Can I Kill Squirrels In My Yard? Here’s What the Law Says

The question of whether or not you can kill squirrels in your yard has brought to light many different points, opinions, and questions.

Can I kill a squirrel in my backyard? Can I shoot a squirrel with a BB gun? Can I trap or poison a squirrel?

Those are some of the most commonly asked questions about killing squirrels. To help clear up all the answers for you, this post will take a look at the law that governs animal control, what it says about killing squirrels in yards, and what steps need to be taken if you want to do so.

Is It Illegal to Kill Squirrels In Your Yard?

Well, the answer can be either yes or no depending on the situation. You see, the law allows squirrel killing in certain scenarios. For instance, while it is illegal to shoot squirrels without a permit in most months of the year, there is a period known as hunting and trapping season during which you can legally kill squirrels by obtaining an easily attainable permit.

When Does the Hunting and Trapping Season Start?

In most states, the hunting and trapping season begins on September first and ends on the last day of October. So you can legally kill squirrels in your yard at any point during that period.

That’s the case for the majority of states. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. There are several states and local ordinances in the United States that strictly prohibit the killing of squirrels even during the hunting season.

Can You Shoot a Squirrel With a BB Gun?

Yes, you can shoot a squirrel with a BB gun because it is not considered to be a firearm. In fact, in most states, there are no restrictions on the type of weapon that you use when killing squirrels unless your city or county has an ordinance prohibiting certain types of weapons from being used within its jurisdiction.

Can You Poison a Squirrel?

Yes, you can poison a squirrel. However, there are restrictions on the type of poisons that may be used and where they may be placed to ensure public safety.

For instance, it is illegal to use any poison in a manner inconsistent with its label. Furthermore, unlike guns or traps, poisons don’t kill squirrels in an instant. They typically take quite some time, during which the little furry fellows may suffer a lot. So although you can legally use poison to get rid of squirrels in your yard, we don’t recommend it as it’s inhumane.

Can You Trap a Squirrel and then Kill It?

Yes, you can trap a squirrel and then kill it as long as the trapping is done using legal methods. For instance, certain types of traps may only be used in accordance with local ordinances governing their use so it would be best to check with your city or county to find out what those rules are. Also, keep in mind that any trapped animals must be killed in a humane manner.

What Are the Charges for Illegally Killing Squirrels?

If you kill a squirrel illegally then the penalties for doing so vary greatly. The penalties depend mostly on what effect your method of killing did or could have on the people living near you.

For instance, if you poison a squirrel without following state and local laws on how to do it, your sentence may depend on whether or not anyone was exposed to the dangerous chemicals used in the process. Similarly, if you unlawfully discharge a firearm within city limits or place dangerous traps in violation of local laws, then you could face jail time and hefty fines for doing so even if no one is harmed by your actions.

All that being said, if there is no exposure of humans to any harmful substances, the penalties are usually minor like a small fine.

What Are Some Humane Ways to Kill Squirrels?

There are several humane ways to kill squirrels. Here are the most commonly used ones.

1. Shooting the Head

Are you good with firearms? Then the best way to kill squirrels in your yard is by aiming for their heads. With one headshot, you can kill the squirrel in an instant and they won’t even feel a thing.

2. Trapping Them Without Causing Any Injuries.

There are all sorts of traps available in the market that catch squirrels without causing them any pain. You should one of those traps to catch the squirrel and then kill it using one of the following methods:

  • Shoot its head.
  • Hit their head with a big hammer as hard as you can to ensure they die instantly.
  • Euthanize it using a Co2 chamber or injection.

3. Using a Trap that Guarantees One Hit Kill

There are some traps that can not only catch squirrels but also simultaneously kill them in an instant. You should do some research before buying such a trap to ensure it’s a quality product that will work as described.

How to Get Rid Of Squirrels Without Killing Them?

Raise your hand if you don’t want to shoot squirrels for the fun of it and only want them gone from your property.

If your hand is raised, then why kill the little buggers when you can just get rid of them? Getting rid of a squirrel or even an entire scurry isn’t as difficult as you think. It’s actually pretty easy. All you have to do is take the following three steps.

1. Get Rid of Their Food Source

This is the most important step that needs to be taken in order to get rid of squirrels because if you don’t do it then they will just come back at some point.

So the first thing you should do is clean up any food sources around your home, especially under bird feeders and on the ground beneath them. Make sure there is nothing for the squirrels to eat. Also, if you have a compost pile in your backyard, make sure that it is inaccessible by digging a trench around it and adding metal mesh on top of it so they can’t dig underneath.

Furthermore, clean up any fruit or nut-bearing trees as well because they are the biggest attraction for squirrels.

2. Use Squirrel Repellents

There are several things you can use to keep squirrels away, the most common of which is a motion-activated sprinkler. This device shoots water at anything that moves within its range and it scares off rodents like squirrels without killing them.

Another option is an ultrasonic repellent also known as an electronic pest control system. These devices emit a high-frequency sound that is supposed to keep squirrels away.

Furthermore, you can also use scents like predator urine and peppermint oil because they smell unpleasant to them squirrels.

Lastly, you can also try using ammonia around your home. However, please note that while ammonia repels squirrels, it is known to attract some other animals. So do your research to ensure there are no animals in your area that are attracted to ammonia.

3. Place Squirrel Deterrents

Deterrents are repellents are not the same. While repellents repel squirrels away, deterrents are obstacles that stop them from coming your way. Some examples of deterrents include bird netting, tree wraps, and hanging metal strips.

Furthermore, wrapping the trunk of fruit or nut-bearing trees with plastic mesh is another option. It won’t hurt the squirrels but they will get tangled in it if they try to climb up. There are also devices like ultrasonic scarers and flashing lights that you can use to keep squirrels away.

Conclusion: Only Kill Squirrels As a Last Resort

Unless you want to shoot squirrels for the fun of it, you should use the methods outlined in this post to keep them away from your property. However, even after implementing methods of keeping squirrels away, if any bugger still enters your property and tries to wreak havoc, then you can use one of the humane killing methods mentioned earlier as a last resort.

Once the squirrel is dead, here’s how you can get rid of its body.


  • Nathan Collins

    Having spent years working in the landscaping industry, Nathan Collins has cultivated a wealth of knowledge about the natural world. He is committed to helping others appreciate the beauty in their backyards, whether it's through identifying rare rocks and minerals or crafting the perfect landscape.

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