Little America comprises 10,460 square miles of land and water, with over 214,000 acres of forest land. Making it home to different wildlife, including flying, ground, and tree squirrels. Unfortunately, tree squirrels have become a nuisance in some Maryland communities, and trapping or killing them is often seen as a viable solution. But before you take matters into your own hands, it’s essential to understand the legalities, which we’ll discuss below.
Is It Illegal To Trap Squirrels In Maryland?
According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, homeowners are prohibited from shooting, tapping, or killing any wildlife outside of regulated hunting seasons. Exceptions are made for wildlife that causes damage to property, business, or crops or is a threat to public health. However, to legally shoot, hunt, or relocate a squirrel, you must apply for a free landowner trapping permit.
Maryland is home to five species of squirrels, gray, red, eastern fox squirrel, Delmarva fox squirrel, and the southern flying squirrel. As homeowners, we need to learn how to live with wildlife.
However, you need to know your rights if you’re having a squirrel problem. So here’s everything you need to know about trapping, hunting, and killing squirrels in Maryland.
Can You Hunt Squirrels In Maryland?
Maryland categorizes squirrels as a small game, meaning you can hunt them but must have the necessary permits. Small game hunting runs from early September through the end of February.
Below is a table of the small game seasons, species, and bag limits.
|Mammal Species||Dates||Counties||Bag Limit|
|Eastern Cotton Tail Rabbits||Nov. 5 – Feb. 28||All MD Counties||4 per day|
|Eastern Fox Squirrel and Gray Squirrels||Sept. 3 – Feb. 28||All MD Counties||6 per day|
|Red or Piney Squirrels||Sept. 3 – Feb. 28||All MD Counties||No limit|
The Delmarva Fox squirrel is protected, meaning you cannot hunt it.
Is Trapping Squirrels Legal In Maryland?
Yes, but before trapping any wildlife, you must possess a free landowner trapping permit. To obtain a permit, contact the USDA Wildlife Services at 1-877-463-6497.
The permit allows residents to legally trap and relocate tree squirrels, chipmunks, porcupines, woodchucks, and rabbits.
The wildlife damage control operator permit allows individuals to trap, euthanize, or relocate problematic animals damaging businesses, homes, or crops.
Businesses or individuals offering wildlife removal services must possess the license.
A trapping permit is not to be confused with a hunting license issued through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR).
Do You Need A License to Hunt Squirrel In Maryland?
Maryland residents and non-residents must possess a valid hunting license to hunt any game or small mammals. You can get a license from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website or download the AccessDNR mobile app.
The app is available for Android and IOS users. Licenses fees will vary depending on the type of license you purchase. For more information on permits, licenses, and prices, click here.
Can You Shoot Squirrels On Your Property In Maryland?
Residents are prohibited from shooting squirrels or other wildlife outside the regular hunting season. Anyone caught doing so will face serious legal consequences.
If you feel that a squirrel is causing damage to your property or threatening public health, you must apply for a free landowner trapping permit.
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 Maryland.
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 Maryland?
Only residents with a valid land owner 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.
According to the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 08.03.15.24, it is illegal to relocate skunks, foxes, raccoons, and other rabies-vector species. This restriction is necessary to prevent the spread of diseases from animals to humans.
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 Florida 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 Maryland?
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.
It is illegal to kill, shoot, or trap any wildlife in Maryland unless it is during regular hunting season or you possess a free landowner trapping permit.
If you’re experiencing wildlife nuisance problems, your best option is to contact a professional wildlife removal service that can provide safe and humane solutions.
They know local laws, animal behavior, and the specialized traps needed for quick removal.
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