You must have a valid Indiana trapping license to set traps.
Traps may not be set prior to 8 a.m. on opening day of trapping season. Traps must be checked and animals removed at least one time every 24 hours. Traps may be set at any distance from openings to tile drains or entrances to beaver or muskrat lodges. Tree climbing equipment may not be used as an aid in removing wild animals from trees. The use of motor-driven watercraft is permitted for purposes of setting or checking trap lines.
Furbearing game animals in Indiana include beaver, coyote, gray fox, red fox, long-tailed weasel, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, and striped skunk. All trapping seasons are from
8 a.m. of the first day of the season to noon of the last day of the season. There are no daily bag or possession limits.
Furbearers (except for raccoons, foxes and coyotes that can be retained alive) that are trapped must either be released into the wild in the county in which they were captured within 24 hours of capturing the animals, or they must be euthanized immediately after removal from the trap or immediately upon transporting from the trap site.
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 hunting.in.gov for a list of Indiana licensed fur buyers, or call the Division of Fish and 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. Furbearers kept alive during the season must be euthanized at the completion of the season or you will need to apply for a game breeder license or wild animal possession permit within five days after the close of the season to continue to keep them alive.
Raccoons, foxes or coyotes that are removed from a trap and kept alive must be confined in a cage or other enclosure: (a) that makes escape of the mammal unlikely and prevents the entrance of a free-roaming mammal of the same species; (b) that is structurally sound; (c) that is of sufficient strength for the species involved; (d) that is maintained in good repair and smoothly secured to prevent escape or injury to the mammal in the enclosure; (e) that is constructed to allow sufficient space for individual posture, to turn about freely, and make normal social movements; (f) that 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; (g) that 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.
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.
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. The week-long course covers the biology and management of furbearers, nuisance wildlife control, diseases associated with wildlife, trapping regulations, and public perceptions of trapping. The focus is on the mastery of field techniques. Approximately eight hours are spent afield each day. Students are divided into small groups based on level of experience to ensure that each student receives the best field training possible. Two continuing education credits are offered through Purdue University for completion of the course. For more information, contact Gene Beeber, 7701 Chet Lane, Louisville, KY, 40214.
Avoid Trapping Otter
River otters were reintroduced to Indiana in the mid- to late-1990s. The distribution of river otters has expanded every year since and they potentially can be found throughout the state. River otters are a protected species and care should be taken to avoid trapping otters while pursuing other furbearer species.
Beaver, raccoon and otter share similar habitats, so many trap sets that are successful for beaver and raccoon trapping are also effective for trapping otter. Whether you are trapping during the established season or doing wildlife control work under a DNR-issued permit, employ all the tactics you can to avoid accidentally capturing otters.
For more information on creating species-specific sets, request the publication Avoiding Otter While Trapping Beaver and Raccoon. Write or call the DNR Customer Service Center, 402 W. Washington St., W160, Indianapolis, IN 46204, (317) 232-4200.