Squirrel Removal Laws in Ohio

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Squirrels can be a nuisance.
Squirrels can be a nuisance. (Image: squirrel image by Aleksey Trefilov from Fotolia.com)

Squirrels have a history as a nuisance animal in Ohio. They can get into your attic and cause a great deal of damage by chewing on electrical wires and nesting in the insulation. If you have a squirrel problem, you should know the removal laws as wildlife violations can carry serious fines and penalties. There are general guidelines in Ohio regarding squirrel removal; local jurisdictions can have more restrictive regulations. Regulations can change; call the Ohio Division of Wildlife at 1-800-WILDLIFE to check for updates.

Trapping and Relocating

If squirrels are a nuisance on your own property, it is typically within your legal rights to live-trap and relocate them. Wild animals can be dangerous; take necessary precautions. Ohio state law indicates that you may not keep squirrels in your possession for more than 24 hours after trapping and they must be released outside of the city limits. You must obtain permission from the landowner prior to releasing the animals.

Selling or Keeping

While you may want to rid yourself of this pest, a child, neighbor or friend might think it would be fun to keep as a pet. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' website, "It is illegal for anyone to possess a native wild animal unless permitted by the Division of Wildlife." Unless you happen to be one of the few with a permit, don't try to sell or keep a squirrel for a pet. Wild animals, including squirrels, are not suitable pets; they are not tame and carry diseases.

Euthanizing

If live-trapping is not effective, you may need to consider lethal means of removing the squirrels. Prior to euthanizing squirrels, typically by using a killing trap, you must get permission. According to Ken Fritz, law enforcement program administrator for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division, this permission needs to be in writing, from your county wildlife officer, in the form of a letter permit. If you would rather not have to deal with all of the paperwork, you can hire a pest control company that should already have the appropriate permit. The Division of Wildlife strongly discourages poisoning, as it is a danger to many other animal species.

Hunting

You can hunt squirrels in Ohio, and that may be an acceptable way to get rid of them, provided it is during open season. Your bag limit is six per day and you may hunt the gray, red, fox and black squirrels. The hunting season typically runs from Sept. 1 through Jan. 31. Permitted hunting hours are typically a half-hour before sunrise to sunset. Check any local laws on the use of weapons, particularly firearms, in a residential setting.

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