South Dakota River Otter Harvest Limit Met

PIERRE, S.D. – The 2021 river otter season harvest limit of 20 was reached on November 10 at 6 p.m. central time and the season is now closed. River otters captured in existing traps in the next 24 hours are legal catches. It is illegal to harvest river otters by hunting now that the harvest limit has been reached.

Furbearer license holders now have until November 11 at 6 p.m. central time (24 hours since the season closed) to report any trapped river otters to GFP by calling 605.353.7319.

After this time, any trapped river otter is considered incidental take and must be turned in to GFP.

If the incidentally trapped river otter is alive, the trapper must release the river otter right away. Trappers who release river otters are encouraged to notify a GFP representative.
If the incidentally captured river otter is found dead in a trap, it must be left undisturbed and the trapper must contact a GFP representative within 12 hours.
All river otter pelts are required to be tagged through the eyeholes with a CITES tag provided by GFP within five days of harvest, and the carcass must be turned in to GFP.

A person may only possess, purchase, or sell raw river otter pelts that are tagged by GFP. If taken from another jurisdiction, river otters must be properly and securely tagged with a tag supplied by the governmental entity issuing the license. If the governmental entity issuing the license does not issue a tag, other proof that the river otter has been lawfully taken is required.

South Dakota’s river otter trapping season began at sunrise on November 1 and marked the second-ever season in the state. This trapping season began in 2020 and created a new and exciting opportunity for South Dakota trappers during the fall. For more information about the river otter trapping season, please visit