WVDNR announces furbearer seasons

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.VA. — The 2021 West Virginia furbearer seasons are underway, with raccoon hunting continuing through Feb. 28, 2022, and hunting and trapping of other furbearers starting on Nov. 6. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) again is offering a $20 gift card for usable otter carcasses.

With mast conditions good in places, locating raccoons should not be too difficult. Spotty but locally abundant mast and mild winter weather last year should have resulted in good reproduction and survival leading to increased numbers of animals this season. The daily bag limit for raccoons taken during the hunting season is four.

Trappers harvesting beaver, bobcat, fisher and otter are reminded they must electronically check their catches within 30 days after the close of the respective season. A DNR-issued game check confirmation number shall be recorded in writing with the trapper’s name and address and shall be attached and remain attached to each pelt or whole animal until sold, tanned, processed into commercial fur or mounted.

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

Trappers are being asked to deliver skinned otter carcasses to WVDNR district offices. Call your local district office to arrange a pick-up if unable to deliver the carcass. Biological samples collected will assist biologists in making decisions regarding future trapping seasons. A $20 gift card will be issued for each usable otter carcass provided.

WVDNR advises trappers to obtain a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) seal for each bobcat and otter pelt from animals harvested in West Virginia. The plastic seal is necessary only if the pelts will be shipped out of the state. Federal law requires the seal on all bobcat and otter pelts if they will eventually be shipped to international markets. The seals must be obtained from the state where the animals were harvested.

Bobcats and river otters are not endangered species but may be confused with similar looking species that may be found on the international market. A CITES seal may be obtained from the Elkins Operations Center and any WVDNR district office. Call ahead to ensure that personnel authorized to seal pelts will be available.

For more information and closing dates for various species, go to the 2021-22 West Virginia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, which is available at WVDNR district offices, WVDNR license agents and online at WVdnr.gov.