Godwin, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and
Black or melanistic squirrels are of
particular interest to some Mississippi small game hunters. Both
species of tree squirrels which occur within Mississippi, the
eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) and the fox
squirrel (S. niger), can exhibit the black color phase.
However, most black squirrels in Mississippi are fox squirrels,
particularly those found in the Delta.
Two distinct subspecies of fox
squirrels are commonly found in Mississippi. The "hill country fox
squirrel" (S. n. bachmani) is common to upland areas
across much of Mississippi and is generally characterized by
reddish pelage with a black mask and white nose, ears and paws. The
"Delta fox squirrel" (S. n. subauratus) is found in the
western portion of the state, primarily within the Mississippi
Alluvial Valley. The Delta fox squirrel has 2 common color phases:
one is a glossy black phase and the other is a reddish phase
generally lacking the white appendage coloration found on the hill
country fox squirrel.
While black phase gray squirrels and
hill country fox squirrels are occasionally reported throughout
Mississippi, hunters interested in bagging a black squirrel should
focus their efforts on the Delta. The good news is that this region
of the Magnolia State offers a vast array of public hunting
opportunity! The U.S. Forest Service, MDWFP, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers all own land in the
region that is open to public hunting! As always, be sure to become
familiar with area-specific regulations before hunting on these or
other public lands. Hunters should concentrate on hardwood areas
that provide hard mast which is an important food source during the
fall and winter months.