Do You Need A Hunting License to Shoot Squirrels?

do you need a hunting license to shoot squirrels

You might be an avid hunter who wants to know if you need a license to hunt squirrels, or you might have a squirrel problem on your property and wonder if it is legal to kill or trap the little critters. So is a hunting license needed to shoot some pesky squirrels?

A hunting license is required to hunt squirrels, depending on your method. License requirements vary by state, so check with your local State Parks Department. In addition, some squirrels, such as the gray, black, fox, and certain ground species, can only be killed during hunting season.

Acquiring a license is not the only step involved in this process. So, let’s delve a little deeper into the sport of hunting squirrels. If you are a hunter or are interested in hunting squirrels, be sure to read on because we will provide you with some tips and advice for hunting squirrels.

Is A License Or Permit Needed To Hunt Squirrels?

You may have squirrels that are a nuisance, health issue, or ruining your yard. For example, your bird feeder, open trash cans, garden, or dog or cat food on your porch may attract squirrels. 

First, examine why the squirrels are on your property before taking lethal action. 

The Department of Environmental Conservation classifies “nuisance” animals as protected or unprotected. Protected squirrels include the gray, black, and fox species and also some species of ground squirrels. 

A small game hunting license may be necessary, depending on your method of hunting.

  • Regulations and a fixed hunting season control the sport of hunting protected squirrels, what may be used, and how many you can hunt daily. 
  • Off-season hunting will need written authorization.
  • Carcasses must be buried or incinerated within 24 hours after blasting.

Red squirrels and some ground squirrels are unprotected in most states and can be hunted anytime. However, a small game hunting license may be necessary, depending on your hunting method.

  • No limitations on shootings.
  • Carcasses must be buried or incinerated within 24 hours after shooting.

Because the sporting of squirrels is state regulated, you should check with your local State Parks Department to see what permission is required. If you want to hunt squirrels, permit requirements differ from state to state, and you may be restricted by place, time of year, or day. 

Many state-owned parks permit squirrel hunting. When stalking on private property, you may require permission from the landowner.

Where Will I Find Squirrels To Hunt?

Tree-dwelling squirrels may be found in almost every region of the United States. They prefer heavily forested woods with hardwood trees like ash, oak, and hickory, where food is plentiful.

Squirrel hunting is best done near a water supply since trees near a water source tend to produce more fruit and nuts. If you plan on hunting near a water source, be sure you have knee or hip waders

Keep an eye out for telltale indicators of squirrel activity, such as the scattering of broken acorns, nuts, and bark.

When Is The Best Time To Find And Hunt Squirrels?

Squirrels begin stockpiling food for the winter in the early to mid-fall months. Squirrels are most busy in the morning as they forage for food, pausing during the warmest part of the day. In the late afternoon and evening, as that’s the time they forage for food.

Of course, this is subject to change based on species. Gray squirrels, for example, begin foraging as soon as the sun rises. On the other hand, between the second and fourth hours after sunrise, fox squirrels are at their most active.

Squirrels’ fondness for bright, sunny weather is why they prefer to spend much of their time perched on trees. Squirrels congregate near the base of trees to protect themselves from the elements, so if you want to find one on the ground, wait till it’s lightly raining or foggy.

The Way to Hunt Squirrels?

Squirrel hunting doesn’t require munitions. Crossbow hunting is also popular, but squirrels are only about a foot long and move swiftly, so be prepared to test your aim and accuracy skills.

Another method is to use animal traps. That said, some states implement rules and regulations that prevent the taking of squirrels using traps. So, you’ll want to check the rules and regulations of your state.  

Consider using a small-game-specific broadhead since bigger broadheads would decimate a squirrel’s flesh. Before pulling the trigger, consider where you’ll shoot the squirrel because unpinning it from a tree can be difficult.

Hunting Tips For Finding And Shooting Squirrels

Passive and aggressive hunting are the two methods available for taking down squirrels. Passive hunting comprises selecting a location and waiting and hoping that the squirrels will approach you, while active hunting requires chasing squirrels through the woods. Squirrels can be successfully hunted using these two methods, but there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of success:

  1. Wait for the right time. Hunting squirrels requires patience. Wait for the squirrel to stop moving before shooting it.
  2. Wear clothes that disguise you. Wear neutral or camouflage clothing to blend in and surprise your victim. Some parks require high-visibility orange vests so other hunters don’t shoot you by mistake.
  3. Carry small rocks. Toss a rock at a squirrel hiding behind a tree to scare it off. These swift animals may quickly climb trees, so be ready to shoot.
  4. Try not to make too much noise. Fearful squirrels are scared away by loud noises. Careful walking prevents stepping on sticks and making noise.
  5. Take time to listen. More critical than sight is listening. In a quiet setting, you can hear squirrels chattering, scratching, and sticks or leaves falling.
  6. Use the position of the sun. Keep the sun behind you to reduce the squirrel’s visibility. Having the sun behind you also makes it easier for you to stalk accurately.
  7. Consider getting a dog. Squirrel-hunting dogs find squirrels quickly. Your dog will bark when a squirrel is trapped in a tree when chasing it.


Squirrels can sometimes be considered pests, but we cannot simply shoot them. It is best to find out the rules and regulations where you live. You will most likely need to get a hunting license or permit. 

Some people enjoy the sport of hunting squirrels. After reading, you should know where you’ll find squirrels, the best time to hunt them, the best methods, and a few tips and tricks to help you catch a squirrel

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