Hunters and trappers preparing to pursue furbearers should find good populations of these animals this winter. The season begins for most furbearing species Thursday, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
For the seventh year, 43 counties will be open for river otter trapping Dec. 26-Feb. 29. River otters were reintroduced into four Ohio watersheds between 1986 and 1993 and have increased their range. They were removed from the state endangered species list in 2002.
In most regions of Ohio, hunting and trapping seasons for fox, raccoon, opossum, skunk and weasel are open Nov. 10-Jan. 31. Trapping season for mink and muskrat is open Nov. 10-Feb. 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.
Beaver season is open statewide Dec. 26-Feb. 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 trapping takes place.
Special hunting regulations for coyotes apply during the one-week, statewide deer-gun season Nov. 28-Dec. 4 and the deer-gun weekend Dec. 17-18.
A fur-taker permit is required in addition to a valid Ohio hunting license to hunt or trap furbearing animals, except coyotes, which may be hunted or trapped year round without a permit. A special Division of Wildlife permit is required to trap beaver and otters on state public hunting areas.
Ohio is among the nation's leading producers of raw furs. There are 70 licensed fur dealers and more than 11,000 licensed fur takers in the state.
Additional hunting information is available where hunting licenses are sold or online at www.wildohio.com.