In the previous post, we hope we got you excited about hunting! It’s still possible to get out there and hunt before small game season is over. In this post, we will talk you through what you will need for hunting squirrel.

License Requirements and Hunter Education

In order to hunt squirrel, you will need a basic Hunting License.

To get up and running before the end of small game season, we recommend that you purchase a three-day Apprentice License and be accompanied by an experienced and/or knowledgeable licensed hunter.

When purchasing a hunting license online, you can pick the date you want the license to become effective, making it possible to purchase a three-day apprentice license in advance of when you intend to hunt.

If you are going to hunt on a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) or practice at one of WRD’s shooting ranges, you will need a Wildlife Management Area license in addition to your hunting license. This WMA license is also sometimes referred to as a “WMA stamp.”

You can purchase licenses online by going to

Other options for purchasing a license, and more information on our licenses, can be found at

If you choose to go the full route and get a basic Hunting License, you will need to complete Hunter Education prior to getting your license if you are over the age of sixteen. Taking Hunter Education will make you eligible for a three-month range pass to any of the Department of Natural Resources’ shooting ranges, without needing a WMA license. (You will still need a WMA license to hunt on a WMA.)

Hunter Education can be completed either online or in a physical classroom. For online options, follow this link:

For physical classroom classes, go to and click “Locate and Register for Events or Classes.” The event type will be “Hunter Safety Certification.”

For those who appreciate hands-on learning, you can supplement Hunter Education with one of our Hunter Education Field Days. For more information, see

More information on Hunter Education options can be found at this link:


When choosing a firearm with which to take squirrel, there are two options you’ll hear about the most.

Shotgun – The advantage of a shotgun is that you don’t have to be as precise with your shot as you do with a rifle. This helps when the animal is moving. The smaller the # of shot, the larger the shot, so #2 shot is larger than #4 shot, for example. You’d use #6 or #7.5 shot for squirrel. The gauge of a shotgun refers to the diameter of the barrel, and will affect the size of the shell and the number of pellets/shot the shell will hold. Many hunters have started with a .410 long-arm shotgun.

Rifle – A “twenty-two,” as people often call it. A “twenty-two” rifle uses .22 long rifle (.22 LR) caliber ammunition. It requires more precision than a shotgun to use. Using a scope with a rifle is helpful.

Both of these firearms are versatile and would serve you well if you decided to hunt other game.

Firearm Practice

WRD maintains many firearm ranges across the state. As mentioned earlier, anyone 16 years old and older will need a WMA License to access them.

Completing Hunter Education makes you eligible for a three-month range pass to any of the Department of Natural Resources’ shooting ranges, effective starting on the date on the back of the Hunter Education certification card you receive upon completion.

See for a list of Firearm Ranges and for more information about our ranges.

You can also practice with local gun clubs and at private ranges, and gun shops can recommend places in your area.


Camouflage is recommended, especially if you will be still-hunting (sitting in one spot and waiting) or stalk hunting.

Look for hunting clothes that include a blood-proof game pouch to store your field-dressed squirrels. Wrapping the squirrel in a plastic grocery bag and putting it in a large pocket will work as well.

Other Equipment

You will need a hunting knife to field-dress your squirrel. You’ll also find it useful for a number of things when you’re in the field. It doesn’t need to be fancy; it just needs to be sharp.

For cleaning the meat you might use a pair of game shears and a type of pliers known as “catfish skinners.” In a later post we will include a video illustrating how to do this using these tools.

A squirrel call can get squirrels up and moving.

Binoculars come in handy, especially since squirrels rely on their camouflage for protection.

A cooler full of ice is useful for storing harvested game when you get back to your vehicle.


Fully outfitted, you will have your hunting license, a WMA license if you need it, a firearm, practice on a range to hone your skills, camouflage with a way to store your game, a hunting knife, tools to clean your squirrel for meat, a way to keep your game fresh for transportation, and optionally a squirrel call and binoculars. Tomorrow we will go over where you can hunt.

Other Posts in the Series

Post 1 — Introduction
Post 3 — Considering Land