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Home » Blog » Is it illegal to shoot squirrels in Texas? 

Is it illegal to shoot squirrels in Texas? 

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In Texas, many people enjoy hunting and shooting as a recreational activity. However, when it comes to shooting animals like squirrels, there are regulations that must be followed. The question arises, is it legal to shoot squirrels in Texas? The response to this question is not a straightforward yes or no. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regulates the hunting and taking of squirrels in Texas, and there are specific rules that must be followed. 

For instance, there are different seasons for hunting gray and fox squirrels, and hunters must possess a valid hunting license. Moreover, there are limitations on the type of firearm permissible for hunting squirrels. It's important to note that there are also laws regarding animal cruelty that must be taken into consideration. Shooting squirrels solely to inflict harm or without a valid justification may be regarded as animal cruelty. Therefore, before shooting squirrels in Texas, it's essential to understand the regulations and ensure that the activity is legal and ethical. 

Squirrels in Texas: Background information

Squirrels in Texas

Squirrels are a familiar presence in Texas, and numerous individuals delight in observing them frolic and ascend trees. Nevertheless, some individuals may question the legality of shooting squirrels in Texas. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department oversees the management and conservation of the state's wildlife, which includes squirrels. Texas is home to various species of squirrels, including the gray squirrel, fox squirrel, and red squirrel.

Hunting is a popular activity in Texas, and many people enjoy hunting game animals such as deer, turkey, and quail. However, squirrels are considered game animals in Texas, which means that they can be hunted and killed year-round without a license or permit. While it is legal to shoot squirrels in Texas, there are some restrictions that hunters must follow. For example, there is no bag limit on squirrels, but hunters must follow the general hunting season dates and regulations. It is important to note that shooting squirrels in residential areas or on private property without permission is illegal. 

Additionally, it is important to practice safe and ethical hunting practices, such as using appropriate weapons and ammunition and not shooting from a moving vehicle. Overall, while it is legal to shoot squirrels in Texas, hunters should be aware of the regulations and practice safe and ethical hunting practices. 

The prevalence of squirrels in urban and rural areas

Squirrels are a common sight in both urban and rural areas of Texas. These small, bushy-tailed rodents are known for their playful antics and their ability to climb trees with ease. They are often seen darting across power lines, scampering up tree trunks, and burying nuts in the ground. In urban areas, squirrels are frequently found in parks and residential neighborhoods, where they scavenge for food and build nests in trees. In rural areas, they can be found in wooded areas and along the edges of fields and pastures. 

While some people enjoy watching squirrels and feeding them, others view them as pests that can cause damage to homes and gardens. As a result, there are differing opinions on whether or not it is legal to shoot squirrels in Texas. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, squirrels are classified as game animals and can be hunted during the designated hunting season. However, it is illegal to shoot squirrels out of season or without a valid hunting license. 

Additionally, there are restrictions on the number of squirrels that can be harvested per day or per season. It is important to note that shooting squirrels within city limits or on private property without permission is also illegal. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department advocates for the use of non-lethal techniques to deter squirrels from causing damage, such as employing squirrel-proof bird feeders or installing mesh over garden beds. Overall, while squirrels are a common sight in Texas, it is important to understand the regulations set forth by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to ensure the safety and conservation of these animals. 

Legal Framework in Texas Regarding Wildlife 

Overview of Texas Parks & Wildlife Department regulations 

The Texas Parks Wildlife

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) is the state agency responsible for the management and conservation of wildlife resources in Texas. The TPWD has established regulations to protect wildlife and their habitats, and to ensure that hunting and fishing activities are conducted in a sustainable manner. These regulations apply to all wildlife species, including game animals, non-game animals, and nuisance animals. 

State laws pertaining to hunting and wildlife management 

The state of Texas has laws that govern hunting and wildlife management. These regulations are crafted to foster the conservation and management of wildlife resources, while also upholding public safety. It is illegal to hunt or kill any wildlife species without the proper permits, licenses, and tags. 

The state also regulates the use of firearms and other hunting equipment to ensure that hunting activities are conducted safely and responsibly. 

Definitions of game animals, non-game animals, and nuisance animals 

In Texas, wildlife species are categorized as game animals, non-game animals, or nuisance animals. Game animals are those that are hunted for sport or food, such as deer, turkey, and quail. Non-game animals are those that are not hunted, but are still protected by state and federal laws, such as songbirds and reptiles. Nuisance animals are those that are considered a threat to public health or safety, such as feral hogs and coyotes. 

It is important to note that shooting squirrels in Texas may be illegal depending on the circumstances. Squirrels are considered game animals and are protected by state and federal laws. 

Nonetheless, there are specific scenarios in which shooting squirrels may be lawful, such as when they are inflicting damage to property or presenting a threat to public safety.

It is recommended that individuals contact their local wildlife control or city officials to determine the appropriate course of action before attempting to trap or shoot squirrels. Overall, the legal framework in Texas regarding wildlife is designed to promote the conservation and management of wildlife resources, while also ensuring public safety. It is important for individuals to follow all state and federal laws and regulations when engaging in hunting or wildlife management activities. 

Classification of Squirrels in Texas Law 

In Texas, there are different species of squirrels that are native to the state. These include the fox squirrel, eastern gray squirrel, and the southern flying squirrel. 

Different species of squirrels native to Texas 

The fox squirrel holds the title of being the largest species of squirrel in Texas, whereas the eastern gray squirrel claims the title of being the most prevalent. The southern flying squirrel is a smaller species that is normally spotted at night.

Classification of squirrels as game or non-game animals

Squirrels are classified as game animals in Texas, meaning that they can be hunted during certain seasons. However, they are also considered non-game animals in some areas, such as city parks, where hunting is prohibited. 

Specific statutes or regulations regarding squirrels 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regulates the hunting of squirrels in the state. According to their regulations, hunters are allowed to take up to 10 squirrels per day during the open season. The open season for squirrels in Texas typically runs from September to late January. It is important to note that hunting squirrels outside of the open season or without the proper license can result in fines and other penalties. 

Additionally, some cities and parks may have their own regulations regarding the hunting of squirrels, so it is important to check local laws before hunting in these areas. Overall, while it is legal to hunt squirrels in Texas during certain seasons and with the proper license, there are regulations in place to ensure the sustainability of the squirrel population and to protect non-game areas. 

Hunting Regulations for Squirrels in Texas

Hunting Regulations for Squirrels

Texas has a long history of hunting, and it is no surprise that squirrel hunting is a popular pastime. However, it is important to understand the rules set by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to ensure that hunting is done in a responsible and legal manner. 

Open season dates and bag limits for hunting squirrels

The squirrel hunting season in Texas typically runs from September to late January , coinciding with the autumn and winter months. During this period, hunters are permitted to harvest up to 10 squirrels per day, with a possession limit of 20 squirrels.

Hunting license requirements 

Hunters in Texas are mandated to possess a valid hunting license, which can be obtained through the TPWD website or at various retailers across the state. In addition, hunters must have a valid migratory game bird endorsement to hunt squirrels with a shotgun. 

Legal hunting methods and weaponry 

Hunters in Texas are allowed to use a variety of methods to hunt squirrels, including firearms, archery equipment, and air guns. However, it is important to note that hunting squirrels with a centerfire rifle is illegal in Texas. 

Restrictions on hunting in certain areas or periods

There are certain areas and periods where hunting squirrels is restricted in Texas. For example, hunting is not allowed in state parks, and there are also restrictions on hunting in urban areas. In addition, hunters are not allowed to use bait or electronic calls to attract squirrels. 

Overall, it is important for hunters to be knowledgeable about the regulations set forth by the TPWD to ensure that they are hunting in a legal and responsible manner. By following these regulations, hunters can enjoy the thrill of the hunt while also protecting Texas wildlife for future generations. 

Squirrel Control and Nuisance Wildlife 

Situations where squirrels may be considered pests 

Squirrels are generally considered harmless creatures and are admired for their playful nature and cute appearance. However, in certain situations, squirrels can become a nuisance and cause damage to property. 

For example, squirrels can chew through electrical wires, causing power outages, or they can damage roofs and attics while looking for shelter. In such situations, squirrels may be considered pests and require removal. 

Legal provisions for handling nuisance animals 

In Texas, it is legal to remove nuisance animals, including squirrels, but there are certain rules and regulations that must be followed. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regulates the removal of nuisance wildlife and provides guidelines for handling and releasing animals. It is illegal to kill or harm wildlife, including squirrels, unless it is done in accordance with TPWD regulations. 

Permit requirements for removing nuisance squirrels 

In some cases, a permit may be required to remove nuisance squirrels. For example, if the squirrels are in a protected area or if they are considered a threatened or endangered species, a permit may be necessary. It is important to consult with TPWD or a licensed wildlife removal professional to determine if a permit is required before removing squirrels. 

Non-lethal control methods and their legal standing

 There are various non-lethal control methods that can be used to remove squirrels, such as trapping and relocation. Anyway, it is important to be aware that not all control methods are legal. For example, it is illegal to use poison to kill squirrels, as it can harm other wildlife and pets. It is also illegal to relocate squirrels to another location without a permit. It is important to consult with TPWD or a licensed wildlife removal professional to determine the legal and ethical methods for removing squirrels. 

In conclusion, while it is legal to remove nuisance squirrels in Texas, it is important to follow the rules and regulations set forth by TPWD to ensure the safety of both humans and wildlife. Non-lethal control methods should be used whenever possible, and permits should be obtained if necessary. By taking the appropriate steps, individuals can effectively control squirrel populations without harming the animals or breaking the law. 

Ownership and Property Rights 

Private property considerations and hunting 

In Texas, property owners have the right to control wildlife on their land, including squirrels. However, hunting on private property requires the permission of the landowner. It is important to note that hunting on someone else's property or yard without permission is considered trespassing and is illegal. 

Landowner rights in controlling squirrels and other wildlife 

Landowners in Texas have the right to control squirrel populations on their property. This can be accomplished through various methods, including trapping, removal, or shooting. However, it is important to follow all relevant state and local laws when doing so. It's also essential to take into account the potential repercussions on other wildlife and the environment.

Legal ramifications of discharging firearms in residential areas 

Discharging firearms in residential areas is generally illegal in Texas. This includes shooting squirrels or other wildlife on one's own property if the property is located within city limits or a densely populated area. It's crucial to be aware of the specific laws and regulations in one's area before using firearms.

Overall, while Texas property owners have certain rights in controlling squirrel populations on their land, it is important to do so in a legal and responsible manner. It's also crucial to consider the potential impact on other wildlife and the environment. It's advisable to seek guidance from relevant authorities and experts before taking any action.

Alternatives to Shooting Squirrels 

Alternatives to Shooting Squirrels

While it may be tempting to shoot squirrels, there are alternative methods that can be used to control their populations. The following subsections provide some options for those who wish to avoid using lethal methods. 

Relocation and Habitat Modification

One option for controlling squirrel populations is to relocate them to a different area. However, it's important to note that relocating squirrels can be challenging and should only be undertaken by a professional. Additionally, simply relocating squirrels may not be effective in the long term as they may return to the area. Another option is to modify the habitat to make it less attractive to squirrels. This can include removing food sources, such as bird feeders, and sealing off potential entry points into homes or buildings. 

Use of Repellents and Deterrents 

Repellents and deterrents can also be used to discourage squirrels from entering certain areas. There are a variety of commercial products available, such as sprays and granules, that can be applied to areas where squirrels are not wanted. Additionally, physical deterrents, such as netting or fencing, can be used to keep squirrels out of specific areas. 

Encouraging Natural Predators to Control Populations

Encouraging natural predators, such as hawks and owls, can also aid in controlling squirrel populations. Setting up nesting boxes or perches for these predators can assist in attracting them to the area. Additionally, allowing natural predators to hunt in the area can help keep squirrel populations in check. Overall, there are a variety of alternatives to shooting squirrels that can be effective in controlling their populations. It is important to consider these options before resorting to lethal methods, especially during the autumn hunting season when wildlife is particularly vulnerable. 

Conclusion 

In Texas, it is generally legal to shoot squirrels on private property with the landowner's permission. However, it is important to note that there are certain restrictions in place during hunting seasons and in certain areas. It is also illegal to shoot squirrels in public parks or other protected areas. 

It is crucial for individuals to understand the local laws and regulations regarding squirrel hunting in Texas. Failure to adhere to these laws can lead to fines, penalties, and potentially criminal charges.

 It is important to stay informed about hunting seasons, bag limits, and other restrictions to ensure that hunting is done legally and responsibly. 

While shooting squirrels can be a solution to squirrel-related issues, it is important to think in other alternatives. For example, individuals can try to deter squirrels from their property by using repellents or installing squirrel-proof barriers. Additionally, homeowners can contact wildlife control professionals for assistance in safely and humanely removing squirrels from their property. 

If you prefer a more humane approach, at Critter Stop we are ready to help. Put your gun down and take the phone to call the Squirrel removal experts in the Dallas - Fort Worth area. We have provided our services hundreds of times, with a very successful rate. Don’t waste your time (or ammo) on taking down this curious friend. Call us at (214) 234-2616 and schedule a free inspection!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you shoot squirrels in Texas? 

Yes, squirrels are classified as game animals in Texas, and they can be legally hunted and harvested during hunting season. 

Is it illegal to shoot squirrels in Texas? 

No, shooting squirrels in Texas is not illegal, provided you possess a valid hunting license and adhere to all the rules and regulations stipulated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Are squirrels protected in Texas? 

Squirrels are not protected in Texas, but it is important to note that there are certain regulations that govern the hunting and harvesting of squirrels. 

What is squirrel trapping laws in Texas? 

Squirrel trapping laws in Texas are governed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. According to their regulations, live traps can be used to capture squirrels, but the traps must be checked regularly to ensure that the animals are not harmed. 

Are there any specific rules for shooting squirrels on private property in Texas? 

There are no specific rules for shooting squirrels on private property in Texas, but it is important to obtain the landowner's permission before hunting or harvesting squirrels on their property. 

What are the legal methods for squirrel population control in Texas?

The legal methods for squirrel population control in Texas include hunting and trapping. However, it's crucial to adhere to all the rules and regulations established by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to guarantee that the population is not excessively harvested or harmed in any manner.

Can I shoot squirrels in my yard Texas?

Yes, you can shoot squirrels in your yard in Texas if you have a valid hunting license and follow all the rules and regulations set by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. However, it's important to consider the safety of yourself and others, as well as the potential impact on other wildlife and the environment. Additionally, it's recommended to consult with relevant authorities or experts before taking any action.

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Lee Gorman
Lee Gorman
13:50 21 Nov 22
I’d give a 10 star review if I could! We had a great experience with Critter Stop. Everyone I dealt was friendly, professional, and reassuring. Phillip was very helpful and knowledgeable about the work he was doing. He walked me around the entire house to make sure I saw and understood the services he provided. He was also really nice and answered all my questions — he is exactly the type of person that should be interacting with customers.I love the fact that they will come back for up to 1 year after installation if any problems occur — this shows me they stand behind their work.The owner was great too, he personally came to my house and walked me through their offering. I recommend critter stop to anyone and everyone!
Susan Casey
Susan Casey
14:53 15 Nov 22
Critter Stop is a fantastic business! Everyone involved is extremely professional and very easy to communicate with. Chisam, the owner, did a great job of explaining the process to get the squirrels out of my attic during the initial free estimate. The exclusion crew who did all of the initial work was fabulous. The crew consisted of Phillip, Nick and Corey who arrived promptly when they said they would. They are happy, positive employees. Everyone is very polite and patient in explaining their work and answering questions. They came back several times to check the traps and finish it off with the fogging. Lester was very good about following up to schedule each trap check with me, and the office staff who took care of the billing was very efficient. Critter Stop is a well run company with honest, trustworthy employees! Thank you to all of you who worked hard to make my attic critter free and for the peace of mind that you guarantee your work. Great to know I can call them if for some reason a squirrel figures out a way to get back in!
Karen Eckholdt
Karen Eckholdt
14:54 22 Sep 22
Critter Stop has made this project easy and extremely professional from start to finish! They are very detailed and competent from start to finish and know so much about their business. They made a problem easy for us and at a reasonable cost. We would be happy to recommend this company and their owners and staff to anyone.
Aaron Echols
Aaron Echols
13:51 03 Aug 22
The guys at Critter Stop responded quickly, were very friendly, and gave us an honest estimate of what we might need. They explained why some items on other quotes were or were not necessary. They communicated well to get us scheduled, and did the work well and quickly. Great service at a fair and competitive price.
Jacob Scribner
Jacob Scribner
19:23 27 Jul 22
Brandon and his other coworker Gavin came to install insulation in my attic. I am very grateful for the hard work and professionalism. My house feels a lot better with the insulation installed. 5 star review. Cory Leach was also very nice and helpful. He came to my house to do another job and was very attentive and professional. Thank you Corey and thank you Critter Stop for helping me.The owner very polite and helpful, I’m glad I found this company to help me.
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