Trapping Regulations and Information
Bag Limits and Check-In
- River Otters Exception: There are no bag limits for trapping, except for river otters which are regulated.
- Daily Check Required: Trappers must inspect and clear all traps and snares once every calendar day.
Specifics on Traps
- Foothold Trap Structure: Foothold or foot-encapsulating traps set on land must have a minimum of two swiveling points.
- Land Trap Covering: All foothold traps set on land should be covered.
- Submerged Foothold Trap Size: If foothold traps are underwater, they shouldn't have an inside jaw spread larger than 8-1/4 inches.
- Land Foothold Trap Size Limit: On land, foothold traps cannot have an inside jaw spread greater than 5-3/8 inches. Exceptions are allowed for traps between 5-3/8 inches and 6 inches if they have at least three swiveling points and a gripping surface of 5/16 inch or more.
- Deadfall Prohibition: Deadfalls are completely illegal.
- Residential Proximity Restriction: Setting traps or snares within 150 feet of an occupied residence is forbidden without the resident's consent.
- Body-Gripping Trap Regulations: Such traps set on land or in dens can't exceed 5 inches in diameter. If they are between 5 inches and 7 inches, they must be in natural water bodies. Those over 7 inches must be completely submerged and are only allowed during beaver or river otter seasons.
- Furbearer Handling: All trapped animals must be either killed immediately and taken into possession or released at the site of capture.
- Interference and Theft: It's illegal to disturb or steal from another person's trap or snare without explicit permission.
- Baiting Rules: All flesh baits used must be entirely covered.
- Teeth Restrictions: Traps with teeth on the gripping surface are not allowed under any circumstances.
First-Time Trapper Requirements
- Education Mandatory: Before purchasing a hunting license and fur taker permit, all first-time trappers (excluding apprentice license buyers) must complete both a hunter and a trapper education course through the Division of Wildlife.
River Otter Bag Limits
- Zone Specific Limits: In Zone B, a trapper can take only one river otter, while in Zone C, up to three are allowed. The total season bag limit across all zones is three.
Otter Trapping and Checking
- Tagging Deadlines: Each harvested river otter's pelt must be checked and tagged within five business days of capture. This can be done with a wildlife officer, at a designated check station, or at a district office.
- Presentation and Documentation: Trappers must personally present their catch and provide a copy of their fur taker permit along with details about the date and location of the trapping.
Avoidance and Trapping Regulations
- Avoidance Techniques: Upon reaching the bag limit for river otters, trappers are advised to use avoidance techniques while trapping other species like beavers.
- Exceeding Bag Limit: If an extra otter is accidentally caught, it should be carefully released if alive. If deceased, trappers should leave it in the trap and immediately contact a wildlife officer.
- Public Area Restrictions: Trapping beavers and river otters on state-managed lands (like wildlife areas, state parks, and forests) is forbidden without a special permit.
River Otter and Gray Fox Research
- Carcass Collection: In collaboration with The Ohio State University, the Division of Wildlife collects carcasses of harvested or road-killed river otters and gray foxes to research population trends and gather data on health and ecology. Trappers and the public are encouraged to contribute to this effort by turning in carcasses.
Permitted Trapping Practices
Purpose and Setup: Trappers are permitted to set, use, and maintain snares for capturing furbearing animals. However, specific regulations must be followed:
- All snares must be equipped with a relaxing lock.
- A stop must be included to prevent the snare from closing to less than 2.5 inches in diameter.
- Alternatively, a relaxing lock system with a breaking point not exceeding 350 pounds can be used.
Foothold Trap Modifications
- Attachment of Drags: Trappers may attach drags to foothold traps. This allows the trapped animal to move a limited distance, reducing harm and making the trap less visible to avoid theft or tampering.
- Regulations Specific to Coyotes: While a fur taker permit is not required for trapping coyotes, anyone engaging in hunting, trapping, or snaring these animals must possess a valid hunting license. This ensures that even for species with fewer restrictions like coyotes, regulation and animal welfare standards are maintained.
Prohibited Practices for Trappers
Night Hunting and Lighting Restrictions
General Lighting Rule: It's prohibited to hunt, trap, or snare furbearing animals between sunset and sunrise without a continuous white light visible for at least 1/4-mile.
- Exception for Certain Animals: When hunting fox, coyote, or raccoon with a call from a stationary position, a continuous single beam of light of any color is allowed. Only one light is needed per party, and any member can carry it.
Equipment and Setting Restrictions
- Climbing Devices: The use or possession of climbers or any devices other than climbing tree stands for ascending trees is forbidden while hunting or trapping.
- Markers in Public Areas: Erecting markers like stakes or flagging for identifying trap set locations in public hunting areas is prohibited unless authorized by the chief of the Division of Wildlife.
- Path and Road Safety: Traps or snares should not be set on paths or roads commonly used by domestic animals or people.
- Identification on Traps: All traps and snares must have a durable, waterproof tag with the user's name and address or Division of Wildlife Customer ID in English, or the same information stamped directly onto the trap.
Specific Snare and Trap Regulations
- Snare Attachments: Snares must not be attached to a drag but instead to an immovable object.
- Permit Requirement for Public Areas: Setting traps for beaver or river otter in public hunting areas requires a special permit.
- Restrictions on Public Land Snares: Snares on public hunting areas are restricted, except for beaver and river otter, as noted above.
- Material of Snares: Snares must be made of multi-strand steel cable only.
- Snare Loop Size: The diameter of snare loops must not exceed 15 inches.
- No Mechanical Devices: Snares must not have any spring-loaded or mechanical device aiding in closing.
- Compliance with Snare Specifications: All snares must meet the aforementioned requirements.
- Foot-Encapsulating Trap Size: Such traps should not have an opening larger than 2 inches in diameter or along any one side.
Hunting Specific Animals
- Trapping Game Birds and Quadrupeds: It's not permissible to trap game birds and game quadrupeds, except feral swine, as they are protected from this practice.