers a squirrel hunting season for licensed hunters that runs from October 8 to March 5. Gray squirrels are the only species that are legal to hunt.
All hunters must understand the differences between Fox and gray squirrels because it is illegal to shoot them. According to the FWC’s website, there is a daily bag limit of 12 rabbits, but no limits on other species.
Residents can hunt squirrels with bow and arrows, ammunition, crossbows, or firearms.
Do You Need A License to Hunt Squirrel In Florida?
Residents must have a valid hunting license and follow all regulations set by the FWC. A hunting license can be purchased online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com, at the tax collector’s office or license agent, or by calling 888-HUNT-FLORIDA (888-486-8356).
A fishing license is valid for 12 months from the date of purchase. Below are the fees for the different types of hunting licenses you can purchase:
- Annual Resident: $17.00
- Five-Year Resident: $79.00
- Annual Non-Resident: $151.50
- Ten-Day Non-Resident: $46.50
Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, must complete a hunter safety to acquire a hunting license.
Can You Shoot Squirrels On Your Property In Florida?
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FFWC), you must possess a Gun & Light Permit, which authorizes individuals to shoot depredating wildlife that causes damage or destruction to crops or wildlife.
The list of depredating animals consists of the following animals:
The permit does not list squirrels as an animal you can shoot, so you’ll want to consult the FFWC to determine the legality of shooting a squirrel on your property.
That said, anyone causing damage or injuries while shooting a squirrel or other wildlife on their property is subject to face criminal charges and will be held liable for the damages.
The take away you can shoot squirrels on your property if they’re causing damage, but you need to use caution and consult with an attorney beforehand.
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 methods of control, such as poison, are inhumane and illegal in Florida.
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 Florida?
According to the Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission, it is illegal to trap and relocate animals to another area. It is illegal because it doesn’t work. Instead, it moves the problematic animal elsewhere.
The only exceptions to relocating squirrels and other wildlife in Florida are; if you release them to other areas on your property or another property in the same county with at least 40 acres for the animal to survive.
Without written permission, it is illegal to release an animal on another homeowner’s property.
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 designed specifically for squirrels, making their removal much easier.
Several services throughout Florida specialize in animal removal.
Be sure to do your 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 Florida?
It is illegal to possess, trap, hunt, or transport wild animals except as permitted. The only exception is authorized employees of federal, state, and local government agencies and individuals holding a valid Commercial Nuisance Animal permit issued by the Department of Wildlife authorities.
Anyone found trapping or illegally killing wild animals is subject to fines and penalties, including possible jail time.
The biggest squirrel nuisances in Florida are the Eastern Gray Squirrel and flying squirrels. Florida believes humans and animals must learn how to coexist and has strict laws protecting wildlife’s welfare.
That said, it is legal to hunt gray squirrels during the regular hunting season, which runs from October 8 through March 5.
Although squirrels may be annoying, it is important to remember that they are living creatures and must be treated with respect.
Taking action to remove them from your property humanely is the best way to keep you and the animals safe. If you need help, contact a professional wildlife control specialist who can safely and effectively trap and remove them from your property.
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