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Furbearer Hunting & Chasing Regulations

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  • Firearm, bow and/or crossbow hunting of coyote, fisher, gray fox, nutria, opossum, raccoon, red fox, and skunk is permitted (see County Fox Restrictions in previous section for exceptions). Any individual that hunts these species must possess a valid Furbearer Permit. Shooting of all other furbearer species is prohibited. Refer to General Furbearer Regulations for information on the use of firearms, bows, and crossbows for hunting furbearers.
  • Unarmed fox chasing is not included in the statutory definition of hunting. However, it is subject to DNR regulations. Individuals participating in the unarmed chasing of fox must possess an Individual Furbearer Permit or be a part of an organized group that possess a Group Furbearer Permit. Additional permits may also be required to chase foxes on certain public lands. All activities on DNR owned and managed properties are subject to DNR public land regulations. With the exception of unarmed fox chasing, fox hunting with the aid of dogs is prohibited during the deer firearms season.
  • With the exception of nutria, hunting furbearers on Sunday is prohibited (also see Trapping Regulations in the following section).
  • Legal hunting hours for opossums and raccoons are from sunset to sunrise except Sundays. Raccoons that are destroying muskrats and/or their dens may be hunted any time of the year by owners of the affected marshlands or their employees.
  • The use of artificial light and/or dogs is permitted while hunting coyotes, foxes, opossums, or raccoons on foot. Coyotes, foxes, opossums, and raccoons can be hunted with the aid of electronic calling devices. Daytime and nighttime hunting for foxes is permitted during the legal harvest season for foxes except Sundays. Coyotes can be hunted at night during the period specified in the furbearer seasons and bag limits chart. At all other times of the year, coyotes may only be hunted during the legal daylight shooting hours.

Furbearer Trapping Regulations

Advisory: It is unlawful to tamper with and remove the catch from any legally set trap.

  • Written permission is required to trap on another person’s property, including publicly owned properties.
  • Setting or maintaining any foothold, body-gripping or snare trap within 150 yards of a permanent human residence is prohibited with the following exceptions:
  • » On State, federal or private wetlands.
  • » On lands that qualify for agricultural assessment, timberlands and lands used for reforestation.
  • » Body-gripping traps with a diameter of less than 6 inches that are set completely submerged in water.
  • » Except in Harford and Howard Counties, owners and lessees of privately-owned land.
  • » In Harford and Howard Counties, landowners and lessees of privately-owned land may set or maintain the above described traps on their property as long as they are not within 150 yards of another person’s permanent residence.
  • All individuals trapping furbearers must possess a Furbearer Permit unless exempted from the requirement (see Licenses, Stamps & Permits).
  • Traps must be checked once per calendar day except those traps that are set in water or tidal marshes which must be checked once per 36 hours.
  • In tidal areas, landowners and their agents or lessees have exclusive rights to muskrats and other furbearers above the mean low water line.
  • Any furbearer taken during the legal trapping season FOR THAT SPECIES may be released on site, but may not be transported from the point of capture unless it has been killed. Animals caught during the closed season for a species must be released on site.
  • Legal trapping devices include: box traps, snares, foothold traps and body-gripping traps. Legal use of these devices is subject to compliance with the following restrictions and conditions:

1. Foothold (Leghold) Traps

  • The use of toothed or serrated jawed traps is prohibited. All traps must possess smooth jaws.
  • Traps set above the waterline must not exceed a maximum jaw spread of 5¾ inches. Traps set below the waterline and completely submerged cannot exceed a maximum jaw spread of 7¾ inches.
  • » Jaw spread means the distance between the inside of both jaws, when measured across the trap jaws on a line perpendicular to a line drawn through the jaw pivot points when the trap is in the set position.
  • In Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties traps cannot be set to capture furbearers unless completely submerged in water subject to the following exceptions:
  • » Traps can be set above the waterline on farmland by the owner(s) of the property, members of owner(s) immediate family that reside on the property and the landowner(s) agent, tenant or lessee.
  • » Traps can be set above the waterline in response to wildlife control concerns by authorized agents of the DNR, and according to guidelines established by DNR.

2. Snare Traps

  • It is illegal to use, sell, possess, set, place or maintain a snare trap in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

3. Body-Gripping Traps

  • Body-gripping traps with a diameter of greater than 8 inches can be set when partially or totally submerged in water.
  • Body-gripping traps with a diameter of 8 inches or less can be set above ground in tidal wetlands, flooded non-tidal wetlands, fresh water marshes, wooded swamps, bogs in areas where water covers the surface of the soil, or in areas where the soil is waterlogged to the surface. In all other areas these traps may be set when partially or totally submerged in water.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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