If you’re a Virginia resident who’s dealing with a squirrel problem, you may be wondering what the laws are for getting rid of them. Perhaps you’ve seen the damage to your home or property and want to take action but aren’t sure if it’s legal.
Is It Illegal To Trap Squirrels In Virginia?
According to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resource, it is illegal in the State of Virginia to trap and relocate animals (including squirrels) to another area. Squirrels are considered small game animals and can be hunted, trapped, and killed during Virginia’s hunting season, which takes place throughout the year.
Virginia 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 Virginia?
No, according to the Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), it is illegal for residents to trap or relocate any wildlife to another area.
Instead, the DWR has developed a trapper tool for residents to locate and contact commercial nuisance animal permit (CNAP) holders and licensed trappers who can help them with their problems.
The Trapper Finder Tool makes it easy to locate a trapper or CNAP within a 25-mile radius of your location. To use the tool, you will need to enter the following:
- Nuisance species
- The county you reside
- Your location
The tool will filter through the database and provide information on licensed trappers or CNAP holders within a 25-mile radius. Unfortunately, the service providers are not DWR employees, and the DWR cannot guarantee the quality of services.
When Is Squirrel Hunting Season In Virginia?
In Virginia, small game animals have different hunting seasons, including squirrels. The hunting season typically begins in early fall, lasts until late winter, and has a daily bag limit of 6 squirrels.
The dates vary depending on the squirrel species.
For example, the hunting season for red and grey squirrels begins on September 3rd and goes until January 31st for designated counties only.
During the Spring hunting season, both red and gray squirrels can be harvested statewide, except on National Forest lands or otherwise posted.
These dates and regulations can change, so it’s essential to consult the DWR website for the most up-to-date information.
Do You Need A License to Hunt Squirrel In Virginia?
According to the DWR, a hunting license is required for both residents and non-residents unless you are license-exempt. The types of permits and licenses required will depend on the type of wildlife and the location of the hunt.
- Virginia Residents: A resident of Virginia is someone who has maintained a permanent residence for 183 days or more during one calendar year.
- Non-Resident: An individual that receives taxable income from Virginia but does not reside in the Commonwealth state.
Once you determine your residency, you can invest in the proper license and permits. Below is a snapshot of the different types of resident hunting licenses and fees.
|Type of License||Fee|
|Resident Sportsman License (age 16 and older)||$100.00|
|Resident Junior Hunting License||$8.50|
|Resident Youth Combination Hunting License||$16.00|
|Resident Hunting License||$23 – $86|
|Resident County or City Hunting License||$16.00|
|Resident Apprentice Hunting License||$11.00|
|Resident Senior Citizen Hunting License||$9.00|
|Resident Fox Hunting License||$23.00|
Since the passage of the SB8 law, Virginia hunters have been allowed to hunt on public lands on Sundays. At one point, the “Blue Law” made hunting illegal on Sundays.
Can You Shoot Squirrels On Your Property In Virginia?
According to the VA Code § 29.1-517, landowners may trap and shoot fur-bearing animals on their own land outside of the regular hunting season if the animals are damaging their crops and property or just causing nuisance issues.
The following people can kill rabbits or squirrels throughout the year with a permit obtained by the conservation police officer.
- A landowner or their immediate family
- Tenants residing on the land, with written permission from the landowner
- Resident members belonging to hunting clubs that own the land
That said, anyone causing damage or injuries while shooting a squirrel 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 find yourself in a situation where you need to get rid of squirrels on your property, the best course of 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 important to know that lethal methods of control, such as poison, are not only inhumane but also illegal in Virginia.
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 may 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 Virginia?
According to the DWR, 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.
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.
What Are The Consequences For Illegally Trapping Squirrels In Virginia?
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.
When squirrels become a nuisance for Virginia residents, it’s best to contact a wildlife control specialist to help remove them. Trying to do it yourself can be ineffective, dangerous, and illegal.
If you’re a hunter, it’s best to wait for the regular hunting season to open before taking action. Make sure you understand the law and the potential consequences of breaking it.
It’s also important to take steps to prevent the animals from returning to your property, such as removing food sources and sealing up entry points.
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