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Furbearer Hunting Seasons


Hunting Seasons

Red and Gray Fox

Oct. 15, 2015 – Feb. 28, 2016

Coyote and Striped Skunk

Oct. 15, 2015 – March 15, 2016

Raccoon and Opossum

Nov. 8, 2015 – Jan. 31, 2016

Dog Running (Raccoon and Opossum only)

Feb. 1, 2015 – Oct. 25, 2015

Feb. 1, 2016 – Oct. 25, 2016

Furbearer Hunting

A valid hunting license is needed to hunt coyote, gray fox, opossum, raccoon, red fox, and striped skunk. (See the chart above for season dates.)

A continuously burning light that can be seen for at least 500 feet must be carried while pursuing furbearing animals between sunset and sunrise. It is illegal to:

  • Remove wild animals from any cavity or den;
  • To disturb the den or nest of any animal by shooting, digging, cutting or chipping; with the aid of smoke, fire, fumes, chemicals, ferret or other small animal; or with any device introduced into the hole where the animal is sheltered
  • To use or carry tree climbing or cutting equipment for the purpose of dislodging an animal from a tree.

Dog Running

The dog running season for raccoon and opossum extends from noon Feb. 1 through noon Oct. 25. A person needs a valid Indiana hunting license to chase wild animals with dogs. See license exemptions on License Exemptions. It is legal to hunt and chase foxes (Oct. 15 to Feb. 28), raccoons (Nov. 8 to Jan. 31), and coyotes (Oct. 15 to March 15) with dogs during the established hunting seasons. Youth that are younger than 13 years old, do not possess a bow, crossbow or firearm, and are accompanied by an individual who is at least 18 years of age and holds a valid license are exempt from needing a hunting license while chasing a wild animal during the dog running season. Certain restrictions apply on DNR-managed properties. It is legal to chase foxes and coyotes with dogs year-round with a hunting license.

Fox & Coyote Hunting

It is legal to hunt fox and coyote with the use of mouth- or hand-operated calls, or with the use of recorded calls. Spotlights may be used to take fox and coyote. There are no restrictions on hunting hours or firearms for hunting fox and coyote. It is illegal to hunt fox or coyote from a roadway or with the use of any motor-driven conveyance. It is legal to chase foxes and coyotes with dogs year-round with a hunting license. See license exemptions on License Exemptions.

Protected Furbearers

Badgers and bobcats are protected species. It is illegal to take these furbearers in Indiana. If you accidentally trap a badger or bobcat, report the incident to an Indiana Conservation Officer (see Indiana Contact Lists). There is no penalty for reporting accidental captures. If the animal is dead, the carcass must be surrendered to an Indiana Conservation Officer. Information provided by hunters and trappers is an important means of determining the status and distribution of these species in Indiana.

For more on protected wildlife, call the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife, (317) 232-4200 or go to

Nuisance Animals

Resident landowners or tenants may use legal methods, without a permit, to take a beaver, mink, muskrat, long-tailed weasel, red fox, gray fox, opossum, skunk, gray squirrel, fox squirrel or raccoon that is on their own property and discovered damaging property.

If the animal is released, it must be released in the county of capture with permission of the landowner.

Ground hogs (woodchucks), moles, and chipmunks may be taken at any time using any equipment without a permit.

Landowners may take coyotes at any time on the land they own, or they may provide written permission for others to take coyotes on their land at any time, without a special permit. A valid hunting or trapping license or nuisance wild animal control permit is required to take a coyote on land other than your own.

Coyotes that are taken outside the hunting and trapping season by a landowner or someone with written permission from a landowner cannot be possessed live for more than 24 hours, and the live coyote cannot be sold, traded, bartered or gifted.

Possession of Hides/Carcasses

It is illegal to possess the untanned hides or unprocessed carcasses of furbearers, except for coyotes, after May 15 of the year the hunting or trapping season ended or after June 15 if you submit a signed form to the DNR by May 15 of the number of untanned hides and unprocessed carcasses still in your possession by species.

The sale of legally harvested furbearing mammals or untanned hides of furbearing mammals can be made to licensed fur buyers only.

Go to for a list of Indiana licensed fur buyers, or call the Division of Fish & Wildlife at (317) 232-4200.

Possession of Live Furbearers

Only raccoons, red foxes, gray foxes, and coyotes can be retained alive during the trapping season for that species.

Raccoons, foxes or coyotes that are removed from a trap and kept alive must be confined in a cage or other enclosure that: (a) makes escape of the mammal unlikely and prevents the entrance of a free-roaming mammal of the same species; (b) is structurally sound; (c) is of sufficient strength for the species involved; (d) is maintained in good repair and smoothly secured to prevent escape or injury to the mammal in the enclosure; (e) is constructed to allow sufficient space for individual posture, to turn about freely, and make normal social movements; (f) is secured when unattended with protective devices at entrances and exits to prevent escapes if kept outdoors and if needed to prevent injuries to human or the mammal’s health and; (g) has ambient ventilation by means of windows, doors, vents, fans, or air conditioning to protect the health of the mammal and to minimize drafts, odors and condensation.

Night quarters, transportation cages, and nesting boxes may not be used as primary housing. Surface water must be adequately drained from a cage or enclosure where the mammal is housed. Adequate lighting must be provided by artificial or natural means and cycled for appropriate photoperiod, if necessary for the mammal in possession. The cages or enclosures must also have adequate shelter from the elements and provide adequate shade for the animals.

You must remove and dispose of food wastes, feces, urine and bedding from the enclosure. You must also remove from the enclosure and appropriately dispose of trash, garbage, debris, and carcasses as soon as they are observed.

You must also provide daily: 1) fresh, clean drinking water in clean containers and 2) food that is unspoiled, uncontaminated, appropriate to the dietary needs of the mammal, and of sufficient quantity for the mammal involved.

Furbearers that are possessed alive and their cages or other enclosures must be made available for inspection by an Indiana Conservation Officer upon request.

Trapper Education

The DNR offers trapper education courses that describe basic methods for trapping furbearers, handling the catch and the responsibilities of the trapper. The DNR, in cooperation with trapper associations, offers these courses throughout the state. The course takes approximately six hours to complete. For information on classes in your area, call your local DNR Law Enforcement district office (see Indiana Contact Lists).

For more intensive training, the Furtakers of America, in cooperation with the DNR and Purdue University, offers the Professional Trapper’s Short Course each fall in northeast Indiana. For more information, contact Gene Beeber, 7701 Chet Lane, Louisville, KY, 40214.

River Otter Rules

A valid Indiana trapping license is required to set traps for river otters. An individual who sets a trap for river otters must be at least 10 years old, unless the individual has passed a state-certified trapper education course.

River otters may be trapped from 8 a.m. Nov. 15, 2015 until noon March 15, 2016 and only in counties open to harvest. See River Otters for a map of the 66 counties open to river otter trapping.

The bag limit is two otters per trapper per season. An individual who sets a trap that catches a river otter must count the animal toward his or her season limit. River otters killed accidentally after the bag limit or statewide quota is reached must notify the DNR within 24 hours of capture and make arrangements to give that river otter to the DNR.

There is a statewide quota of 600 river otters for the 2015-16 season. If this number is reached prior to March 15, 2016, the season will close early. Trappers are responsible for knowing if the quota has been met. If the season closes early, an exception may be made for an individual who traps a river otter within 48 hours of the close of the season and has not yet reached his/her own bag limit.

River otters taken during the trapping season must be reported to the DNR CheckIN Game system ( or call 800-419-1326) within 24 hours of harvest. A CheckIN Game confirmation number will be provided and must be kept with the river otter until the animal is physically registered by a designated Indiana DNR employee or at an official DNR river otter check station. Check for locations.

The pelt and skinned carcass of legally taken river otters also must be taken to a designated Indiana DNR employee or official river otter check station within 15 days after the month of harvest. A CITES (Convention on International Traded or Endangered Species of Fauna & Flora) tag will be attached to the pelt at the time of physical registration. See River Otters for CITES details.

Reporting Incidentals

If incidental catch of a river otter, bobcat or badger occurs, contact your local Conservation Officer or call (812) 837-9536 as soon as possible for instructions on how to release an animal, or if dead, how to transport it to the Department.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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