Is It Legal to Shoot Squirrels in Your Backyard?

There is a love-hate relationship between man and squirrels. For one, in recent years, cities and towns have gone on to using squirrels as mascots. This creates a discord between the tradition of killing squirrels either as food or because they are considered pests. When a particular squirrel becomes a town mascot, it is usually for tourism purposes. This is at odds with people who would want to shoot them.

Another problem being encountered is that more and more people are living in areas that are natural habitats of squirrels. It is a fairly common occurrence where squirrels end up in someone’s backyard, or worse, inside the home. In this instance they become a pest if they start eating the vegetable garden. This is where the law tries to clear up things.

Most local laws allow shooting squirrels as pests. However, these same laws do not allow using hunting rifles or even pellet guns within city limits. In some instances, even if you are allowed to discharge your rifle, you are not allowed to shoot upwards at a tree, where the squirrel is located. This is just common sense, because the bullet would fly a far distance before coming back to earth where it might damage property, injure or kill someone.

One other consideration in this scenario is that you cannot shoot a squirrel if the bullet will fly over someone’s property. This is different from shooting up a tree, as this fine distinction is for those who shoot squirrels that are some distance away from their property.

There are also places where squirrels could not be shot with the use of pellet guns. These places usually allow for the use of a shotgun to shoot squirrels for food or for their fur. Admittedly, this seems counter-intuitive, as it is hard to eat squirrel meat, which is full of shotgun lead, and the fur would definitely be damaged by the pellets from the shotgun.

If you live in a place where small game hunting is allowed with a pellet gun, you should feel lucky that you only have to decide on the gun to use. The best pellet pistol for squirrels should have a range of at least 30 meters. Needless to say, it should be fun to shoot, not too heavy, and should have enough power for the range. Although it is conceivable to be able to get within 20 meters of a squirrel, the extra range can make the difference between stalking prey all day, and just having fun shooting them. A .22 cal. pistol should be able to meet these requirements.

Before you go off and start hunting small game, you should also have a good understanding of what you can and cannot do, and when you can do it. Some places have designated hunting seasons for small game. Others allow specific methods of killing squirrels, or specific guns, like the aforementioned shotgun.

A good understanding of the law goes a long way when it comes to small game. It is really a sport and it should be respected as such in order to ensure safety for all.

Also read: Why Do the Chinese Still Demand Rhino Horns?