Squirrel Species in Mississippi

There are two game species of squirrels found in Mississippi: the eastern gray squirrel and the eastern fox squirrel. Both species are found throughout the state, but gray squirrels are the most widely distributed and most numerous.

Fox Squirrels

There are two subspecies of fox squirrels that occur in Mississippi. The Bachman, or "Hill Country," fox squirrel is the subspecies that occurs in more open upland areas throughout the state. The Delta fox squirrel is primarily limited to the Delta region and is most abundant in mature forests. Hill Country fox squirrel populations have declined substantially in many areas because of changes in land use and management.

Gray Squirrels

Gray squirrels are perhaps the most abundant resident small game species and generally offer plenty of hunting opportunities in most areas of the state. However, squirrel populations will often fluctuate from one year to the next in response to the abundance of the previous year's autumn mast crops (acorns, nuts, pine seeds, berries, and fruits).

Learn more about Mississippi's squirrel species.

Squirrel Hunting in Mississippi

There are a number of public lands that are open to squirrel hunting in Mississippi, including Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), National Forests, National Wildlife Refuges, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lakes and Tenn-Tom Waterway. Practically all areas offer squirrel hunting opportunities. Hunters seeking gray squirrels (and fox squirrels in the Delta region) will likely find best hunting in areas with large amounts of relatively mature hardwood forest. Those looking for the upland or hill country fox squirrel will likely find better hunting in areas with mixed pine-hardwood or upland hardwood forests that have more conditions along the ground. A Wildlife Management Area User Permit (may be purchased anywhere hunting licenses are sold) is required of anyone using a WMA, unless exempt from purchasing a hunting and fishing license. Always check area regulations from the appropriate administrative agency for open season dates, bag limits, and additional permit requirements.

The MDWFP has conducted random, statewide surveys of hunting license holders almost yearly since the early 1980s (with some periodic surveys prior to that). The data below are from these surveys conducted since the 1980 - 1981 hunting seasons.

Resident Harvest

Figure 1. Trends in squirrel harvest estimated from surveys of licensed, resident hunters ("Season" indicates season opening date year).

Resident and Nonresident Harvest

Figure 2. Trends in squirrel harvest estimated from surveys of licensed, resident and non-resident hunters ("Season" indicates season opening date year). Data for non-resident hunters were not available prior to the 1994 - 1995 season.

Data Sources:

Hunt, K. M. 2012. Trends in Resident and Non-resident Hunter Effort and Harvest for Rabbit in Mississippi: 1980-81 to 2010-11 Seasons. Human Dimensions and Conservation Law Enforcement Laboratory Technical Document # 133, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS.

Responsive Management. 2012-2021. Mississippi Resident and Nonresident Hunter Harvest Survey, Harrisonburg, VA. 

Squirrel Management Resources

The links below provide information about practices or programs that may be used to enhance squirrel and other wildlife habitat. Technical guidance from wildlife biologists is also available to provide advice on managing land for squirrel habitat. The MDWFP does not have a program to restock squirrels. Select the publication title to view material. Some of the links provided may direct you to web pages outside of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks website.

Mississippi Squirrel Species: A brief overview of squirrel species found in Mississippi.

Ecology and Management of Squirrels in Mississippi: A guide to squirrel ecology and management, including descriptions of life history, habitat requirements, habitat management practices, and harvest management. Published by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Building Homes for Squirrels: A guide to building artificial den structures for squirrels. Published by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Forestry/Wildlife: Myths and Misconceptions: A summary of common misconceptions about forest management as it relates to wildlife habitat management. Published by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Prescribed Burning in Southern Pine Forests: Fire Ecology, Techniques, and Uses for Wildlife Management: A guide to using prescribed fire for wildlife habitat management. Prescribed burning can be a beneficial practice to enhance upland fox squirrel habitat. Published by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Legal Environment for Forestry Prescribed Burning in Mississippi: A guide to laws and legal considerations pertaining to prescribed burning in Mississippi. Published by the Mississippi State University Forest and Wildlife Research Center.

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Contact Information

Small Game Biologist

Rick Hamrick

Email: rick.hamrick@wfp.ms.gov

Wildlife Bureau

Phone: +1 601-432-2199