Wisconsin Squirrel Hunting Season

Wisconsin squirrel hunting season

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wisconsin is a popular place to hunt. Like several other states, Wisconsin offers squirrel hunting for all licensed hunters. However, before heading out to the woods, it’s important to understand the Wisconsin hunting season and regulations. 

Wisconsin Squirrel Hunting Season

According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website, hunting the gray and fox squirrels during the regular hunting season, which falls on September 17 – February 28, 2023, statewide, is legal.

Depending on the squirrel population, the dates regularly change, so check the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website for updated squirrel hunting dates.

Wisconsin 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, etc.

There’s a lot to know about squirrel hunting in Wisconsin, so let’s take a closer look. 

Do You Need A License To Hunt Squirrels In Wisconsin

The state requires anyone hunting squirrels or other small or big game animals to possess a valid hunting license. You can apply for a license at ten years old.

Landowners can legally shoot, trap, or euthanize nuisance squirrels to prevent damage to their property.

Types of Hunting Licenses In Wisconsin

  •  Wisconsin Resident: Anyone who has lived in Wisconsin for 30 consecutive days. Anyone over the age of 10 must possess a resident hunting license. This includes active-duty military and non-resident students attending an accredited school.
  • Non-Resident Hunting License: A non-resident is anyone who resides in another state or has lived in Wisconsin for less than 30 days.
  • Youth Hunting License: Residents 10 years of age can hunt for squirrels without a permit if they have a hunter education card. Residents and non-residents 10-17 can apply for a youth license.
  • Senior Hunting License: Residents 65 years old can purchase the Senior Citizen Small Game License.
  • Military and Veteran License: Active duty military members stationed at any of the four military bases can purchase a resident license.

Wisconsin hunting licenses are valid from April 1 to March 31 the next year. To purchase a hunting license or permit, visit or call the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Website (DNR) office (or online) or stop by an approved license sales location.

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

Wisconsin residents born on or after January 1, 1973, must complete and pass a hunter education course before applying for a license or permit. The Wisconsin Hunter Education course fee is $24.50, plus an additional $10 Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fee.

Bag Limits

The state implements a five squirrels per day limit, regardless of species. Therefore, hunters must keep track of the squirrels they hunt and avoid exceeding the bag limit. Failure to comply can result in fines and heavy penalties.

Wisconsin Small Game Animals

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

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

Small GameDaily Bag LimitsAreaHunting Dates
Cottontail Rabbit3Northern ZoneSeptember 17 – February 28, 2023
Fox and Gray Squirrels5StatewideSeptember 17 – February 28, 2023
Snowshoe Hare5StatewideYear round

Hunting Methods

Shooting hours for squirrel hunting are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. 

Legal hunting methods for hunting squirrels in Wisconsin include archery equipment, slingshots, etc. 

Additionally, cage-type traps are allowed as a hunting method. In addition, it is legal for homeowners to trap nuisance squirrels out of season without a permit. 

Can You Use A Dog To Hunt Squirrels In Wisconsin?

You can hunt squirrels and other small game mammals with a dog. 

It’s best to use a dog that enjoys hunting, has a strong sense of smell, good eyesight, agility endurance, and is properly trained so they don’t run around scaring off the squirrels.

Can You Hunt From A Motorized Vehicle In Wisconsin?

All loaded firearms must be kept outside or on top of the exterior of a vehicle. You must remove the ammo before placing it inside a vehicle or transporting it inside.

Disabled individuals with a Class A or B can legally load a firearm and hunt from a stationary vehicle. 

It’s important to understand the laws and regulations; failure to do so can result in harsh penalties and fines.

Best Squirrel Hunting Locations in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has thousands of acres of public and private land you can hunt squirrels. 

When scouting for locations, aim to find areas with mature, hardwood forest cover, as these are ideal habitats for squirrels. 

In addition, many of Wisconsin’s public lands and Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) provide excellent squirrel hunting opportunities.

Here are a few of the top squirrel hunting locations in Wisconsin:

  • Kettle Moraine
  • Chequamegon National Forest

Each location offers unique hunting experiences and challenges, ensuring an unforgettable squirrel hunting adventure. 

Anyone using a WMA (Wildlife Manage Area) must possess a user permit which can be purchased anywhere hunting licenses are sold. 

Experiment with different locations to see where you get the most squirrels and which areas you enjoy the best. 

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

No, there are no specific laws regarding the type of clothing you must wear while squirrel hunting. However, 50% of your clothing above the waist must be bright orange or pink during deer hunting season. 

Wearing hunter orange while squirrel hunting is a good safety precaution to make you more visible to other hunters. 

In states with mandatory hunter orange requirements, a hunter must wear orange while hunting small game. 

Camo or neutral clothing can improve your ability to blend into the environment and get closer to squirrels without being noticed. 

Regardless of whether you choose hunter orange or camouflage, it’s essential to be aware that some hunting locations may have specific clothing requirements. 

Always check the regulations of the area you plan to hunt to ensure you are following any safety guidelines.

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 be helpful for blending in and staying 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 Wisconsin.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of squirrels can you hunt in Wisconsin?

Licensed hunters can legally hunt fox and gray squirrels during the regular hunting season. However, according to the Wisconsin State Legislature NR 10.02, the flying squirrel is protected, and it is illegal to transport, possess, kill, or possess it. Therefore, you cannot hunt flying squirrels.

Where should I look for squirrels when hunting in Wisconsin?

When hunting squirrels, look for them in wooded areas. They build their habitats in hardwood and softwood forests but prefer areas with mature trees that produce nuts and seeds, such as; walnut, hickory, and oak.

Many hunters report good squirrel hunting in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, which has lots of oak stands that provide excellent hunting. About 95% of the Northern part of the forest is open to the public during the established hunting seasons. That said, consult the hunting and trapping regulations website before heading out.

Final Word

Wisconsin hunters can legally hunt fox and gray squirrels during the regular hunting season. However, all hunters must possess a valid hunting license and abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Squirrels are classified as small game animals; hunters are responsible for abiding for the rules and regulations set in their hunting zone. 

Following the rules, wearing the proper clothing, and carrying the proper licenses will ensure you won’t have to worry about penalties and can have a safe hunting day. 

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