Laws To Trap And Hunt Squirrels In Washington [Quick Guide]

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Squirrels in Washington can be very entertaining and charming. They’re no longer attractive when they invade homes, destroy landscaping, consume plants, or drive away birds. To trap and hunt squirrels, you must be eager to learn the laws to trap and hunt squirrels in Washington.

You can only trap and hunt squirrels with a license from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife if they damage your property. WDFW gets thousands of calls yearly from residents seeking guidance on human/wildlife issues.

This blog explains Washington’s regulations for squirrel hunting and trapping on the state-owned territory.

Squirrel Types Found In Washington

Here are the three kinds of squirrels that mostly live in the state of Washington:

Eastern Grey Squirrel

In the wild, such squirrels live in big, thick forests with many old trees. However, these animals are flexible and can live in residential and city neighborhoods, parklands, and farmlands.

Eastern Gray Squirrels are a big issue in much of Europe because they drive out their native squirrels, like the very cute Eurasian Red squirrels, as they are better at survival and hunting.

Fox Squirrel

All such squirrels can adjust to several diverse habitats. Most of the time, they live in small spots of forest areas. Their favorite foods are acorns, walnuts, pecans, and hickory nuts, which grow on trees. To get ready for winter, they hide these nuts everywhere so they can eat them whenever it gets cold.

Western Grey Squirrel

Even though the Western Gray Squirrel and the Eastern Gray Squirrel look alike, they have unique interests. For example, the organisms living in the west tend to be shy and will run up a tree if startled. When they get there, they make a hoarse chirping sound at the intruder, flick their tails, and stomp their feet.

Douglas Squirrel

These pine squirrels like to eat seeds from Douglas Firs, Sitka Spruce, and Coastal Pine trees, so they mostly live in boreal trees. But if they can get them, they would also eat nuts, shiitake, fruit, and bird eggs.

Individuals, like the Douglas Squirrel, usually store as much food as they can in one place. As the squirrel slices the scale items off pinecones to get to the seeds, the scales start to keep piling on the ground.

  • According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), hunting or trapping Western Gray, Douglas, Red, and Flying Squirrels is illegal.
  • Many species of tree squirrels and ground squirrels are also illegal to hunt.
  • The Eastern grey squirrel and the Eastern Fox squirrel legally hunt year-round with a valid license.

Squirrels Hunting Season In Washington

There is no such thing as a specific hunting season to hunt squirrels in Washington. Residents with valid hunting licenses can hunt certain kinds of squirrels all year. These include the Eastern grey squirrel and the Eastern Fox squirrel, among others.

Surveys in 1993 indicated a decline in the squirrel population (with the Gray Squirrel being the most endangered). Many squirrels are on the list of state-threatened species that are illegal to hunt. The decline in the squirrel population is dangerous to wildfires, illegal shootings, habitat loss, roadkill, disease, and degradation.

Laws Governing The Hunting Of Squirrels In Washington

Regarding hunting squirrels, the WDFW in Washington state has several different regulations:

  • Residents and non-residents of Washington State who want to hunt squirrels need a license, just like in most other states.
  • With a general hunting license, you can hunt squirrels all year long.
  • The license price depends on where you live, but it’s usually around $30 for people who live in the state and $110 for people who don’t.
  • Still, fees are always changing, so you should check the WDFW website for the most recent information.

Laws Governing The Trapping Of Squirrels In Washington

According to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), there are separate laws about trapping squirrels:

  • The Eastern grey squirrel and the Eastern fox squirrel are not classified, which means that you don’t need a special permit to use a live trap to catch them.
  • But trapping squirrels that are a problem is a good idea if you can’t find a way to get along with them.
  • There are strict rules about what kinds of traps people can use to trap wildlife in the state of Washington.
  • Use can trap Squirrels that belong to endangered or sensitive species only with a special permit.
  • It is also against the law to trap and move it without a permit.

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Squirrels In Washington?

To hunt a squirrel, you can use the following methods :

  • Since it is against the law to hunt squirrels on your land, it is likely against the law to shoot a squirrel unless you have the proper permission.
  • The best guns for shooting squirrels are those with a caliber of 22 and shotguns with a No. 2 shot size.
  • Also, Washington state has several laws that make it illegal for people to hunt animals in cruel ways.
  • If squirrels are bothering you, the best thing to do is to call a professional in your area who takes care of wildlife.
  • They will be able to help you figure out what the best thing to do is that doesn’t break any laws.
  • You will get in trouble if you trap or hunt squirrels without a permit or when it’s not the right time of year. This is especially true if the animal is on the list of protected or endangered species.


Washington is one of the few states where hunting, trapping or killing a squirrel is illegal. It is illegal to hunt and trap several kinds of squirrels, like the Western Gray, Douglas, red, and flying squirrels.

Some squirrels, like the Eastern grey squirrel and the Eastern fox squirrel, can be hunted at any time of year or during the hunting season.

There are also rules about what traps you can use to catch wildlife. If you have problems with squirrels on your property, you should call a professional wildlife removal service. They can help you get rid of the squirrels in a safe and legal way.