For many Georgia hunters, squirrel hunting season holds a special place in their hearts. Countless outdoors lovers can retell fondly stories of learning the safe and proper methods for hunting small game on their first squirrel hunt with a favorite family member or friend.
That time is approaching again in Georgia, as the state's annual squirrel hunting season opens August 15, and continues through February 28, 2023. A Georgia hunting license is required for squirrel hunting, a hunting and gun safety class is recommended, and hunting is limited to designated public and private lands. Hunting and shooting are never allowed near residential or commercial areas.
Squirrel hunting often is a family sport, where older members introduce younger generations to safe sport shooting, game conservation techniques, and respect for the natural environment. Plus, there's often another family secret shared in these outings: squirrels are great eating, with lots of recipe variations for virtually any meat-eating palate.
There's buttermilk fried squirrel with Southern gravy. Barbequed squirrel. Slow cooked squirrel and veggie stew. Squirrel casserole. And even squirrel Alfredo. This is beginning to sound like a Forest Gump soliloquy about squirrels instead of shrimp! For your culinary convenience, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) even has a blog post, Five Best Squirrel Recipes You'll Ever Taste.
Georgia's DNR also offers a "Squirrel Hunting 101" guide that provides some of the essential basics of squirrel hunting for novices.
“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.”
In residential areas squirrels can become a nuisance. They are notorious for robbing bird feeders. They also get into houses, especially attics. Many times habitat modification such as trimming tree limbs away from houses and “squirrel proofing” bird feeders is all that is needed to prevent nuisance situations. Trapping is an effective nuisance management strategy in these situations where shooting is not allowed or practical. Contact a Wildlife Resources Division Game Management office to see if a permit is required.
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