W.Va. reminds hunters about furbearer seasons, river otter project

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W.Va. reminds hunters about furbearer seasons, river otter project
Various furbearer trapping and small game hunting seasons will open in West Virginia on Nov. 4. (Photo courtesy W.Va. Dept. of Commerce)

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With the raccoon hunting season underway, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is reminding hunters and trappers that the state’s various furbearer trapping and small game hunting seasons will open on Nov. 4.

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Small game hunting and trapping seasons open on Nov. 4 include those for red and gray fox, bobcat, mink, muskrat and beaver, otter, cottontail rabbit and snowshoe or varying hare. The raccoon trapping season also will open on Nov. 4.

Trappers harvesting beaver, bobcat (both hunter- and trapper-harvested), fishers, and otters are reminded they must electronically check their catches within 30 days after the close of the respective season.

A state-issued game check confirmation number must be recorded in writing with the trapper’s name and address. It must be attached to each pelt or whole animal until sold, tanned, processed into commercial fur, or mounted.

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Information provided by hunters or trappers when checking game is used to monitor harvest and assist in future game management in West Virginia. Decisions regarding season lengths, opening and closing dates, and bag limits depend on accurate data obtained from these tags.

Trappers are also reminded to obtain a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora seal for each bobcat and otter pelt harvested in West Virginia. The plastic seal is necessary only if the pelts are being shipped out of the state.

Federal law requires the seal on all bobcat and otter pelts if they are eventually shipped to international markets. A seal may be obtained from the Elkins Operations Center and any division district office. Call ahead to ensure that personnel authorized to seal pelts will be available.


West Virginia River Otter Research Project

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources also reminded trappers about its river otter research project and that radio-tagged otters are legal game during trapping season.

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During the summer of 2023, WVDNR biologists began a two-year river otter research project examining annual survival, harvest rates, habitat use, and movement rates. Trappers who harvest a radio-tagged otter should call Holly Morris at the District 4 office at 304-256-6947 to report the tag number and return the transmitter.

See page five of the for more details, including photos of tags and transmitters.

Successful otter trappers who deliver a legally harvested and electronically registered skinned otter carcass to a district office will be eligible to receive one $20 gift card for their usable otter carcass. Biological samples will assist biologists in making decisions regarding future trapping seasons.

For more information and closing dates for various species, check the West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, which is available at district offices, license agents, and online at . To purchase a hunting and trapping license, visit .

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