The Tar Heel State comprises 57% (18.3) million acres of forestland. North Carolina’s forests consist of oak, pines, maple, and other hardwood species. Making it the perfect environment for tree and ground squirrels. Unfortunately, these rodents have made their way to urban areas, becoming a nuisance for homeowners. So what are the legalities of trapping, hunting, and killing squirrels in North Carolina?
North Carolinian homeowners must obtain a depredating wildlife permit from the Wildlife Commission, allowing landowners to kill, shoot, or trap any wildlife causing damage to their property.
North Carolina is home to tree and ground squirrels. However, the Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is the most common nuisance for homeowners.
The rodents can cause damage to homes by chewing on siding, insulation, gutter guards, and wiring. They also dig up gardens, raid bird feeders, and try to make their way inside your home.
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 North Carolina?
According to the North Carolina Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, hunting and trapping the fox, red and gray squirrel is legal during the regular hunting season.
However, homeowners may shoot or kill one nuisance animal (including squirrels) without a permit.
Is Trapping Legal In North Carolina?
Before trapping squirrels for pest control, check your local and state laws first. If a permit is required, obtain it before starting any trapping activities.
Failure to comply with the law can result in hefty fines or even jail time.
When Is Squirrel Hunting Season In North Carolina?
Hunting enthusiasts can hunt specific species of squirrels, as North Carolina classifies them as small game animals. Below is a small game hunting season calendar for squirrels and other animals.
|Small Game Animal||Dates||Bag Limits|
|Groundhog||No closed season||No limit|
|Opossum||October 17, 2022 – February 28, 2023||No limit|
|Red & Fox Squirrel||October 17, 2022 – February 2023||8 daily|
|Fox Squirrel||October 17, 2022 – January 31, 2023||8 daily|
|Rabbits||October 17, 2022 – February 28, 2023||5 daily|
|Raccoon||October 17, 2022 – February 28, 2023||No limit|
It is important to note that the dates can change from year to year, so check the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission website before heading to the woods.
Do You Need A License to Hunt Squirrel In North Carolina?
Anyone over 16 years of age must possess a valid hunting license. Those under 16 may hunt without a license if accompanied by a licensed adult or have completed a hunter education certification.
You can purchase a hunting, fishing, and trapping license by visiting the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission website. Fees will vary depending on the type of license you purchase.
At the time of this writing, North Carolina residents can purchase the following types of hunting licenses:
- North Carolina Resident: Anyone who has resided in the state for at least six months or has lived in their permanent residents for 60 days.
- Non-Resident Hunting License: Anyone who has not lived in the state for at least six months.
- Youth Hunting License: Any hunter under 16 years of age.
- Senior Hunting License: Hunters born before August 1, 1953, or turn 65 years of age before purchasing a license.
- Military and Veteran License: Non-resident active duty military individuals visiting NC can purchase a military license valid for no more than 30 days while on leave.
Hunting licenses are valid for 12 months after the date of purchase and must be renewed yearly. The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission offers lifetime hunting licenses for residents and non-residents; click this link for the list of fees.
Can You Shoot Squirrels On Your Property In North Carolina?
The rules and regulations regarding the discharge of firearms on a personal property depends on the local and county ordinances in North Carolina.
Rural areas along the Outer Banks and far west mountains are less populated, so they may have fewer restrictions than the urban areas.
In North Carolina, it is illegal to discharge a weapon within 100 feet of any dwelling. Anyone convicted of discharging a firearm within this range can face criminal charges.
If you choose to shoot nuisance squirrels on your property, use something appropriate for the animal’s size, and discharge it in an area where stray bullets will not endanger people or property.
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 North Carolina.
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 North Carolina?
According to the North Carolina Nuisance Wildlife Control, you cannot relocate animals in parts, historical sites, game lands, or any other state-owned property.
Instead, you can relocate them onto private property as long as you have the landowner’s written permission.
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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina residents to remove, kill, or relocate nuisance squirrels on their property. However, you must obtain a depredating wildlife permit from the Wildlife Commission.
The permit allows homeowners to take the life of any wild animal causing damage, such as a squirrel, raccoon, etc.
Anyone who feels uncomfortable killing an animal or is looking for humane methods should consider hiring a professional animal removal service.
They can help identify the animals’ entry points, remove them safely from your property and take steps to prevent their return in the future.
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