Is It illegal to Shoot Squirrels In Your Backyard? 5 Ways To Kill Squirrels

Whether they’ve damaged your house or uprooted flowers and herbs, you’ve decided to get rid of it and shoot maybe for eating squirrels from your backyard but doubt whether is it illegal to shoot & kill squirrels in your backyard or not. Shooting squirrels probably need more than a gun or arrow and requires to determine whether squirrels are permitted to shoot or not in your area from the Department of Conservation species.

The Short Answer…

The short answer to is it illegal to kill squirrels is yes, it’s illegal to kill squirrels without a permit in many states. However, you can shoot squirrels with a permit during hunting and trapping season. You cannot kill squirrels offseason unless they have damaged your property, and even in that case, you will need to obtain a permit first.

You cannot kill squirrels suffering them like putting into fire, sentencing to death into cage without food, throwing from many stories, or any sort of torture. However, you can also get rid of squirrels without shooting. Here’s how to do it.

Get Rid of Squirrels Without Shooting

If you’re shooting nuisance squirrel, then fortunately, you can do it without shooting.

Getting rid of these little resilient rodents without shooting them saves your time and effort to deal with permits. It also makes less sense to hurt these poor animals when you can stop them instead. Whether they have done some or more damaged, we’ve provided some ciritical tips that can stop them. This works no matter what variety of squirrels is.

Get Rid of Their Food Source

Get Rid of Their Food Source

Like raccoons, squirrels are omnivores and they eat anything they come across including plants and meat. And as long as there is some food for them, they are more than welcome to come. If you feed squirrels in your backyard, you may want to get rid of that first.

If you have a birdfeeder, that’s an absolute food source for them. No need to remove the bird feeder, just replace it with a squirrel-proof birdfeeder. If you’ve a squirrel feeder, simply remove it. Also, remove your pet food placed outside which is a great source of food for them.  Getting rid of their food source is the most effective and most useful step you could take. Means, if you’ve some sort of food for them like food scraps, or seeds, or anything else you know about, you’re inviting them to come. Also, make sure you get rid of their water source.

If you’ve a composter or compost bin which is outside, you’re providing fairly good enough food which is also easy to approach. Just take it away from the outside and maybe place it inside or better than that, you may set up chicken wire on the top of the composter.

Use Distractive Things

Is It illegal to Shoot Squirrels In Your Backyard?

You can also use a few different things that definitely distract them like Blood Meal but also an absolute soil fertilizer which will help plants grow quicker. You can pour some Blood Meal on the soil and it will probably defend next time when they’ll be trying to get in.

Similar to it, you can also use pelletized hen manure or chicken manure which is an absolute soil fertilizer and enriches your plants and garden, also keeps squirrels away. You can simply put a little bit of top dressing on your containers in your garden after you plant your bulbs, squirrels will take away. Think about what they don’t like to see, what they don’t like to smell, what they don’t like to touch, what they don’t like to taste.

You can also put a simple plastic owl or lion or dog idol, that will keep squirrels away. In fact, if you’ve a pet, specifically dog which follow up or would like to catch or play with squirrels, it will probably put them off from your yard.

One of the most distractive things is peeper. You may spread some pepper around and they won’t be likely to come.

For Larger Garden Centers

There are also different approaches to this, especially for large gardens. The most traditional way to do is with a predator bomb, which is coyote urine and spread it around your garden. You can also use raccoon pee, fox pee, or even your pee (human pee) to perform this. Gardeners for years have gone around the exterior of their property and have peed around their garden or their whole property. You can also use human hair, dog hair, pee, and different pee to smell bad. There are also plants like daffodil. If you’ve problems with squirrels planting daffodils that are poisonous will definitely keep squirrels out.

Planting mung beans also might solve your squirrel problem, and will leave your home and your neighborhood alone! You may also use a few pieces of hot red sprinkle pepper or regular pepper which will distract them.

Kill In As The Last Option

Is It illegal to Shoot Squirrels In Your Backyard?

Squirrels are great at finding and even creating weaknesses around your home to penetrate your attic for shelter. And these pests can be especially dangerous when they get inside because they love to chew on electrical wiring. And in fact, they exactly did it to me. They chewed up all the wiring underneath my solar panels, and it costs me a fortune to fix.

Not only that, but they also happened to chew chicken wires and pierce into and also chews the exterior of floors and walls. If the squirrels aren’t leaving your home and you’ve applied some or most of those steps and didn’t work or isn’t possible for you like having a nut tree which isn’t possible to cut and it’s persistently damaging, then you’ve no option left but to kill squirrels.

For those who wonder whether is it legal or illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard, it is legal to kill squirrels in hunting seasons. If they are nuisance and have damaged your property, you can kill squirrels other times of the year but with a special permit. However, in some states, you can shoot red and flying squirrels at any time, but only on your property.

The Protected Wildlife Series

As far as there are different kinds of squirrels, there are also different rules and regulations for them. And not only those but are also similar to these rodents. Some of the squirrel’s species are preserved like Gray squirrels and requires permit authorized in specific hunting or trapping seasons which is from September to January.

You’ve no permission to kill squirrels other than those seasons unless they’ve damaged your property in which case, it requires permit. This applies to the person and family of the landowners including Virginia, Texas, and many other states.

You can find more information on the website of the Department of Environmental Conservation or (DEC) about shooting guidelines and everything you need to know about it.

Other varieties of squirrels like red squirrels and flying squirrels are open to be shooted or trapped on any season but as long as they are in your property but require permission, otherwise, you’ve not done it lawfully. Remember to check the department website requirements and instructions to do it carefully.

The Law Protection

Many states require permits for killing squirrels and in specific seasons and under certain circumstances and under lawful regulation. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, you can kill squirrels without torturing, cutting into pieces, putting into the fire, trapping to death, or other sorts of torture. That would be shooting.

Getting the permit is the easy part of the process and there’s much more to follow. While most people are new and aren’t experienced to shoot, they can’t shoot into the head which kills easily. And squirrel suffers, which is not compliant with the RSPCA and is unlawful.

In 1977, squirrels were widely loved and were quite popular, and is until now in a few states like New Mexico and Utah. It’s still liked and isn’t allowed to kill squirrels there. The rules and regulations to kill squirrels in these places are far higher than in other states. Despite that, you can’t kill squirrels easily in the urban areas than in rural and requires much more attention and guidelines to follow. Contact your state wildlife department to know about your state and also take the steps cautiously.

Get Permit


The process of getting rid of squirrels requires permits in most states. However, there are two types of permits. If you simply want to shoot squirrels for eating squirrels, you can only do it in the hunting season and is hunting permit. If squirrels are nuisance and have done damage to your property and are off-season or in the closed season, then you can apply for the nuisance wildlife permit which includes squirrels. However, the process is a bit different from state to state but overall, these are the two main permits and requires you to have this for shooting squirrels.

However, red squirrels and flying squirrels are a bit easier to shoot since they are not into protected series. And as well as, they don’t require a season but require a simple permit. You can apply for the permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation website.

Shooting squirrels and anything else requires a perfect spot, when shooting, the direction should not be in the neighbor’s house direction. There are some rules and regulations to follow which are on the DEC’s website. If you’re not sure which variety of squirrel it is, you may Google or call the department.

The Perfect Guns For Shooting Squirrels

When you have the permit stage passed, you can now shoot squirrels in your backyard. Shooting squirrels without wounding requires perfect gun and what you will shoot with is definitely critical. Some guns wound squirrels instead of killing them which is unlawful and you will be charged if found.

Like if you’re using Airsoft or BB gun, you’re more likely to injure than to kill. In urban areas, especially cities, there are certain rules and instructions to follow which prevents disturbing and offending and scaring them. If they are scared or come to know about it, they will make different sounds for alerting others.

If you’re using a firearm like Remington, which requires specific permit, does an excellent job of killing squirrels perhaps if only shooted into the head will kill immediately.

There are varieties of firearms you can use which also work for hunting, or even survival like Nagant M1895 Silencer, Caldwell Conversion Uppercut, Nagant 1895 Officer. Note down to follow the instructions and department guidelines and be in cover of and more importantly, do your best to shot at the perfect place at the perfect time, and not offense, hurt or damage, any other animals, pets or person especially kids and aso not baby squirrels.

Shooting Squirrels Properly

Is it illegal to kill squirrels

Similar to how difficult it is to catch squirrels, it’s also difficult to shoot squirrels in an appropriate place. However, remember to only pursue and shoot squirrels which you’re permitted for. Now, preparing guns isn’t the last thing to do. What’s more difficult and requires more caution is probably shooting squirrels properly and correctly without hurting your family, pets, and other animals while also not offending your neighbor. More importantly, not to violate rules and regulations.

First things first, start pursuing squirrels and watch after them. If you have seen it somewhere often like birdfeeder, find out when it comes there. However, squirrels are most active in the morning and somehow in the dawn.

When you’ve enough information about when it’s available, you may notify your neighbor (both sides) beforehand and also inform your family members especially if there are kids which might get scared and also get your pet and family inside.

The best approach is to put some food where you have seen it often or where you would like to shoot it (which isn’t in your neighbor’s direction) and when serving, take out your gun and sit down then shoot carefully.

Remember! You can only shoot on your property and if this is not your property then this isn’t for you.

  • Go closest to the squirrel. The closer the better. It will not only make your chances to shoot perfectly but also won’t miss or injure them instead of killing. One perfect shoot is better than ten shots. Instead of 10 shots, which is quite dangerous, get the closest and carefully point your gun to the head and do a single shot.
  • Shoot the squirrel – Take out the gun and sit on the ground and take your target to the head, load it, and press the shoot button. If it is moving quite quickly, you may put some food for it so it will last longer with a little move. Otherwise, if they try to escape or move into somwhere, don’t shoot because it might go wrong and violate the law.
  • If you shot into head, it will die after a few seconds. Or if you end up shooting into body, it mightn’t die soon, that means you’ve injured. In this case, shoot once more to finish it but this time, into head.

Take the dead body to the side of the yard and bury it there. If you don’t like to, pack it into black plastic preferably, and put it into garbage can and the garbage person will take it away.

This is probably the best and also the safe way to do this. Other than this, you can also trap and then kill squirrels which is easier. 

If you don’t have any experience before or can’t do it for some reason, you may reach out to the local police or wildlife department.

Other Ways To Kill Squirrels Humanely

If your state doesn’t allow killing gray squirrels like Indiana, and like in most states of the UK, or if you’re afraid of or don’t want to offend or scare your family or neighbor, you may go for the similar options but definitely safer and easier way to proceed it.

  • Simple & Lethal Traps
Is it illegal to kill squirrels

Traps are one of the most popular and yet used ways to do it. While there are many different traps like simple and snap traps, they aren’t definitely as useful as lethal traps that kill squirrels directly instead of only catching that other traps do.

That is the absolute way to take down squirrels without you need to shoot them whether with a gun or arrow or whatever. Since they are pretty fast and quick just like a bird, they jump, climb, and escapes in just a moment, it makes them very difficult to catch, notice and sometimes even see.

Fortunately, with lethal traps, you can not only catch but also kill them at the same time. This is the most effective and easiest way to kill squirrels without effort that also minimizes the risk, time which probably takes very less to manage or look after. However, if you’ve a pet or small kid, its a little bit risk that they mighn’t fall into the trap, nonetheless, that’s the only thing to take care of which isn’t as work and risk as shooting with gun.

As for legal talks, you may first check your state or the department about traps as each state differs but overall, most states allow. Find everything about traps and rules and regulations.

  • Simply put the trap wherever you have seen or is more likely to come or simply put some food so they will come, and you’re good to go. Just make sure you take care of your pets and kids and that’s it.
  • After a day or two, you will see the job done without having you touch.

The only part of lethal traps is difficult to make and find a good one in stores or anywhere else. Most of them are only simple traps that does catch squirrel but doesn’t kill, it only becomes easier to kill but doesn’t do the entire job. I’ve found one which works but you can definitely find better than this. Remember that most traps which are for rodents don’t work for squirrels especially the ones for mice and rats because squirrels are bigger than those and most rodents. If you’re after killing squirrels, you may consider this first.

Other than this, you may also use simple traps which simply capture the squirrels into and then you can kill it with arrow, poison spray.

  • Arrow & Bow
Is it illegal to kill squirrels

Similar to traps, arrow and bow are also proven way to kill squirrels, but requires a bit effort of targeting to the perfect place just like guns. You can do it with ease with traps. With a simple trap, you can catch the squirrels into and then shoot in the head. This is the easier way.

The easy way is to figure out squirrels from the holes and marks where it comes often and once its there, you can simply take the bow or arrow and set your target to the head and shoot hardly.

In many states, arrow and bow approved way of killing rodents and all used by people. Just like before, you can kill red and flying squirrels anytime but gray squirrels requires permit. Since we’ve done the permit part, I assume you’ve finished with it, so that’s another way of killing squirrels which is very similar to shooting with guns.

  • Poisons

In addition to shooting with gun, you can also kill squirrels with poisons. In some states, its legal to kill squirrels with poison however, in a few states, it’s not legal to kill squirrels with poison like Denver. That may be due to the ability to affect other pets and animals. You may better find out from your state or the wildlife department.

If it’s permitted, you may use the poison option. This will do the entire job as long as you place it in an appropriate place just like lethal traps but have a few flaws. If you’ve kids and pets, you may use this just if you can completely prevent your kids and pets..

The best part is, first, the poisons that are specifically made for squirrels contain nuts that attracts squirrels itself, and attracting them to the poison will lead to killing them pretty easily. But that’s only when you use squirrel’s poison not rats, chipmunks or other rodents. Using a posion not for squirrels is not only illegal but also doesn’t kill squirrels but injure them or confuse them and maybe kill in some point later after a few time.

Getting a good squirrel poison is easy but there aren’t many of them. A nice squirrel poison, placed in a proper place will nonetheless kill squirrels very soon, due to its appropriate ingredients. This is also one of the most powerful ways to kill squirrels with less effort and time.

Once again, make sure you make it out of reach of childs and pets.

Gas Killer

If squirrels have made holes which indicate that they are living or hiding their foods or themselves there, you have a choice of the gas killer. For most, gas killer and similar biological materials are a packed of gas which can be burned inside the burrows of squirrels, gophers, and rates when the squirrels are into their burrows, and also but with the other side of holes covered or filled. They do an incredible job of killing these pests in their holes in the underground.

This works for most rodents except flying squirrels which mostly live in a nest but can be also applied to when it’s down in burrow and works up to very far. You can use this outdoor but probably take away pets, kids, and more importantly, your car, bike, or anything fireable. Other than that, it doesn’t contain poison or anything harmful but needs to stays away from children.

How To Use The Gas Killer

  • First, find out where the squirrel is. Make sure it’s in the burrow.
  • Remove vehicle from garage to outdoor.
  • Attach rubber coupler tightly to exhaust pipe.
  • Connect hose to coupler and extend to rodent hole.
  • Clear dirt from visible mound/burrow to expose the hole.
  • Start engine, insert hose into hole and seal holes with dirt.
  • Run engine 15 to 30 Mins.
  • Do not accelerate the engine.

Keep in mind that every gas killer has different instructions for use. It’s a solid but also humane solution and it won’t torture squirrels just like shooting, neither it will take much time and effort.

In Summary

Whatever damage squirrels have made, whether it’s big or small, or simply if you just don’t like it due to its destruction tendency. Nevertheless, never pull the trigger or shoot them without any permit. That means if you would like to eliminate them, you need to be and do it in compliance with the rule especially in a city and urban areas.

In order for that, follow the steps from above which we’ve already talked about the legality. As well as, you may contact and get the complete permit and rules and regulation from the wildlife department or department of Agriculture. That way, you won’t breach the rules and more importantly will realize whether it’s legal or not and how and with what to get the job done.

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