Some Mississippians will have a chance to put fresh squirrel on their menus this month — there just has to be a youth involved in putting the animals on the ground.
The youth season is open Sept. 24-30. Only hunters under the age of 16 can legally shoot squirrels, although adults can participate in all other phases of the hunting experience. In some instances, they are required to hunt. The rules are different for youths under 12 and between the ages of 12 to 15.
Youth hunt rules
• A child at least 12 years of age and under 16 years of age must have a certificate of satisfactory completion of a hunter education course approved by the department before hunting alone in the state. Otherwise, they must be in the presence and under the direct supervision of a licensed or exempt hunter at least 21 years of age when hunting.
• A child under the age of 12 must be in the presence and under the direct supervision of a licensed or exempt hunter at least 21 years of age when the child is hunting. A licensed hunter supervising a child as provided in this section must hold a valid Mississippi license for the species being hunted.
“A lot of parents might use the youth season as a chance to scout for squirrels for when the regular season opens Oct. 1, but that’s not how it ought to be,” said Eric Thames of Starkville. “At our hunting club, the emphasis, regardless of season, is on kids. We put as much into the youth hunt as we do regular hunts.
“And, something else we don’t do is close areas of the camp to youth squirrel hunt just because archery season (deer) opens Oct. 1. The best squirrel areas are also the best archery areas, but that’s is a moot point. We made a conscious decision years ago that whenever a youth season is open, whether its deer or squirrel or whatever, we’d put the emphasis on that opportunity.”
2019-20 Squirrel Seasons
- Youth season: Sept. 24-30.
- Regular season: Oct. 1-Feb. 28.
- Limit: 8 daily.
- Spring season: May 15-June 1.
- Limit: 4 daily.