Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

June 14, 2012

It’s a squirrel’s world this time of year

TAHLEQUAH — Recent encounters at parks and in the backyard are prompting many area residents to suggest the squirrel population has increased in Cherokee County. But they might want to check nature’s calendar before deciding the two-legged species is becoming a minority.

In fact, frequent sightings of squirrels scampering about to gather food are due to the sequential responsibilities set by Mother Nature.

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Game Warden Brady May said most small game populations are currently experiencing an increase due to the annual birthing process that begins in early spring and runs through the middle of summer. The eastern gray and fox squirrels found in the area are no exception.

“They’re pretty active in feeding and taking care of their young right now,” said May. “So that’s probably why people are seeing more of them.”

Despite a widespread suspicion that the squirrel population is exploding this year, May said the numbers in Cherokee County have always been stable.

“I can’t think of any particular year when it’s been bigger than others,” he said. “I’ve always heard the old-timers say that a squirrel can be born in any month that has an R in it.”

According to The Squirrel Place website, the tree-dwelling rodents are most active in the late winter months when the mating season begins. The gestation period can last up to 60 days for the larger species like the common gray and fox squirrels, which produce an average litter of four that will vary with climate and location.

If an adequate food supply is available, a second litter can be born in mid-summer, the Minnesota-based website reports.

“Typically in heavily wooded areas, you’ll find the gray squirrels,” May said. “In Tahlequah, the town is a wooded area, and primarily you should see the gray squirrel. On the outer fringes of town, you can see the bigger fox squirrels.”

Fox squirrels are more likely to be found on the edges of farmland, he said.

“The grays, by far, out number the fox squirrels in Cherokee County,” May said.

The eastern gray squirrel, described as a prolific and adaptable species, is a scatter-hoarder, storing food in several small caches for later recovery.  Its diet consists of nuts, seeds and fruit, but it will eat bird eggs, bugs, and if no other food sources are available, even animal carcasses, according to The Squirrel Place website.

“Squirrel season opens May 15 every year. Most seasons are closed during the summer, and here it is the middle of summer, and we’re in squirrel season because they’re plenty in number,” said May.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation website lists squirrel season as May 15 through Jan. 31. The season bag limit is 10 per licensed or exempt hunter.

“It’s an aggregate number and not 10 of each, but 10 altogether,” May explained. “You need a hunting license or proof of exemption if you’re hunting on your own land. If you’ve got what you believe to be too many of them coming in to the yard – because they can chew things and dig and present a problem – the best way to get them is with bird seed.”

May said his 70-year-old mother has been dealing an abundance of squirrels near her home in the Oakwood Addition. She used bird seed and a live cage-trap to humanely thin the numbers.

“She’s trapped five in the last week,” he said. “She takes them out into the country to relocate them. It is against the law to keep a live squirrel as a pet. If my 70-year-old mother can do it without calling me for help, it’s something that anybody can do.”

May said people with pets shouldn’t be concerned with squirrels bringing ticks and fleas to their yards, and stressed that you should never disturb what may appear to be abandoned nest.

“Ticks and fleas on squirrels is not a major contributing factor to anyone’s pet population,” he said.

“That’s just not a common factor. I wouldn’t think that would be a concern for anyone. And if people find a nest, please leave them alone. The mother knows where they are. Don’t assume they’re abandoned. Leave young wildlife alone.”

Text Only
Features
  • rf-Faith-7-29.jpg New opportunity opens door for local pastor

    A unique opportunity for ministry training will begin next year in Tahlequah.
    The River Ministries will be launching The River Training Center, a complete ministry school. The training center will also perform community outreach and sponsor mission trips, all beginning in January 2015.
    The founder of the school, Pastor Brandon Stratton, was raised in Tahlequah and previously pastored Calvary Assembly of God Church.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 22ndAmendment.jpg Presidential terms limited by 22nd Amendment

    The past 30 years have been marked by occasional grumbling from one American political party, and celebration from the other - depending on who occupies the White House - about the disqualification of a president after eight years of service.
    For much of the nation’s history, a presidency could last indefinitely.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • sg-Paperbacks.jpg Paperbacks still survive in the digital age

    In an era when mobile technology is always at hand, most people can access an electronic book at any time. Such literary luxuries weren’t widely available to previous generations until the dawn of the paperback book.
    Wednesday, July 30, is set as a day to celebrate the low-cost, portable book during National Paperback Book Day.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-skydiver-tomahawk.jpg Former resident tapped for national skydiving award

    A man known locally for putting Tahlequah on the international map by bringing world-class skydiving events to town is being inducted in the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame in October.
    Norman Heaton said he’s very honored to be selected for the prestigious award given to people who have made significant contributions to the sport of skydiving.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20th-Amendment.jpg Inauguration day changed by 20th Amendment

    Sometimes an amendment is added to the U.S. Constitution that is uncontroversial and virtually unlitigated.
    Such is the 20th Amendment, which moved the seating of the new Congress and the presidential inauguration day to January, and enumerates procedure if a president-elect dies or cannot take office.
    Because the “Lame-Duck Amendment” addresses procedure, it is long.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-School-Fashion.jpg Fashion show to feature local teachers

    A fun fashion event that will provide funds for one lucky area school is coming up next weekend.
    Local teachers and students have until Tuesday, July 22, to sign up for the Teacher and Student Back 2 School Fashion Show at Arrowhead Mall in Muskogee.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-actress.jpg TV’s ‘Mistresses’ has second local tie

    Tahlequah has at least two ties to the TV drama “Mistresses.”
    Local florist Josh Cottrell-Mannon designed the flower arrangements for the show’s season finale, and Arriane Alexander, daughter of local resident Sharilyn Young, is portraying a television news reporter.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Stark-Sequoyah.jpg Stark enjoys making a difference

    Kristin Stark, Sequoyah Elementary Teacher of Year, loves teaching, and has a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of children.
    “I love making a difference in the lives of children; it is a wonderful feeling to make a positive impact on a child,” said Stark.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • sr-19thAmendment.jpg Women got the vote with 19th Amendment

    During its first 140 years, the United States Constitution underwent a series of changes intended to extend voting rights to those who were not white or didn’t own property - but as the American experiment entered the 20th Century, half the adult population still had no protection to vote.
    Though they certainly had political opinions, women could not cast a ballot in most states. That changed with passage of the 19th Amendment.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • renee-storyteller.jpg Cherokee, Tlingit storytellers to share their craft during special NSU event

    Two Native American cultures will be represented during a storytelling workshop featuring Cherokee Gayle Ross and Tlingit and Cherokee dancer and storyteller Gene Tagaban, of Seattle.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Stocks