Can I Shoot Squirrels in My Backyard: Is this Legal?

Can I Shoot Squirrels in My Backyard

Most people think squirrels are cute and fuzzy little critters that harmlessly frolic around the yard all day. However, they can be a real nuisance, especially when they find their way into your homes and your garden. Can I shoot squirrels in my backyard though? If you’re experiencing squirrel problems, this question has probably crossed your mind.

Whether or not you can shoot squirrels depends on the state you live in. In most states, squirrels are protected creatures that can be hunted or killed only during the open season and with a hunting license. Special permits can be given if killing them is extremely necessary.

Shooting is generally recommended as the last resort of getting rid of nuisance squirrels. However, there are some important things you need to know to make sure you don’t get yourself in trouble with the law.

In this blog post will discuss the legalities of squirrel shooting as well as better alternatives to getting rid of squirrels in your backyard.

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Can I Kill Squirrels on My Property?

Not all people enjoy the idea of wildlife visiting their property – especially not ones that cause damage to the garden, destroy bird feeders and gnaw on cables and wires. Squirrels are just like rats and mice – they love to chew on things and they breed faster, especially when they take shelter in your home.

They may play an important role in the ecosystem, but they do more harm than you think if they have access to your home. You may have immediately considered shooting squirrels in your backyard to get rid of them, but is it permitted? Is it legal to do so?

Shooting squirrels in your property is allowed as long as you do it during the hunting season and you’re not living near civilization. If it’s off-season, you need to have a special permit from the Department of Conservation to do so. But another important thing to consider when planning to shoot squirrels is the gun you’re using.

Even if it’s on your property, firing a gun may get you in trouble with the law. Depending on where you live, there may be restrictions on places where you can fire your weapon. These restrictions usually include a minimum distance from a road or from the next-door neighbor. That’s because you may be aiming for the squirrel but the bullet could ricochet and hit a different target.

The kind of gun you use to shoot a squirrel will also matter. We will discuss that bit in the next section.

What Can I Shoot a Squirrel With?

Shooting squirrels may be legal if you meet the following conditions:

  • You don’t live in urban areas or close to neighborhoods
  • You are killing during open season
  • If you’re shooting off-season, make sure you have a special permit
  • You have the right weapon

What is considered the right weapon to kill a squirrel then? When it comes to the right rifle, anything as long as it’s designed for the purpose of killing vermin or small game is acceptable and is legal. The thing to keep in mind about shooting squirrels is that you want to achieve a clean shot that will kill it instantly. This would be a humane way to kill the animal.

Can You Shoot Squirrels With an Air Rifle?

If considering a humane way to kill a squirrel, would an air rifle suffice? The answer is yes, but it depends on the power of the air rifle you have. Air rifles are a popular choice of weapon against vermin like squirrels for a clean shot. But is it legal?

Is It Legal to Shoot Squirrels With an Air Rifle

Whether or not it’s legal to shoot squirrels with an air rifle depends on the type of air rifle you have. As mentioned, some air rifles are designed to take out small game animals. They come in different calibers, types, and firing mechanisms. If you have an air rifle, make sure that it has pellet projectiles rather than BBs.

Can You Shoot Squirrels With a BB Gun?

When using air rifles for shooting squirrels, BB projectiles are highly discouraged. For one, a BB gun is not considered an acceptable hunting weapon. Another is that it doesn’t have the capability to issue a clean kill.

BB guns can only injure the squirrel, which is worse than killing it. And since squirrels are not so good at healing, their wounds could get infected and die. In other words, the squirrel will die a slow death and suffer in the process.

Will a Pellet Gun Kill Squirrels?

Pellet guns have also been used to hunt squirrels, but it should be a powerful one to ensure a kill. Since there are different types, make sure you know how to determine the speed of the projectile or FPS (feet per second) of your weapon.

That said, it’s always best to be knowledgeable of your state’s hunting regulations. Some pellet guns may not be powerful enough to kill the squirrel, which is why they may be banned.

How Do I Rid My Yard of Squirrels?

Shooting squirrels is just one of the many ways you can make them go away from your property. But it doesn’t mean it’s the best way. You don’t have to kill a squirrel just to get rid of them once and for all.

The methods of ridding your yard of squirrels can be categorized into two: killing them or discouraging them from visiting your yard. In this section, we will discuss the many alternatives to shooting squirrels, particularly methods that don’t involve taking the animal’s life.

Keep in mind that no single method promises a hundred percent success. To be effective at eliminating squirrels from your yard, you need to try one method or use two of them. Find that one method that works for you best.

Keep The Food Away

Squirrels visit your yard for a reason – they need food and shelter. But mostly, food, and they’ll be wandering around your yard trying to find something they can take. If there is a food source in your yard, such as bird seeds, untouched dog food, uncovered trash, then you’re likely to invite a squirrel and its friends over.

So, if you have trash outside, make sure it’s covered. Don’t leave any untouched or leftover pet food outside and do your best to avoid giving them access to bird feeders.

Get Help From a Dog

Dog owners will have an advantage over this. Dogs can be pretty alert when it comes to little creatures stepping into their territory. They would willingly and excitedly chase the squirrel out of your property.

Use Repellents and Deterrents

Repellents are usually substances or devices that offend squirrels, making them not take an interest in your yard. Deterrents, on the other hand, are barriers or shields that you can put up making it difficult for the vermin to get into your property.

Repellents come in different forms. They can be items you can find in your pantry or they can be devices you can buy from the store. One example of a repelling device is the MITAHOME Solar Mole Repellent, which can be placed on the ground. This device emits sounds that only pests can hear, ultimately discouraging them from moving into the yard.

MITAHOME Solar Mole Repellent is solar-powered but there are also electric-powered ones. The distance that the sounds can cover will depend on the brand you will go for. Typically, you might need more than one to make sure you cover the whole yard.

If you install several ultrasonic devices, that will send multiple signals that can put the squirrels in distress. Don’t expect that this will work overnight. This could take weeks before you notice that the squirrels are no longer visiting your property.

Another repellent you can use is cayenne pepper. In a previous blog post post, we discussed how cayenne pepper can be an effective repellent for dogs who may wander into your lawn and urinate on it.

Fortunately, cayenne pepper also works for squirrels. If they smell it, they will hate it, and will no longer find your yard interesting. The best thing about this repellent – it’s affordable and readily available.

Deterrents, like spikes covering a certain area in your yard, can prick the tiny squirrels’ feet, making it a challenge to get to your yard. Ultimately, they’ll get the message and think that your property is a no-go.

Conclusion: Can I Shoot Squirrels In My Backyard

If you’re dealing with persistent squirrel problems, you’re very tempted to think about shooting the vermin. This is most especially true if you see them wreaking serious havoc on your property. 

Shooting squirrels in your own backyard may be acceptable in certain circumstances, which you need to research, especially pertaining to gun regulations. Mostly, squirrels are a protected species that you can kill legally during open season and with an acceptable gun.

If you have to resort to shooting squirrels, make sure you check with your local regulations. Also, talk to your local animal control for some recommendations on how to deal with the pest problem.

Shooting doesn’t have to be the only way to get rid of squirrels. They are living creatures, too, so consider other options that may work without harming life.