Is it Illegal to Shoot Squirrels in Your Backyard?

Squirrels. We all know these little rodents. Small feet, big tail. These tiny animals scamper around the backyard, jumping from tree to tree. They annoy our pets, terrify the wildlife, and steal our birdseed. They jabber from tree to tree, making all kinds of noise. In many jurisdictions, squirrels are considered a nuisance. In fact, squirrels carry all sorts of diseases. So, is it illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard?

There are several laws that determine whether or not it is illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard:

  • According to international law, it is not illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard.
  • According to federal law, it is not illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard.
  • According to state law, it is usually not illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard.
  • According to local law, it is usually not illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard.
  • According to tribal and other law, it is not illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard.

In this article, I will help you to determine whether or not it is illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard, share tips for how to do so, and then discuss a few things to think about to help get rid of squirrels.

Is it Illegal to Shoot Squirrels: Discussion of Laws

In order to determine whether or not it is illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard, you need to consider international, federal, state, and local laws. These legal codes work together, so it is important to determine whether or not they apply to you. Once you know about each code, you can understand how they interact.

How International Law Determines Whether You Can Shoot Squirrels

International law governs relations between nations.

  • International law is generally written by big institutions like the United Nations or NATO.
  • These organizations generally care about endangered (rare) animals.
  • These animals include lions, tigers, and polar bears. These animals are threatened with extinction. Because of this threat, governments want to preserve the animals through legislation, which would ensure that they can survive for future generations.
  • Because international law governs animals, it is important to know whether squirrels are protected animals.

Fortunately, squirrels are not protected animals under international law. Thus, it is not illegal to shoot squirrels under international law.

How Federal Law Determines Whether You Can Shoot Squirrels

Federal law governs individual states within the United States.

  • Federal law also applies to individual citizens within the United States.
  • Federal law also has provisions about animals. Much like international law, these provisions often apply to rare animals.
  • In the United States, such animals include bears, eagles, and certain rodents.
  • However, in the United States, squirrels are not endangered
  • Thus, because they are not endangered, squirrels are not protected by federal law.
  • It is not illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard under federal law

However, it may be illegal to shoot squirrels if you are not allowed to have a firearm. The federal government licenses firearms in the United States. If you are not allowed to have a firearm, then you are not allowed to shoot anything, much less squirrels.

How State Law Determines Whether You Can Shoot Squirrels

State law is a primary determinate of whether or not you can shoot squirrels in your backyard.

  • Unlike federal law, many states do have laws on whether or not you can shoot animals in your backyard.
  • Because many states have different rules, it is important to check the rules in your particular state.
  • However, generally speaking, it is never illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard.
  • State laws do not subvert federal law, however, so you should make sure that you do not accidentally shoot an endangered animal when preparing to shoot a squirrel.
  • In addition, you should make sure that you are not breaking a state law in owning a particular gun to shoot squirrels.

While the act of shooting a squirrel may be legal in your state, you should make sure that your firearm is legal and properly licensed before you begin to shoot squirrels in your backyard.

How Local Law Determines Whether You Can Shoot Squirrels

Local law, like state law, is a primary determinate of whether or not you can shoot squirrels in your backyard.

  • Unlike state law, local law is the most restrictive. Some cities do not allow residents to fire guns in city limits.
  • However, if you live in the suburbs and not in the city, local law is less restrictive.
  • While it is important to determine if your particular local law allows you to shoot squirrels, generally speaking, rural and suburban areas have relaxed gun laws.
  • These relaxed laws may indicate that you can use low-powered guns to shoot squirrels in your backyard.

How Other Laws Determine Whether You Can Shoot Squirrels

Some areas, like Indian reservations, have special sets of laws that may affect whether or not it is illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard.

  • Unlike state and local laws, reservations have specialized legal procedures that are difficult and highly specific.
  • However, generally speaking, reservations have laws that restrict the hunting of endangered animals.
  • Fortunately, squirrels are not endangered.
  • Because they lack endangered status, on many reservations and special legal areas, it is perfectly legal to shoot squirrels in your backyard.

Although squirrels may live under a variety of jurisdictions, generally speaking, it is not illegal to shoot squirrels, even is special administrative regions.

Conclusion

Generally speaking, squirrels are a nuisance. It is usually perfectly legal to shoot squirrels in your backyard without legal consequence. It is not illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard.

Alternatives To Shooting Squirrels

Although shooting squirrels may be legal, there are many different ways to get rid of squirrels and lethal shooting. I have listed a few alternatives below.

Use Repellent to Deter Squirrels: You can utilize store-bought repellant to keep squirrels from coming back. These formulas are generally pellets that you can sprinkle around your backyard. They smell like nothing to humans, but keep squirrels away! Generally, these formulas are harmless and safe to use around kids. You can buy squirrels repellant at your local hardware and home goods store.

Use Poison to Kill Squirrels: You can also buy store-bought poison to kill squirrels. This sort of solution to a squirrel problem works best for those who are unable to shoot a gun in their neighborhood. By using poison, a homeowner can effectively fight squirrels in any context. These formulas are generally disguised as squirrel food, and entice the squirrels in with the promise of an easy snack. But instead of tasty walnut, a squirrel will ultimately have a dose of something less pleasant.

Effective Traps and Snares for Squirrels: Squirrel infestations can be effectively combatted with traps and snares. Unleash your inner pioneer by using snares and traps to deal with squirrels. These are lethal solutions that shooting or poison. You would be able to capture squirrels and release those rodents, and, much like an old-fashioned mousetrap, kill the animal quickly and humanely. While bullets may cause a lingering death, an effective trap or snare minimizes animal suffering.

Use Live Trapping For Squirrels: A live trap is an effective way to humanely capture squirrels. These are essentially large cages that exist to keep the animal alive and functioning so that you can take them to a faraway location for release. Animal lovers rejoice: if you have a squirrel problem, this may be the solution for you.

Use of a Different Weapon To Eliminate Squirrels: Some enterprising squirrel hunters utilize a bow and arrow or blowgun to eliminate squirrels. These options are certainly more cost-effective and quieter than using a rifle, pistol, or other gunpowder weapons. However, they do require more skill to operate effectively.

Conclusion

There are many ways to get rid of squirrels if you are dealing with an infestation. Don’t hesitate to use one of the strategies discussed above!

Tips on Shooting Squirrels: If Allowed in Your Area

If you are interested in shooting squirrels if allowed in your area, consider taking a class on gun safety and marksmanship. These sorts of classes will do wonders for your ability to aim, and with it, your ability to successfully shoot squirrels. In addition to improving marksmanship, these lessons will help you understand the dangers of using a firearm. Guns are quite dangerous and expensive, and proper care will ensure that your weapons last a lifetime.

Practice: If you are shooting squirrels, I recommend that you practice before you begin taking aim in the backyard. Consider setting out some cans (or another object) that you can use for target practice. After all, squirrels move fast. It is important to test your abilities on stationery targets before you move on to the real thing.

Targets: As discussed above, consider getting several items to serve as targets. I usually use old plates or soda cans. You can also get realistic targets from local department stores or sporting goods stores.

Equipment: It is important to make sure that you have the right equipment for the job. I recommend purchasing a small caliber rifle or a large BB or pellet gun. These weapons will make sure that you have the right firepower to shoot squirrels, yet not too much firepower to hurt neighbors or friends. If you buy too big a gun, you will endanger others. If your weapon is too small, then you risk not injuring the squirrel. As you move towards purchasing a weapon, I recommend that you think critically about what you need. Then, once you have decided, find a store that will sell you such a weapon at a good price. Make sure to wait for sales.

How to Properly Dispose of Dead Squirrels

If you are shooting squirrels, it will eventually be necessary to dispose of the dead bodies. Yuck! There are several ways to do this, however, that are not difficult. Find some more information on the various ways of disposal below.

You could consider eating them: While it may strike some as foreign, squirrels are a delicacy in some parts of the world. They are high in protein, low in fat, and quite flavorful. With some hard work, a recently-shot squirrel can be delicious.

You can dispose of the carcass in the trash: Many cities and municipalities will allow for the routine disposal of animals in this manner. However, some cities frown on such activity and will discourage it. Make sure to check with your local representatives on whether or not you can dispose of animals in the garbage.

Consider burying the animals in the backyard: Disposing of squirrels in this manner can create a fertile environment for plant growth, leading to increased agricultural sustainability for a garden or other backyard project.

Consider disposing of the squirrels in a fire: Similar to a cremation, this method would permanently dispose of the bodies with relative ease.

Frequently Asked Questions About Whether It Is Illegal to Shoot Squirrels in Your Backyard

It is important to think about several key questions when considering whether to shoot squirrels in your backyard. These are some common questions that may influence your decision on whether to shoot squirrels.

Where is it illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard? It is generally illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard in urban areas like New York City. If you live in a population center, it is probably illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard.

How many squirrels can I shoot in my backyard? Theoretically, there is no limit to the number of squirrels that you can shoot in your backyard. However, remember that you must keep up with the bodies of dead squirrels, so make sure to shoot responsibly!

Where can you shoot squirrels in your backyard? Generally, you can shoot squirrels in your backyard if you live in a rural or suburban area. However, make sure to check with your local law enforcement officer to determine that your area allows such action.

What gun should I buy to shoot squirrels in my backyard? You should consider a range of weapons, dependent on purpose and budget.

What happens if I illegally shoot squirrels in my backyard? If you illegally shoot squirrels in your backyard, you will likely be subject to fines and possible arrest.

Wrap Up

I hope that you will consider the above when considering whether or not it is illegal to shoot squirrels in your backyard. This guidance discusses international law, federal law, state law, local law, and special law. Remember to check with your government, and when in doubt, meet with an attorney to go over specifics. Taking these preventative steps will help make sure that your recreational activity stays safe, remains clear, and allows for maximization of pleasure. You

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