West Virginia’s trapping season will open Nov. 2, 2013.  Trappers harvesting beaver, bobcat, fisher, and otter are reminded they must present the whole animal or pelt to a game checking station or Division of Natural Resources (DNR) representative within 30 days after the close of the respective season. A tag provided by the checking station shall be attached to the whole animal or pelt until it has been sold, tanned, or mounted.

Information provided by hunters or trappers on the checking tag is used to monitor the annual harvest and to assist in future management of these different species. Decisions regarding season length, opening and closing dates, and bag limits are reliant upon accurate data obtained from these tags.

State law no longer requires bobcat hunters and trappers to field tag each bobcat before moving the animal from the location where it was killed. Hunters and trappers are to present the unskinned bobcat when checking the animal.

This is the third year that otters may be trapped in the state. Trappers must deliver skinned otter carcasses to DNR district offices. Biological samples collected will assist biologists in making decisions regarding future trapping seasons.

DNR advises trappers to obtain a CITES seal for each bobcat and otter pelt from animals harvested in West Virginia. The plastic seal is necessary only if the pelts are to 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 such as those in Canada. The seals must be obtained from the state where the animals were harvested.

CITES stands for Convention International Trade Endangered Species. Bobcats and river otters are not endangered species, but may be confused with similar looking species that may be found on the international market. These seals may be obtained from the Elkins Operations Center and any DNR district office. Calling ahead is advised to ensure that personnel authorized to provide seal pelts will be available.

Logo courtesy West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

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