The Georgia squirrel season opens on August 15 and officially kicks off the state’s fall hunting seasons. For many, it’s the first opportunity to get back in the woods since spring turkey season.
So if you’re looking for an excuse to get out of the house and into the woods, consider taking time out this fall to enjoy a little squirrel hunting. It’s a great opportunity to hone your woodsmanship skills, practice shooting, and put some excellent game meat on your table if your aim is true.
If you do decide to chase some bushytails this fall, we’ve provided all the necessary information below to ensure you’re legal and to give you your best odds for success.
2022-2023 Georgia Squirrel Season Dates
- August 15, 2022 – February 28, 2023
Georgia’s squirrel season always opens on August 15, regardless of what day of the week that falls on, and it closes the last day of February. For the 2022-2023 Georgia squirrel season, that has it opening on a Monday and closing on a Tuesday.
- RELATED: 2022-2023 Georgia Deer Season Dates
- RELATED: 2022-2023 Georgia Duck Season Dates
Georgia Squirrel Season Bag Limit
The bag limit for squirrels in Georgia is 12 per day, either gray or fox squirrel or any combination of the two.
If you’re a public land hunter, keep in mind that starting in 2022, the fox squirrel bag limit is one per person per day on all WMAs, VPAs, and department-managed lands.
Georgia’s Two Squirrel Species
Gray and fox squirrels can both be found in Georgia. The most common species is the gray squirrel, which is typically associated with hardwood forests or a mix of pines and hardwoods. Gray squirrels are predominantly gray with white underparts, and appear more slender-bodied than fox squirrels, weighing anywhere from 12 ounces to 1.5 pounds.
Fox squirrels have several color phases, varying from silver-gray with a predominantly black head, to solid black, to a light buff or brown color tinged with reddish-yellow. Generally larger than grays, fox squirrels range in weight from one pound to nearly three, and are more closely associated with mature pine and mixed pine/hardwood habitats, and especially in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions.
Georgia Squirrel Hunting License Requirements
All that is required to squirrel hunt on both private or public lands is an annual hunting license or a one-day hunting license, for those required to have a hunting license. To learn more about who needs a hunting license, and who doesn’t, check out the Georgia DNR’s What Licenses Do I Need? page
Legal Squirrel Hunting Weapons
- Rifles and Handguns: Any .22-cal. or smaller rimfire, air rifle, or any muzzleloading firearm. There is no restriction on magazine capacity for rifles.
- Shotguns: Any having shotshell size 3.5 inches or smaller in length with No. 2 or smaller shot.
- Archery: Crossbows, longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows are allowed for hunting squirrels. Draw weight, let-off, arrow length, and sights are not restricted.
- Primitive Weapons: Air bows, air rifles and muzzleloaders or muzzleloading shotguns are legal for squirrels.
Where to Hunt Squirrels in Georgia
Georgia’s wildlife management areas (WMAs) offer access to nearly one million acres of hunting opportunities, and squirrel hunting is allowed on WMAs at specified times during the statewide squirrel season. Hunters are advised to check the current hunting regulations for specific WMA dates and info.
Wolves in Squirrels
A lot of hunters won’t go out early in the Georgia squirrel season due to the presence of wolves, or warbles, on the squirrels. Wolves are the larvae of bot flies, which lay their eggs on vegetation in the woods. When a squirrel comes in contact with the larvae, the larvae grab onto the squirrel and burrow under the skin.
Squirrels with wolves, or warbles, will have large lumps on the skin where the bot fly larvae are burrowed underneath. It’s not pretty, but wolves have no negative impact on the meat of the squirrel.
So don’t let the thought of wolves keep you from hitting the woods this August or September in pursuit of a limit of bushytails. Not only will it give you an opportunity to hone your shooting skills before deer season, but it can provide excellent table fare as well.
Can I shoot squirrels in my yard in Georgia?
That depends. There are no DNR regulations that prohibit shooting squirrels around your house. There are, however, city and county ordinances that may prohibit discharging a firearm where you live. You also have to consider the safety of any neighbors you may have.
So, if your house is a safe distance from any neighbors, and there is no city or county ordinance that prohibits the discharge of firearms where you live, then there’s nothing wrong with putting a few bushytails in the freezer.
Do you need a license to hunt squirrels in Georgia?
Yes. Most hunters will need a Georgia annual hunting license or one-day license to hunt squirrels. The exception would be a landowner hunting on his/her own land, or a youth under the age of 16.
Can you bait squirrels in Georgia?
No. Baiting is only legal in Georgia for deer and hogs. You cannot hunt squirrels, other small game, or turkeys with the aid of bait.
Can you shoot a fox squirrel in Georgia?
Yes, you can shoot fox squirrels in Georgia. They count as part of your twelve squirrel daily limit. There are some WMAs, however, that prohibit the shooting of fox squirrels, so be sure to check out the specific regulations for any WMA you intend to squirrel hunt.