Laws To Trap And Hunt Squirrels In North Carolina [Full Guide]

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North Carolina is home to many species of squirrels. This has led some people to wonder if hunting and trapping squirrels are legal. First, grasp the laws to trap and hunt squirrels in North Carolina to get rid of squirrels.

You need a depredation permit to hunt and trap squirrels in North Carolina. With a depredation permit, you can legally trap squirrels and relocate them, but only if the squirrels are causing damage. You can get a depredation permit from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

In some situations, it’s okay to hunt a squirrel. This blog has information about the rules for hunting and trapping squirrels on state-owned land in North Carolina.

Squirrel Types Found In North Carolina 

More than 200 different kinds of squirrels worldwide, and North Carolina is home to four. Grey squirrels, red squirrels, Southeastern fox squirrels, and flying squirrels live in North Carolina.

Grey Squirrel 

The grey squirrel is the official State Mammal of North Carolina. This squirrel has grey fur, a white belly, and a long, bushy tail. It can be between 9 and 12 inches long. These squirrels are active during the day and like to store food. They also don’t mind people, so they aren’t afraid to take food from a bird feeder or open a trash can. 

Red Squirrel

Red squirrels are smaller than grey squirrels. The small tree squirrels have gray-red fur in winter and orange coats in summer. Their bellies are white. During the winter, tufts of hair will grow on the ears of red squirrels.

Red squirrels can do a lot of damage to things and buildings. A homemade repellent made of hot sauce and water can help stop red squirrel damage.

Southern Fox squirrel

The Southeastern fox squirrel is the biggest type of squirrel. It is 17 to 27 inches long. There are two different color groups of these big squirrels. One has dark fur that can be black, grey, brown, or even gold on the bottom.

The noses, ears, and feet of these dark-colored squirrels are white. Their heads are black. The other color is either orange, tan, or reddish.

Flying squirrel

The flying squirrel’s fur is shiny and either reddish brown or grey, but its belly is a creamy white color. The most noticeable thing about this squirrel is the cape of loose skin that goes from its wrists to its ankles and forms the membrane it glides on. These very small squirrels are active at night and live in trees, so they don’t cause many problems for people who live in the area.

  • You can hunt squirrels in North Carolina with a valid hunting license. However, it is against the law to hunt squirrels in North Carolina if you don’t have a license.
  • The northern flying squirrel is an endangered species. It can only be found at altitudes above 4,500 feet, and it is against the law to hunt it in North Carolina.
  • During hunting season, you can hunt Gray, Fox, and Red squirrels anywhere in North Carolina with a valid hunting license.

Squirrels Hunting Season In North Carolina 

In North Carolina, you can usually hunt red and gray squirrels from the beginning of fall until the end of winter. With a valid hunting license, you can only hunt eight squirrels per day. Each type of squirrel has a different set of dates for hunting.

The hunting season for red and gray squirrels starts in October and ends in February. Only people who live in the area and have valid licenses can participate. The best time to hunt fox squirrels is from October to January.

During the season, hunters can look for fox squirrels all over the state, except in places that are part of the National Forest or are otherwise marked. Dates and rules can change, so it’s important to check the NC wildlife website for the most up-to-date information.

Laws Governing The Hunting Of Squirrels In North Carolina 

According to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, this is how to hunt squirrels in NC:

  • Some animals are called “fur-bearing” animals for hunting purposes.
  • You can hunt squirrels for their fur if you have a valid hunting license.
  • The use of guns to hunt squirrels is legal.
  • You can hunt squirrels from October to February and up to eight of them per day.
  • If you want to get rid of the squirrel and live in a city, this probably isn’t what you’re looking for.
  • In the Raleigh-Durham area, it is usually against the law to fire a gun on your property to hunt squirrels.

Laws Governing The Trapping And Relocating Of Squirrels In North Carolina 

There are several different laws regulating the trapping and relocation of squirrels:

  • According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, residents are prohibited from trapping squirrels.
  • It is illegal to trap squirrels in North Carolina without a depredation permit.
  • You may relocate squirrels onto private property with the landowner’s permission.
  • A depredation permit will only allow you to take squirrels by lawful means, such as trapping if they are causing harm.
  • You can obtain a depredation permit by contacting the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
  • It allows property owners to use weapons to trap and relocate an animal that is causing damage to their property.

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Squirrels In North Carolina? 

When it comes to shooting squirrels, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has compiled a comprehensive list of things hunters should and should not do in order to be successful. You can obtain extra information by reading through the following options:

  • The shooting of squirrels is legal during the hunting season for squirrels.
  • During the open season, the only legal time to shoot a squirrel is at night, and the hunter must have a dog with them.
  • A pistol is the only legal weapon for killing squirrels.
  • There are no limits placed on either the length of the barrel or the caliber.
  • When legally obtaining animals by another means, such as shooting or trapping.
  • a shooter or trapper may use a handgun to kill the animal they are pursuing.
  • It is against the law to shoot a squirrel that is not a nuisance, diseased, or a threat to property or personnel.
  • However, landowners are allowed to use firearms at any time to capture wildlife that is actively damaging their property.

If you are under 18, North Carolina has no other laws about using Pallet guns or BB guns to shoot squirrels. Instead, it is up to local laws to decide how to handle them. But North Carolina lets people hunt certain kinds of squirrels with air guns. 

Non-explosive firearms such as BB guns, pellet guns, air rifles, crossbows, and bows and arrows may be fired by anyone over the age of 16. as long as the point of firing is 200 feet from the nearest property border.

You need a hunting license and can only shoot squirrels during the designated shooting seasons. When hunting on their property, landowners do not need a valid hunting license to do so. A state depredation permit allows for the humane capture and authorization of squirrels causing property damage. 

On the other hand, it is against the law to shoot squirrels on public property unless you have a valid license.  However, you should proceed with caution and consult a lawyer before taking any action.


Without a depredation permit, it is against the law in North Carolina to trap and hunt squirrels. Other animals that are a nuisance, like raccoons, can be caught legally during the trapping season as long as you have the proper license. 

Even though the state lets people use guns, it’s important to check with your city’s laws to make sure you can use a gun where you live. This also goes for air rifles. In North Carolina, it is legal to move squirrels, but there are rules that need to be followed when moving animals.