How to Catch a Ground Squirrel

Catching a ground squirrel is a labor and time intensive process, requiring patience and good traps.

What You Will Need to Live Trap a Squirrel

  • No-kill squirrel traps, available at sporting goods, outdoor and hardware stores
  • Bait of your choice. Things like apples, sunflower seeds, peanuts, cereal, grains, peanut butter and jelly, and dog food work well
  • Permit or license to trap or capture squirrels if required in your area

Step 1: Determine Where Your Squirrels Live

Unlike their tree dwelling cousins, ground squirrels live in burrows in the ground, among rocks or in brush. Look for burrows, holes around foundations in concrete slabs, and around rocks.

Step 2: Bait Your Traps

Use a small dish or plate to bait your trap. Set your bait on the plate and place it at the end of the trap where the animal will have to cross the trip plate to get to the food. Set the trap spring (as detailed in the trap's instructions).

Step 3: Set Your Trap Out

Set the trap near any burrows, holes or apparent tunnels squirrels are using. Check it at least once every 24 hours. When the squirrel crosses the trip plate to get to the food it will release the trap's door, which will slam shut, trapping the animal inside. You may hear a yowling, chattering or noise as the animals tries to escape. They are not harmed, just angry.

Step 4: Release Your Animal

Once live trapped, your animal will need to be transported at least 5 miles away if you don't want them returning. It is illegal in some states to release ground squirrels on someone else's property. Where it is legal, transport and rlease your squirrel.

What You Will Need to Kill Squirrels

  • Gas stick, electrocution pad, poison or other kill option if you chose to destroy rather than capture the squirrels
  • Anti-coagulant bait (chlorophacinone or diphacinone)
  • Permit or license to trap or kill squirrels if required in your area

Step 1: Determine What Method to Use

There are several methods you can use to kill your squirrels. The most popular and effective kill methods are poisons, particularly anti-coagulant baits (chlorophacinone or diphacinone). Other methods, such as gas sticks, electrocution pads and kill traps are also options. Check with your local hardware store for particulars on each method. You can also purchase traps which kill the squirrel on contact.

Step 2: Set Out Your Bait Station

Grain baits can't be broadcast or spread out on fields. You must use bait stations. Place your bait in the station and set out the stations around your yard or field, using a spacing of no more than 100 feet between stations. Squirrels hibernate and will not feed early in the season. Don't set out your bait until after the month of May. Baits must remain out at least 5 to 8 days, since squirrels must feed on the grain for at least 5 days for the bait to be effective. Squirrels will return to their burrows and eventually die.