Skip to Content

Why Are Chipmunks Protected in Some States?

Why Are Chipmunks Protected in Some States?

Share this post:

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Chipmunks are pesky little creatures that love burrowing in residential areas. Most of the time, they hover around gardens or areas where trees and nuts scatter.

People most often get rid of them by poisoning them and sometimes straight up killing them.

However, this can spell trouble since it’s inhumane. Some cases even have them protected, but why are chipmunks protected in some states?

Since chipmunks aren’t game animals or furbearers, killing them is illegal in states like Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, other states like Georgia allow the killing of chipmunks, given that there’s an issuance of a permit.

In this guide, we’re going to uncover the reasons why there are states that protect chipmunks. Are they endangered? If so, how should infestations be prevented? Keep scrolling to find out.

Are Chipmunks Protected Species?

Despite their adorable and cuddly faces, chipmunks are menacing mammals that can potentially damage your properties.

Even worse, chipmunk populations may start getting out of hand. As a result, you get unsettling holes around your lot or damage in your flower beds.

Worse of all, these critters may even start to invade your home.

Despite their destructive nature, chipmunks are protected species in some states. For that reason, killing them is discouraged and can be punishable.

So, to get rid of chipmunks, the government advises safe and humane methods that won’t endanger these tiny creatures.

Are Chipmunks Endangered?

There are around 25 species of chipmunks; more than 20 of them are found in the United States. The most common species is the Eastern chipmunk, which is most prevalent in North America.

IUCN, or the International Union for Conservation of Nature, states that Eastern chipmunks are classified as abundant, and their conservation status is of the least concern.

This statement means that the chipmunk population isn’t declining anytime soon. In fact, IUCN estimates that there are one to 15 chipmunks per acre of land.

However, one species is considered endangered; hence, it’s protected by law. Palmer’s chipmunk, known scientifically as Tamias Palmeri, is considered endangered by the IUCN. This species is found in Southwestern Nevada.

Palmer’s chipmunks are endemic only in Nevada and known to dwell in temperate forests. Their species’ decline is due to human activities and the threat of predators.

States That Protect Chipmunks

Chipmunks aren’t protected by federal law; that’s why some states allow the killing of rodents like squirrels and chipmunks.

However, the killing of chipmunks is illegal in some states like Nevada, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.

In Pennsylvania, the protection of chipmunks is under the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Since chipmunks aren’t classified as game animals or furbearers, these tiny creatures are considered protected mammals.

So instead of killing or euthanizing chipmunks, humane practices like trapping or relocating should be observed.

Meanwhile, some states permit the killing and euthanasia of rodents.

States That Allow Killing of Chipmunks

In some states, the killing of chipmunks is legal, especially when their population is causing significant damage or injuries.

Eastern chipmunks are classified as unprotected wildlife in states like New York, Maine, and Missouri. Therefore, killing them is allowed, given that a person possesses a hunting license.

The same policy applies in Indiana and Arkansas. Killing is only legal upon issuance of a permit or trapping license. Ohio allows the euthanasia of chipmunks and other rodents as well.

Can You Shoot Chipmunks?

Chipmunks are alert and fast-moving targets, so shooting them can be challenging. Interestingly, killing chipmunks through shooting or trapping is allowed in states like Maine and Missouri.

In Maine, shooting chipmunks is advisable only with small-gauge shotguns or a .22 caliber rifle.

Before anything else, remember only to shoot chipmunks if it’s considered legal in your area.

Irresponsible use of firearms can cause property damage, not to mention that it can be life-threatening.

With that, we discourage using firearms to shoot chipmunks in crowded spaces or residential areas.

How to Get Rid of Chipmunks Without Harming Them

One of the best ways to control chipmunk populations in your area is by hiring pest control specialists to capture and relocate them.

Meanwhile, if you want to skip paying for exterminating services, you may use preventive measures such as keeping your yard clean from nuts or fruits that attract chipmunks.

To add, use wire mesh to protect your gardens or fill chipmunk holes with sand or gravel to prevent them from making more holes and burrowing in your property.

Final Thoughts

Chipmunks are protected in some states since they are considered non-game and non-fur-bearing animals. States like Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada prohibit the killing of chipmunks.

However, chipmunks aren’t endangered except for one—Palmer’s chipmunk, which is endemic in Nevada.


If you want more backyard tips including recipes, how-tos and more, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel

Share this post: