Public-land squirrels abound

North Carolina is home to four varieties of squirrels — gray, fox, red/Appalachian and flying — hunters target all of them except fliers. Gray squirrels are ubiquitous at all forests that have a substantial number of hardwood mast trees.

Roanoke Rapids

“(Gray) squirrels are always plentiful at the Roanoke River Game lands,” said biologist David Turner. “The Upper Roanoke (Game Lands) probably are the better-looking squirrel woods.” Hunting at Upper and Lower Roanoke Game Lands requires a special-use permit in addition to a hunting license.

Falls, Jordan, Bailey-Caswell

Squirrel hunting is severely underutilized at Butner-Falls of Neuse and Jordan Game Lands in the RDU area, according to biologist Chris Baranski, who said Bailey-Caswell Game Lands in Caswell County “is great” because of stands of oaks and hickory trees, “but squirrel hunters are scarce.”

National forests

Gray and red squirrels live in the 1.1 million acres of the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests. “It’s hard to beat Pisgah,” said biologist Paul Thompson.

“Uwharrie (National Forest) has top squirrel habitat,” said conservation technician Greg Queen. “The Sandhills Game Land (has more fox squirrels than any game land.”

Suggs mill pond

Suggs Mill Pond Game Land also has fox squirrels. “We absolutely do have fox squirrels at our (longleaf) pine stands,”  biologist Chesley Ward said.

About Craig Holt 1382 Articles
Craig Holt of Snow Camp has been an outdoor writer for almost 40 years, working for several newspapers, then serving as managing editor for North Carolina Sportsman and South Carolina Sportsman before becoming a full-time free-lancer in 2009.