river otter 3
River otter. (Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce)

Trappers and hunters must tag furbearers

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources would like to remind beaver, bobcat, fisher and otter trappers that they are required to electronically register their catches within 30 days after the close of the respective season. The furbearer trapping seasons in West Virginia opened Nov. 3.

A game check confirmation number issued by the DNR must be recorded in writing with the trapper’s name and address, or written on a field tag, and must be attached and remain attached to each pelt or whole animal until it is sold, tanned or processed into commercial fur, or is mounted.

Information provided by hunters or trappers when checking game is used to monitor the harvest and assist in future management of these species in West Virginia. Decisions regarding season length, opening and closing dates, and bag limits rely on accurate data obtained from electronic registration of the harvest.

Trappers are asked to deliver skinned river otter carcasses to DNR district offices. Call a district office to arrange a pick up if you are unable to deliver the carcass. Biological samples collected will assist biologists in making decisions regarding future trapping seasons. A $20 gift certificate will be issued for each useable otter carcass turned in.

DNR personnel advise trappers to obtain a Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (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 including Canada. 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. These CITES seals may be obtained from the DNR Elkins office and any DNR district office. Calling ahead is advised to ensure that personnel authorized to seal pelts will be available.

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