Ohio Squirrel Hunting Season [Laws & Regulations]

Ohio squirrel hunting season

Ohio is an outdoor haven, with over 30% of the land being forested with over 200 wildlife game and management areas, which provide habitat for a variety of wildlife species and offer recreational opportunities such as; hunting, fishing, etc. However, the state has implemented several laws and regulations that hunters must abide by. Let’s take a look at them.

Ohio Squirrel Hunting Season

The state offers big and small game hunting. Squirrel hunting consists of red, gray, and fox squirrels and runs from September 01, 2022 – January 31, 2024. Hunting between one-half hour before sunrise to sunset is illegal during the regular hunting season. Ground squirrels, such as; groundhogs, can be hunted year-round without any bag or possession limits. 

All residents and non-residents, regardless of age, must possess a valid hunting license to hunt and trap in Ohio. So, what type of squirrels does the state have, and where are some of the best places to hunt? Well, let’s take a look.

Types of Squirrels In Ohio

The Buckeye state is home to four types of tree squirrels and several species of ground squirrels. These include some of the following:

  1. Eastern Gray Squirrel
  2. Red Squirrel
  3. Eastern Fox Squirrel
  4. Southern Flying Squirrel

As mentioned above, only the gray, fox, and red squirrels are categorized as small game.

It is illegal to trap, kill or harm flying squirrels. The state protects the species, and anyone who handles them must possess a valid permit from the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Where To Hunt Squirrels In Ohio?

There is no shortage of hunting grounds in Ohio. Whether you’re a seasoned or beginner hunter, there are several places to hunt squirrels and other small game animals. 

According to several online forums, some of the best places for squirrel hunting are the following:

The hunting areas contain shrubby coverts, grasslands, trees, and open fields, making them ideal places to hunt squirrels. When searching for a hunting spot, look for areas with hickory, beech, and oak trees; squirrels love them.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) provides more detailed mapping of public hunting and wildlife areas throughout the state. Trapping and hunting is permitted, but hunters must abide by the rules and regulations.

Ohio Squirrel Hunting Regulations

Hunters are responsible for understanding and abiding by the hunting rules and regulations. This entails when hours you can hunt, private and public land, bag limits, safety, equipment, etc.

Many people enjoy hunting squirrels, but the laws differ in every state. Here’s what we found when researching the Ohio squirrel hunting regulations.

Do You Need A License To Hunt Squirrels In Ohio?

Regardless of age, all hunters must possess a valid hunting license during the regular hunting season. Hunters 15 or younger must possess a valid apprentice license and must be accompanied by a licensed adult.

At the time of this writing, Ohio residents can purchase the following types of hunting licenses:

  • Ohio Resident: According to R.C. 5747.01(I)(1), anyone with an abode in the state is an Ohio resident and has resided there for six consecutive months.
  • Non-Resident Hunting License: Anyone 18 or older must possess a valid non-resident license, which costs about $180.96 annually. (prices are subject to change)
  • Youth Hunting License: Residents and non-residents 17 or younger can apply for a youth license, which costs about $10.
  • Military and Veteran License: Active duty military members stationed at any of the four military bases must purchase a resident license. Individuals on leave or furlough are not required to purchase a hunting license.

Before purchasing a license, visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for updated hunting license details.

How To Purchase An Ohio Hunting License

You can purchase a hunting license online by visiting the Ohio Wildlife Licensing System. It’sIt’s also where you enroll in hunter or trapper education courses.

The table below shows the license and fees.

Youth One-Year Hunting License$10.00$10.00
Youth One Year Apprentice License$10.00$10.00
One Year Hunting License$180.96$19.00
Three-Year Hunting LicenseN/A$54.08
Five-Year Hunting LicenseN/A$90.14
Lifetime Hunting LicenseN/A$449.28
Senior One Year Hunting LicenseN/A$10.00
Senior Three-Year Hunting LicenseN/A$27.04
Senior Five-Year Hunting LicenseN/A$45.07
Senior Hunting LicenseN/AFree

Hunting seasons are subject to change, so make sure you check them annually.

Do I Take A Hunters Education Course to Get A Hunting License?

Ohio hunters must successfully complete a state-approved hunter education course before purchasing a hunting license. This course consists of various topics from; conservation, ethics, equipment handling, safety, and more.

Students must score 75% or higher to pass and obtain a certification. 

The state offers individuals the hunter education course in the following formats:

  • Instructor-Led Course: The individual attends a traditional classroom environment lasting 8-12 hours. Once the course work is completed, you must pass the 100 question test.
  • Online Course: Ohio residents 12 years or older can sign up to complete the entire course online, which takes about eight hours to complete.
  • Bowhunter Education Course: Not a requirement in Ohio, but the Bowhunter education course is required in 11 states. Residents 9 years of age or older can sign up for the online course, which consists of questions and quizzes.

Bag Limits

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has implemented a bag limit of six squirrels daily, regardless of species. There is no limit for groundhogs.

Ohio Small Game Animals

Whether you enjoy hunting squirrels or not, Ohio has several small game animals you can hunt. 

Below is a table of the small game animals and dates for Ohio residents and non-residents.

SpeciesHunting Season DatesBag Limits
GroundhogYear-RoundNo Limit
Red, Fox and Gray SquirrelsSeptember 1, 2022 – January 31, 20236
Cottontail RabbitNovember 4, 2022 – February 28, 20234
Fox, Raccoon, Weasel and OpossumNovember 10, 2022 – January 31, 2023No Limit
Ruffed Grouse (private & Public Land)October 8, 2022 – January 1, 2023 (private)
October 8, 2022 – November 27, 2022 (public)
Youth Small GameOctober 22, 2022 – October 23, 2022
October 29, 2022 – October 30, 2022
Same as the regular season

The fees are subject to change, so make sure you check the official Ohio Department of Natural Resources website to see the updated prices.

Hunting Methods

According to Ohio hunting laws and regulations, a longbow or bow, including compound and recurve bows, is the preferred method for hunting squirrels and grouse.

The best time to hunt for squirrels is either early or late in the day. 

Squirrels are more active at dawn and dusk.

It is legal for homeowners to trap or kill nuisance squirrels out of season without a permit. 

Can You Use A Dog To Hunt Squirrels In Ohio?

According to Ohio Administrative Code 1501:31-9-05, dogs can only be used as an aid to pursue, retrieve, point, flush, or bring to bay small game, waterfowl, and furbearer animals.

Allowing your dog to hunt or take tree squirrels or other wildlife is illegal.

Hunters must abide by the rules and regulations of the hunting area. Failure to do so can result in fines.

Can You Hunt From A Motorized Vehicle In Ohio?

In Ohio, a permit is required to hunt from a parked vehicle. It is illegal to hunt, chase or harass wildlife in a vehicle.

Hunters must abide by the rules and regulations of the area they are hunting. Understanding the laws and regulations, failure to do so can result in harsh penalties and fines.

Do You Have To Wear Orange Or Camouflage To Hunt Squirrels?

All hunters (except waterfowl hunters) during deer season must wear orange colored hunting clothing. Unfortunately, the state does not have specific requirements on the type of clothing to wear. 

However, for safety reasons, it’s best to wear visible clothing such as; a jacket, vest, or overalls.

Anyone who causes harm for negligence and failure to abide by the rules is punishable by law in a civil action for injuries or wrongful death.

Equipment and Gear

Equipping yourself with the right gear can make all the difference in your hunting experience. Here is some essential hunting gear:

  • Hunting License and Permit: A valid hunting license and a small game permit are required to hunt squirrels. 
  •  Boots: Sturdy and comfortable boots are essential for walking and hiking in the woods.
  •  Game Bag: A bag or backpack to carry hunting gear and harvested squirrels.
  •  Binoculars: for scouting squirrel activity from a distance.
  •  Knife: A sharp knife is necessary for field dressing and skinning squirrels.
  •  Hunting Clothing: Camouflage clothing that matches the environment can help blend in and stay hidden from squirrels.
  •  Ammunition: Depending on your weapon of choice or bow used, appropriate ammunition or bolts are necessary for hunting squirrels.
  •  Map and Compass: A map and compass can help you navigate in the woods and find your way back to camp or your vehicle.

Safety Tips and Considerations

Following safe hunting practices and being aware of squirrel conservation efforts is essential when hunting in Ohio.

Since some squirrel species in the state are protected, understanding local regulations and conservation initiatives is crucial.

Final Word

Ohio is a great place to hunt squirrels. The state offers private and public land, providing hunters with a great hunting experience.

Before you head out on your hunt, make sure you have all the necessary permits and licenses required to hunt in Ohio.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the state’sstate’s laws and regulations, as well as safety tips for hunters. It is up to you to stay safe and enjoy your hunt responsibly.

Related Articles







Recent Posts