Protection of Furbearer Homes: It is prohibited to disturb or destroy the homes, nests, or dens of furbearing animals.
Prohibition on Payment for Furbearers: Individuals are not allowed to receive payment for furbearers captured by others.
Wildlife in Traps: Only the person who set a trap, snare, or cable restraint device is permitted to kill or remove wildlife caught in such devices.
Bobcat and Otter Registration: Bobcats and otters, along with their pelts, must be presented to a Conservation Department agent for registration or tagging prior to selling, transferring, tanning, or mounting by April 10. Only tagged bobcats, otters, or their pelts can be legally possessed by the capturer all year round and are eligible for sale exclusively to licensed taxidermists, tanners, or fur dealers. The sale or purchase of untagged bobcats, otters, or their pelts is unlawful.
- Tagging Tip: For easier tagging of a pelt without causing damage, insert a pencil or stick through the upper lip and eye socket before freezing the skin. This allows the tag to be easily inserted into these openings upon pelt registration.
Possession Restrictions: Restrictions on possession do not apply to pelts that have been tanned, specimens that have been mounted, or products that have been manufactured from these furbearers.
Sale of Skinned Carcasses: The skinned carcasses of legally harvested furbearers can be sold at any time throughout the year.
Special-Use Permit Required to Trap on Conservation Areas
Trapping on many conservation areas is permissible using dog-proof style traps among others. To engage in trapping activities, individuals must obtain a Special Use Permit. Applications for such permits should be submitted at least 30 days prior to the planned start of trapping. Interested trappers are advised to reach out to the area manager through the regional office to explore available trapping opportunities within their region.
Traps for furbearers are permissible for setting at 12:01 a.m. on November 15th and must be dismantled by midnight on the final day of the trapping season. Regulations specify that traps must either have smooth or rubber jaws. Permitted trap types include foot-hold, Conibear (body-gripping), foot-enclosing-type, cage-type, colony traps with dimensions not exceeding 6 inches in height and width, snares (only when set underwater), and cable restraint devices.
Each trap must be clearly marked with the trapper’s full name and address or their Conservation Number on a durable material. It's mandated that wildlife be either removed or released from traps on a daily basis. The only exceptions are colony and killing-type traps, which require inspection every 48 hours.
Traps are prohibited from being placed in pathways utilized by people or domestic animals. Killing-type traps are specifically banned from being set along public roadways, except when positioned underwater in permanent bodies of water. In urban areas with populations exceeding 10,000, only cage-type or foot-enclosing-type traps are permitted within 150 feet of any residence or occupied building.
Furthermore, traps may be utilized in combination with electronic calling devices, broadening the techniques available to trappers for attracting furbearers.
Conibear or Killing-type Traps
Conibear or killing-type traps, which are used in trapping for their efficiency in quickly euthanizing captured animals, must adhere to strict regulations to ensure ethical trapping practices:
- Jaw Spread Over 5 Inches: Traps with a jaw spread exceeding 5 inches are permitted exclusively for underwater sets. This stipulation is in place to prevent the capture of non-target species and to minimize suffering, ensuring that only aquatic furbearers are targeted.
- Jaw Spread Up to 8 Inches: For traps with a jaw spread not exceeding 8 inches, there is an allowance for them to be placed 6 feet or higher above the ground within structures. This regulation is designed to target specific species like raccoons in barns or attics, reducing the risk to pets and non-target wildlife.
Snares, another method utilized by trappers, must also follow detailed guidelines to ensure humane and selective capture:
- Underwater Setting: All snares must be set underwater, a rule that aims to target aquatic or semi-aquatic species and reduce the accidental capture of terrestrial animals.
- Loop Size: The diameter of the snare loop when set must not exceed 15 inches. This limitation helps ensure that the snare targets specific sizes of animals, aiding in the prevention of catching non-target species.
- Stop Device: Snares are required to have a stop device that prevents the loop from closing to a diameter of less than 2 1/2 inches. This feature ensures that smaller, non-target animals can escape and prevents the loop from closing too tightly on captured animals.
- Cable Diameter: The cable used in snares must have a diameter ranging between 5/64 inch and 1/8 inch. This range balances the need for durability and strength to hold captured animals while minimizing harm.
- Mechanical Lock and Anchor Swivel: Every snare must be equipped with a mechanical lock and an anchor swivel. The mechanical lock ensures the snare closes securely, while the anchor swivel allows the captured animal to move without twisting the cable, reducing injury.