As their name implies, gray squirrels are silverish-gray, with white underparts and edges of their tails. Fox squirrels are predominately brownish-red.
Fox squirrels thrive border to border in Kansas, needing only the few trees of a shelterbelt, hedgerow or thin creek bottom. Gray squirrels require larger tracts of mature forests, especially those with heavy concentrations of oak and hickory trees. Their range in Kansas is primarily limited to the eastern one-fourth of the state. River and creek bottom populations in Elk and Chautauqua counties are about as far west as their populations go. That may change as forests mature across the state, and gray squirrels expand into new habitats.
Gray squirrels are slightly smaller than fox squirrels, and generally average about 18 inches and weigh around 1 ½ pounds. Incredibly common in the virgin hardwood forests of the eastern U.S., early settlers and explorers probably ate more gray squirrels than venison or wild turkey.
Being able to hit such small targets high in the tops of trees, lead to major advancements in muzzleloader accuracy and helped develop shooting skills that served American soldiers well from Revolutionary War through World War II.