Ohio hunters and trappers preparing to pursue furbearers will find good populations of these animals during the 2010-2011 season, which begins for most furbearing species on Nov. 10, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.
"Food sources and habitat conditions for furbearers have been good this year across Ohio," said Suzie Prange, wildlife biologist with the Division of Wildlife. "Fur takers can expect a good season."
For the sixth year, 43 counties will be open for river otter trapping from December 26 to February 28. 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 Nov. 10 and close Jan. 31, 2010. The trapping season for mink and muskrat is open Nov. 10 through Feb. 28, 2011.
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, 2011.
Ohio's beaver-trapping season runs Dec. 26 to Feb. 28, 2011, statewide.
There are no daily bag limits or restrictions on hours when furbearers may be hunted or trapped, 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 Nov. 29 - Dec. 5, and the deer-gun weekend of Dec. 18-19.
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 a guide 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.
Approximately 60 to 75 sales agents throughout Ohio will be testing the newly designed fishing, hunting, and trapping license and permit sales system during the 2010 fall hunting season. This test will be for licenses and permit sales only, electronic game check begins in spring 2011. Pilot licenses and permits will look different, but will still be valid. Each license buyer must have a Social Security number recorded in the system. Youth hunters and those hunters who have never had a driver’s license swiped during the license buying process must provide their number. The Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey process will be different than in the past. Hunters will be asked to call a toll-free number to register. More information on the testing can be found at wildohio.com.
The 2010-2011 licenses will not be printed on waterproof paper. Sportsmen and women should protect their licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or wallet.
Additional hunting information is contained in the 2010-2011 Ohio Hunting Regulations brochure, available where Ohio hunting licenses are sold, on the Internet at wildohio.com or by calling toll-free 1-800-WILDLIFE.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.