Overview: Fur-bearing Animal Regulations

Fur-bearing animals, also known as furbearers, are a specific group of wildlife that are regulated due to their valuable pelts. Here's an overview of the regulations governing the hunting and trapping of these animals:

Hunting and Possession:

  1. License Requirements:

    • A standard hunting license allows for the taking of furbearers, provided they are not sold or exchanged for value. If intending to sell pelts or carcasses, a trapper's license is required.
  2. Fur-bearing Species:

    • The list includes Badger, Beaver, Fox, Mink, Muskrat, Nutria, Opossum, Raccoon, Otter, Skunk, and Ring-tailed cat.
  3. Hunter Education:

    • Hunter education requirements apply to those hunting furbearers, ensuring ethical and informed hunting practices.

Regulations on Take, Possession, and Sale:

  1. CITES Tag for Otters:

    • A department-issued Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) tag is required for all otters taken and possessed. Otters must not be taken from public roadways.
  2. Night Hunting:

    • Furbearers may be hunted at night on private property with the aid of artificial light, providing more opportunities for hunters.
  3. Nuisance Furbearers:

    • No license is required to take nuisance furbearers causing damage to property or agriculture, but these animals or their pelts may not be possessed or sold.
  4. Recreational Harvest:

    • There is no closed season for recreational harvest of furbearers, offering year-round hunting opportunities.

Commercial Harvest and Additional Information:

  1. Otter Tagging:

    • Otters taken (except nuisance otters) must be tagged with a CITES tag within 90 days of capture. This applies to all otter pelts, even those imported into Texas, which must show evidence of lawful take or possession.
  2. Tagging Locations:

    • CITES tags can be obtained from various Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) offices, with addresses and phone numbers provided for each.
  3. Contact Information:

    • For further details or to report violations, TPWD provides toll-free numbers for general inquiries and reporting game and fish law violations.

Definitions: Fur-bearing Animals

Understanding the terminology used in the regulation of fur-bearing animals is crucial for legal and ethical hunting and trapping. Here are some key definitions:

Fur-bearing Animals:

  • Listed Species: Include Badger, Beaver, Fox, Mink, Muskrat, Nutria, Opossum, Otter, Raccoon, Ring-tailed Cat, Skunk, and Civet Cat (Spotted Skunk). Coyotes and Bobcats are not classified as fur-bearing animals but have specific tagging requirements and regulations.

Department:

  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD): The state agency responsible for the oversight and management of wildlife and natural resources in Texas.

Carcass:

  • Definition: The body of a dead fur-bearing animal, with or without the hide attached.

Commercial Harvest:

  • Definition: The take of a fur-bearing animal under a trapping license specifically for the sale of pelts and/or carcasses during designated seasons.

Depredation:

  • Definition: Loss of, or damage to, agricultural crops, livestock, poultry, wildlife, or personal property attributed to wildlife.

Finished Product:

  • Definition: The tanned pelt of a fur-bearing animal or any part thereof that has been treated to prevent decomposition and/or packaged for sale. A dried pelt is not considered a finished product.

Lawful Archery Equipment:

  • Includes: Longbow, recurve bow, and compound bow.

Nuisance Fur-bearing Animal:

  • Definition: A fur-bearing animal causing damage or posing a threat to human health or safety.

Trapper:

  • Definition: A person who takes a fur-bearing animal or the pelt of a fur-bearing animal.

Pelt:

  • Definition: The untanned, green, or dried hide or skin of a fur-bearing animal, whether or not attached to the carcass.

Recreational Harvest:

  • Definition: The take of a fur-bearing animal for purposes other than sale, including for personal use or sport.

Sale:

  • Definition: Includes barter and other transfers of ownership for consideration.

Take:

  • Definition: The act of snaring, trapping, shooting, killing, or capturing by any means and includes an attempt to take.

Place of Business:

  • Definition: A location where fur-bearing animals or their pelts are sold, received, transported, possessed, or purchased, including vehicles used by trappers, wholesale fur buyers, and fur-bearing animal propagators.

Means & Methods: Fur-bearing Animals

Understanding the lawful means and methods for taking fur-bearing animals is crucial for hunters and trappers to ensure ethical and legal practices. Here are the approved means and prohibited methods:

Legally Permitted Means:

  • Firearms: Various types of guns that meet state regulations.
  • Foothold Traps: Devices designed to catch an animal by the foot without causing death.
  • Body Grip, Live, or Box Traps: Traps that capture the animal alive or hold it by the body.
  • Dogs: Canines trained to aid in the hunting or retrieval of game.
  • Snares: Wire or cable loops designed to tighten around an animal.
  • Lawful Archery Equipment: Including longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows.
  • Electronic or Hand-held Calls: Devices or techniques used to mimic animal sounds and attract game.
  • Artificial Light: Used for spotting animals during night hunts on private property.
  • Falconry: The use of trained birds of prey in hunting.
  • Air Guns: Minimum size of .30 caliber.
  • Arrow Guns: Devices that launch arrows using compressed air or gas.

Prohibited Methods and Restrictions:

  • Boats on Public Waters: It's unlawful to shoot at, take, or attempt to take any fur-bearing animal from a boat on public waters in Texas.
  • Falconry Without Permit: Taking fur-bearing animals via falconry is illegal without a valid falconry permit issued by the department.
  • Trap Restrictions During Off-Season: Using foothold or body grip traps for fur-bearing animals is prohibited except during the season for commercial harvest.
  • Trap Proximity to Schools: It is illegal to set foothold or body grip traps within 400 yards of any school.
  • Prohibited Methods: Using smoke, explosives, or chemical irritants to harry or flush fur-bearing animals is unlawful.
  • Body Grip Trap Size and Setting: It's illegal to use body grip traps with a diagonal opening greater than 10 inches set on land or in water less than 6 inches deep.
  • Trap Checking Requirements: All traps (snare, foothold, body grip, live, or box) must be examined at least once every 36 hours, and any animals caught must be removed.

Seasons & Bag Limits: Fur-bearing Animals

Fur-bearing animals are regulated with specific seasons and bag limits to ensure sustainable populations and ethical hunting practices. Here are the details for recreational and commercial harvesting, propagators, and possession rules:

Recreational Harvest:

  • Season: September 1 - August 31.
  • Regulations: Fur-bearing animals taken as a result of recreational harvest may not be sold. There is no bag or possession limit for recreational hunters.

Commercial Harvest:

  • Nutria: September 1 - August 31.
  • Beaver: October 1 - May 31.
  • All Other Furbearers: November 1 - March 31.
  • Regulations: No bag or possession limit during these seasons. Commercial trappers must have the appropriate licenses and adhere to specific regulations.

Propagators:

  • Regulations: Possession of live fur-bearing animals is restricted to licensed fur-bearing animal propagators, persons authorized under the Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, or representatives of recognized organizations for approved instruction or demonstration purposes.
  • Facilities and Season: Fur-bearing animals may be taken alive only during the commercial harvest season and must be held in facilities that meet required specifications.
  • Information Leaflet: Additional details on propagator requirements are available in a separate leaflet from the Fur-bearing Animal Program.

Possession:

  • Recreational Hunters: No bag or possession limit for fur-bearing animals taken recreationally. However, they may not sell any part of the animal.
  • Licensed Trappers: May possess a pelt or carcass of a fur-bearing animal at any time.
  • Nutria Pelts: Can be possessed at any time without restrictions.
  • Finished Products: Pelts reduced to a finished product are not considered part of the possession limit.
  • Live Fur-Bearing Animals: May be taken and possessed for three days or less by representatives of recognized organizations for approved instruction or demonstration purposes, with prior written authorization from the department.
  • Taxidermists: May possess fur-bearing animals or pelts that were lawfully taken or possessed, provided they are labeled with a wildlife resource document.

License Requirements: Fur-Bearing Animals

Taking fur-bearing animals or their pelts in Texas is subject to specific license requirements to ensure legal and regulated hunting and trapping practices. Here are the key license requirements:

Hunting License:

  • Requirement: A hunting license is required to take fur-bearing animals or their pelts during the recreational season.
  • Exception: A person taking fur-bearers with a trapper's license is not required to possess a hunting license.
  • Available Licenses: You can explore the available hunting licenses to choose the one that suits your needs.

Trapper License:

  • Requirement: A trapper license is required to take fur-bearing animals or their pelts during the commercial harvest season for the purpose of sale. This license also allows a person to take fur-bearing animals.
  • Fees:
    • Resident: $19.00
    • Non-Resident: $315.00

Wholesale Fur Dealer License:

  • Requirement: Persons purchasing fur-bearing animals or pelts of fur-bearing animals from trappers, retail fur buyers, fur-bearing animal propagators, or another wholesale fur dealer must obtain a Wholesale Fur Dealer License.
  • Fees:
    • Resident: $189.00
    • Non-resident: $401.00

Fur-bearing Animal Propagation License:

  • Requirement: A Fur-bearing Animal Propagation License entitles a person to take or possess a living fur-bearing animal and hold it for the purpose of propagation or sale.
  • Facility Inspection: Facility inspection is required prior to initial licensing.
  • Price: $95.00

Personal Identification Requirements:

  • Requirement: Persons aged 17 years or older while hunting, fishing, or trapping must have on their person a driver's license or personal identification certificate.
  • Compliance: It's essential to carry the required personal identification when engaging in hunting, fishing, or trapping activities to ensure compliance with state regulations.

Sale or Purchase of Fur-bearing Animals or Pelts

The sale or purchase of fur-bearing animals and their pelts in Texas is subject to specific regulations to ensure legal and responsible transactions. Here are the key rules and guidelines:

Sellers:

  1. Who Can Sell:

    • Fur-bearing animals and their pelts can only be sold by:
      • Licensed trappers
      • Wholesale fur dealers
      • Fur-bearing animal propagators
  2. Types of Sales:

    • Trappers may sell non-living fur-bearing animals or their pelts taken during commercial harvest at any time during the year.
    • Live fur-bearing animals may only be sold by a licensed fur-bearing animal propagator, and such sales are limited to persons authorized by permit issued by the department or to another licensed fur-bearing animal propagator.
    • A person who sells fur-bearing animals prepared for immediate consumption may purchase the carcass of a fur-bearing animal only from a wholesale fur dealer.
    • Finished products made from fur-bearing animals may be sold by anyone.
  3. Season Restrictions:

    • Fur-bearing animals offered for sale may only be taken during the commercial season.

Buyers:

  1. Who Can Purchase:

    • Fur-bearing animals and their pelts may only be purchased for resale by wholesale fur dealers.
    • Consumers can purchase fur-bearing animals and their pelts for personal use (no resale).
  2. License Requirement:

    • No person may purchase, possess after purchase, or transport for commercial purposes a pelt or carcass taken in Texas unless the person has acquired and possesses a wholesale fur dealer's license.

Reporting Requirements:

  • Holders of wholesale fur dealer's licenses and licensed fur-bearing animal propagators must complete and file reports with the department as follows:
    • Wholesale fur dealers must file reports on or before May 31 of each year.
    • Licensed fur-bearing animal propagators must file reports by August 31 of each year.
    • Failure to meet these reporting requirements may prevent the renewal of the dealer or propagation license.

Bobcat Pelts Tagging:

  • Bobcat pelts taken in Texas, including tanned pelts, must be permanently tagged with a department-issued federal Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) tag valid for the year in which the bobcat was taken.
  • Legally taken pelts may be tagged at no cost by registered bobcat pelt dealers or at TPWD Law Enforcement offices.
  • Dealers must not possess untagged pelts and must not transfer tags to other dealers or use tags issued to another dealer.
  • Individuals transferring bobcat pelts out of Texas for non-commercial purposes may obtain a tag by presenting the pelt to any dealer or Department Law Enforcement Office and completing a required report.

Nuisance Fur-bearing Animals

Texas has regulations in place for dealing with nuisance fur-bearing animals. Here are the important guidelines:

  1. Landowner Rights:

    • Landowners or their agents have the right to take nuisance fur-bearing animals on their land without the need for a hunting or trapping license.
    • They may do so in any number and by any means at any time on their property.
  2. Restrictions on Retention and Possession:

    • Fur-bearing animals or their pelts taken for the purpose of nuisance control may not be retained or possessed by anyone except licensed trappers during the lawful open season and possession periods.
  3. Capture and Relocation:

    • Nuisance fur-bearing animals may be captured and relocated, but certain conditions must be met:
      • The person must receive authorization from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
      • The property owner where the release will occur must also provide consent.
      • A monthly report must be submitted to TPWD, including information on the number and kind of fur-bearers captured, the location of the release site, and the name and address of the person authorized to release.
  4. Rabies Quarantine:

    • It is a Class C misdemeanor to transport or sell live foxes, coyotes, and raccoons from, to, or within Texas.
    • For additional information on rabies quarantine, contact the Zoonosis Control Division of the Texas Department of Health at (512) 458-7255.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.