When is the Last Day of Squirrel Season?
Squirrel season is 30 days longer this year than it was last year. That means squirrels will be searching for food much earlier than they would have in the fall. The best places to find squirrels now are in wooded areas with hickory or beech trees. If you are lucky enough to have access to hard mast, you will still have time to catch some of these cute rodents.
Groundhog hunting is permitted during the spring squirrel season
In Virginia, gray and red squirrels may be harvested. This season is allowed statewide. Specific WMAs include the Fairystone WMA, the Philpott Reservoir, Hidden Valley, Highland, Hog Island WMA, Little North Mountain, Mattaponi Bluffs, and Merrimac Farm. Hunting of groundhogs is also permitted on Department lands during spring squirrel season.
Archery equipment is legal
In the United States, archery equipment is defined as any device with a solid, stationary handle and two limbs that propel an arrow with a string. Crossbows and compound bows are legal for all species with open hunting seasons. Archery equipment requires a minimum pull of 35 pounds for a compound bow, and arrows and bolts must be a minimum width of seven-eighths of an inch in the open position.
Primitive weapons may be used on private land. A single or double-barreled muzzleloading rifle, or a shotgun with a main beam of at least 13 inches, is legal. During the Primitive Weapons season, a mechanical arrowhead with firearm ammunition is not permitted. Rifled barrel shotguns are legal only if they are fired with a flintlock or percussion cap.
Rifles and handguns are prohibited in zones 1-9
While rifles and handguns are legal for hunting deer and other game mammals, you are not allowed to use them during squirrel season. The seasons are preliminarily approved at a January meeting, and bag limits are finalized in April. You may use a bow and arrow to hunt squirrels, but no other weapon is allowed on private property. You must ask the landowner’s permission to hunt.
In zones 1-9, you can only harvest gray squirrels and red squirrels with shotguns or archery equipment. Rifles and handguns are prohibited during squirrel season on stocked WMAs. You can only use shotguns and archery equipment for hunting in stocked areas, as stated in 321 CMR 3.01(1)(o). Trapping is also prohibited. Rifles and handguns are not allowed during squirrel season.
Squirrel dogs speed up the hunting
While not essential to success in the woods, squirrel dogs do make the process go much faster. The first step in catching a squirrel is to track down the animal. Squirrels like to play hide and seek with hunters, sneaking around the base of a tree to watch for them. They’ll also bark at other squirrels nearby. Once a hunter spots the animal, the dog will circle the tree and bring it into view.
There are several different types of squirrel dogs. You can choose from an American Leopard Hound, a large, athletic dog that is highly tolerant of weather and climate change, and a Treeing Tennessee Brindle, a short-coated dog that is dependable and feisty. Training your new squirrel dog should begin when the animal is young, at three to six months old, as early training will help him understand basic hunting commands.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.