COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio hunters and trappers preparing to pursue furbearers will find good populations of these animals during the 2011-2012 season. The season begins for most furbearing species on November 10, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.
“Food sources and habitat conditions for furbearers remain good this year across Ohio,” said Division of Wildlife biologist Suzie Prange. “Fur takers can expect another good season for most species.”
For the seventh year, 43 counties will be open for river otter trapping from December 26 to February 29. River otters were reintroduced into four Ohio watersheds between 1986 and 1993 and have increased their range in the state. They were removed from the state endangered species list in 2002. Full details of open counties, checking and permit requirements can be found in the Ohio River-Otter Trapping Regulations.
In most regions of Ohio, hunting and trapping seasons for fox, raccoon, opossum, skunk and weasel open November 10 and close January 31. The trapping season for mink and muskrat is open November 10 through February 29. Exceptions are Erie, Ottawa and Sandusky counties, and in Lucas County east of the Maumee River where raccoon, opossum, skunk, weasel, mink and muskrat trapping seasons will remain open through March 15,
Ohio’s beaver-trapping season opens statewide December 26 and ends February 29.
There are no daily bag limits or restrictions on hours for hunting and trapping furbearers, with the exception of river otters, where bag limits are dependent on the county where the trapping occurs. Special hunting regulations for coyotes apply during the one-week, statewide deer-gun season, November 28-December 4, and the deer-gun weekend of December 17-18.
A fur-taker permit is required in addition to a valid Ohio hunting license to hunt or trap furbearing animals, except for coyotes, which may be hunted or trapped year round without a fur-taker permit. A special ODNR Division of Wildlife permit is required to trap beaver and otters on state public hunting areas.
Otters that are accidentally captured, either in excess of bag limits or in closed counties, must be released unharmed. Otters that cannot be released must be turned over to the Division of Wildlife.
Beaver trappers in particular are advised to watch for otter sign and modify set placements where necessary. The Ohio State Trappers Association and the Division of Wildlife have published aguide on how to recognize otter sign and use various otter avoidance techniques while trapping for beaver in areas closed to otter trapping. A copy of the publication and reports about observing otters in Ohio can be ordered by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.
Ohio is among the nation’s leading producers of raw furs. Currently, there are 70 licensed fur dealers and more than 11,000 licensed fur takers in the state.
Additional hunting information is contained in the 2011-2012 Ohio Hunting Regulationsbrochure, available where Ohio hunting licenses are sold, on the Internet at wildohio.com or by calling toll-free 1-800-WILDLIFE.