Laws To Trap And Hunt Squirrels In Maryland

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Squirrels in Maryland cause damage to homes by entering attics and causing a mess by gnawing wires, tearing insulation, and defecating. If you’re having trouble with squirrels in your Maryland home, you should research the laws to trap and hunt squirrels in Maryland.

In Maryland, you need a permit from the landowner to trap and hunt squirrels. Calling the Maryland Nuisance Wildlife Hotline is the only way to get this free permit.

You don’t need a hunting license or stamps unless you live in Maryland or are married to someone who lives there and hunts only on their property. This blog explains how to go squirrel hunting in Maryland.

Squirrel Types Found In Maryland

Red squirrels, grey squirrels, southern flying squirrels, eastern fox squirrels, and Delmarva fox squirrels are all present in Maryland. All of these species are common in Maryland, with the exception of the Delmarva fox squirrel.

Red Squirrels 

The name “red” comes from the color of the fur of the red squirrel, sometimes known as the “pine” squirrel. You will see fewer of these squirrels than you would grey squirrels because of their smaller size. Western Maryland is home to the state’s largest population of red squirrels, which prefer evergreens. Some red squirrels even tap sugar maple trees for their tasty sap.

When it comes to their homes, red squirrels are fiercely territorial and will not tolerate intruders of any kind, including squirrels of other kinds. Planting a mix of evergreen trees, especially pines and spruces, will attract red squirrels to your home. The annual birth rate for red squirrels is between one and two litters.

Gray Squirrels

The grey squirrel is one of the state’s most common squirrel species. Its habitat is any area with sufficient open woodland. True to its name, the vast majority of grey squirrels are, in fact, colorless.

However, there are grey squirrels that are black, white, or blonde. The large, bushy tails of grey squirrels serve several purposes, including providing shade, aiding balance, and facilitating navigation.

Southern Flying Squirrels

Despite their abundance, southern flying squirrels are rarely spotted in Maryland because they are nocturnal. They can be heard calling in the dead of night in forests filled with hardwood trees, where they make their homes. Though sometimes referred to as “flying squirrels,” these animals cannot take to the air in this manner. Instead, they glide from tree to tree using skin folds between their front and hind legs.

Various fruits, vegetables, lichens, and fungi comprise the bulk of the southern flying squirrel’s diet. Southern flying squirrels often have two litters yearly and make their homes in tree holes.

Fox Squirrels

There are two species of fox squirrels that live in Maryland. Fox squirrels are more ground-dwelling and bulkier than their more nimble kin. The eastern fox squirrel lives in western and piedmont Maryland. Similar to other squirrels, they construct their homes from tree cavities or out of leaves.  One or two litters of baby eastern fox squirrels are born per year. They often have their infants in the month of December.

Delmarva Squirrels

However, the Eastern Shore is the only place to find the Delmarva fox squirrel. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed this species from its Threatened and Endangered Wildlife list in December 2015 under the Endangered Species Act. 

Delmarva fox squirrels were once widespread across the Delmarva Peninsula and even into Pennsylvania. However, habitat degradation and deforestation have greatly reduced their once expansive range.

On the Delmarva Peninsula, fox squirrels favor mature forests with a mix of hardwood and pine trees but little shrubbery and grass. The Delmarva fox squirrel relies heavily on the nuts and fruits of oak, hickory, sweetgum, walnut, and loblolly pine trees for its diet.

Which Types Of Squirrels Are Legal To Hunt In Maryland?

  • Squirrels are considered a small game in the state of Maryland, meaning that residents are permitted to hunt them but are required to obtain the appropriate permits. 
  • The season for hunting small game begins in early September and lasts until the end of February.
  • It is permissible to hunt Eastern Fox Squirrels and Gray Squirrels in Massachusetts so long as you have the appropriate and valid license.
  • In Maryland, it is also permissible to hunt red squirrels and piney squirrels.
  • The Delmarva Fox squirrel is a protected species, which means that you are not allowed to hunt it.

Squirrels Hunting Season In Maryland

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that the squirrel seasons begin in September and continue until February of each year. Squirrel seasons begin each year in Maryland. These species provide ample seasons and bag limitations, as well as the opportunity to create some wonderful memories over the fall and winter months.

Squirrels are common in Maryland, especially where oaks and other trees that make acorns are found. The season for grey or eastern fox squirrels started on September 4, and you could only hunt six per day. This season does not include the Delmarva Fox Squirrel subspecies because it is necessary to maintain their protection so that the species can continue to make progress in its recovery.

Laws Governing The Hunting Of Squirrels In Maryland

These are the only legal ways to hunt squirrels in Maryland:

  • In Maryland, squirrels are considered small game, which means you can hunt them if you have the right permits.
  • The season for hunting small game begins in early September and lasts until the end of February.
  • To hunt game or small mammals in Maryland, both people who live there and people who don’t have to have a valid hunting license.
  • You can acquire a license by visiting the website of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources or by downloading the Access DNR mobile app on your mobile device.

Laws Governing The Trapping And Relocating Of Squirrels In Maryland

The following laws cover trapping and relocating squirrels in Maryland:

  • Residents with trapping permission can legally relocate squirrels.
  • Local laws differ, so check with authorities before relocating wildlife.
  • Relocating squirrels is often against the law and cruel because they can’t adjust to new places.
  • Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 08.03.15.24 says it is against the law to relocate squirrels.
  • Any landowner who wants to trap wildlife legally must get a free trapping license. Call the USDA Wildlife Services at 1-877-463-6497 to get a permit.
  • Residents can legally trap and relocate tree squirrels, chipmunks, porcupines, woodchucks, and rabbits with this permit.
  • The wildlife damage operator permit permits persons to trap, euthanize, or re-locate animals that are causing harm to homes, businesses, or crops.
  • Businesses or people who offer services to get rid of wildlife must have a license.
  • A hunting license from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is not the same thing as a trapping permit (MD DNR).

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Squirrels In Maryland?

Anyone living in or outside of Maryland needs a valid hunting license to shoot any game or small mammals.

  • Use a pistol or rifle with a 22-caliber bullet to kill it in a kind way.
  • The person with the permit must have physical custody of the handgun at all times.
  • All other guns and weapons, including hunting bows, are not allowed on squirrel hunts, even if the hunter has them with them or keeps them in their car.
  • Make use of a carbon dioxide isolation chamber.
  • If the squirrel is going to be checked for rabies, don’t shoot it in the head.
  • Local safety rules and state shooting laws often make it illegal to shoot guns in places where people live.
  • It is against the law to have a gun that wasn’t registered. So, you can only have the ones that are licensed.

Is It Legal To Shoot Squirrels With A Pellet Gun In Maryland?

At this time, the state of Maryland does not have any legislation in place that regulate the use of Pallet and BB gun to shoot squirrels. To acquire a BB gun, airgun, air rifle, or pellet gun in the state of Maryland, the minimum age requirement is 18. 

Laws controlling air weapons may be enforced at the state level, as well as at the local level, depending on the jurisdiction. The use of air guns in the pursuit of certain wildlife species is legal in Maryland. The Eastern Fox Squirrel and the Ground Squirrel are also examples of these species.

Is It Legal To Shoot Squirrels On Property In Maryland?

On both privately owned and publicly owned land, it is against the law for residents to shoot squirrels or any other wildlife outside of the appropriate seasons for hunting. If someone is caught doing this, they will face very serious penalties. You are required to apply for a free landowner trapping permit in the event that you believe a squirrel is endangering public health or causing harm to your property.

Conclusion

It is against the law in the state of Maryland to shoot or trap squirrels that are a nuisance to people. You are obligated to follow the rules and regulations of the state. If you don’t, you risk paying a fine and breaching the law in the process.

Someone with a license can kill a squirrel that wants to hurt you. You always have the option of informing the proper authorities about the squirrels and requesting that they investigate the situation. Before you go out and hunt or trap, you should make sure you know the local laws.

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