Looking for a healthy, sustainable source of protein and a good woodland hike? Squirrel hunting season, which opens August 15, can meet those goals, and get everyone excited about fall hunting seasons, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
“Squirrel hunting season is a great introduction to hunting,” said Alan Isler, Chief of the WRD Game Management Section. “Due to their abundance, squirrels are easy to find, yet still provide hunters with a little challenge. You can pursue them while sitting, walking and maybe even pushing the pace a little as you take the chance to scout some land ahead of other hunting seasons.”
Squirrel season begins August 15, 2022, and lasts through February 28, 2023, and hunters can pursue both gray and fox squirrels. The maximum daily bag limit is 12 per hunter. Please note that some of the state Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) have a limit on the harvest of fox squirrels. Need more information on how to get started? Visit GeorgiaWildlife.com/LearnToHuntFish.
Georgia’s WMAs offer access to nearly one million acres of hunting opportunity, and squirrel hunting is allowed on WMAs at specified times during the statewide squirrel season (GeorgiaWildlife.com/allwmas). Hunters are advised to check the current hunting regulations for specific WMA dates and info (eregulations.com/georgia/hunting/).
The Two Species
Both gray and fox squirrels can be found throughout Georgia. The gray squirrel, abundant in both rural and urban areas, is most common. Though mostly associated with hardwood forests, grays also can be found in mixed pine/hardwood forests. Predominantly gray, with white under parts, gray squirrels 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.
Finding squirrels is typically easy as they occur on nearly every WMA and hunting lease in the state, and that is great news for meat lovers, as the meat is high in iron and B Vitamins, and best of all – it’s delicious! Culinary inspiration for harvested squirrels can be found at GeorgiaWildlife.blog/2018/08/26/5-squirrel-recipes-youll-ever-taste/.
For more information on the 2022-2023 squirrel hunting season, or other hunting seasons, visit GeorgiaWildlife.com/hunting/hunter-resources. To renew or purchase a hunting license, visit GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com.