The 2022-2023 California General Tree Squirrel Season will be open from Saturday, September 10 through Sunday, January 29, 2023.
Tree squirrels can only be taken in open areas during the open season and within the shooting hours for resident small game, which is one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
A map of the state’s tree squirrel hunting areas (PDF) can be found on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website, along with the complete regulations for tree squirrels.
Four types of tree squirrels are game species in California. The western gray squirrel and Douglas squirrel are native to California, while the eastern fox squirrel and eastern gray squirrel have been introduced and are not native to the state.
These tree squirrels may be hunted under the authority of a California hunting license and no other validation is required. To learn more about hunting these squirrels and their distribution, habitat, and patterns, watch the recorded webinar “Hunting California Tree Squirrels” on CDFW’s YouTube channel.
A fifth species of tree squirrel, the northern flying squirrel, is not a game species and cannot be taken. Northern flying squirrels are small tree squirrels that are native to the boreal forests of North America and can be found as far south as the Sierra Nevada. They are rarely found due to their nocturnal nature and preference for mature forest habitats with complex canopy structure.
Tree squirrel population levels fluctuate from year to year depending on prevailing weather conditions and annual production of nuts, acorns, and seeds for fodder.
National forests provide some of the best tree squirrel hunting opportunities in California.
Bureau of Land Management lands and CDFW wildlife areas may also provide opportunities for squirrel hunting. As a friendly reminder, non-lead shot is required when taking wild animals with a firearm anywhere in California. Please plan accordingly. For more information, see CDFW’s Lead-Free Ammunition webpage.