Squirrel for dinner? Yes, please. Whether fried with gravy, barbeque style, slow cooker, in a casserole, or any other delicious way, squirrel is a healthy, sustainable source of protein.
Squirrel hunting season opens August 15 so let’s get ready to head to the woods, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
“When you are squirrel hunting, it isn’t necessary to be absolutely still or quiet, making it an ideal first hunt opportunity for young or new hunters,” said Diana McGrath, Wildlife Biologist with the WRD Game Management Section. “Squirrels are typically easy-to-find but still provide enough challenge to make the hunt exciting, and the day is made even better when you take that harvest home and cook up a delicious dinner.”
Squirrel season begins August 15, 2023, and lasts through February 29, 2024, 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 to take a beginner’s course 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/).
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 tastes good! 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 2023-2024 squirrel hunting season, or other hunting seasons, visit GeorgiaWildlife.com/hunting/hunter-resources. To renew or purchase a hunting license, visit GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com.