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Furbearers

Furbearers Include: Beaver, Bobcat, Coyote, Fisher, Gray Fox, Long-tailed Weasel, Mink, Muskrat, Nutria, Opossum, Raccoon, Red Fox, River Otter, and Skunk

The bobcat may not be taken in Maryland.

Daily furbearer shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset (unless otherwise specified).

General Furbearer Regulations

  • A hunter must carry personal photo identification (such as a driver’s license) or a secondary form of positive identification while hunting.
  • Written permission is required to hunt or trap on private land.
  • A hunting license is required to hunt or trap furbearers in Maryland (with exceptions). (See Maryland Hunting Licenses) for requirements, types, costs, exceptions, purchasing, and Armed Forces information.
  • A Nonresident Hunting License and Nonresident Trapping License is required of nonresidents to trap furbearers in Maryland. See Other Licenses (Maryland Hunting Licenses).
  • A Furbearer Permit is required to hunt, chase, or trap any furbearer in Maryland. (See Furbearer Permit and Exceptions below).
  • The furbearers that may be hunted and trapped in Maryland are:
    • coyote
    • fisher
    • gray fox
    • nutria
    • opossum
    • raccoon
    • red fox
    • skunk
  • The following species may only be trapped in Maryland:
    • beaver
    • long-tailed weasel
    • mink
    • muskrat
    • river otter
  • People who are not residents of Maryland are not permitted to harvest beaver or river otter in Maryland.
  • Destroying or disturbing furbearer dens is prohibited.
  • A permit is required to possess the meat or skinned carcass of a furbearer for more than 10 days after the season has closed. Permits can be obtained from the Maryland Natural Resources Police. (See Addresses & Phone Numbers for NRP addresses.)
  • The pelt or unskinned carcasses of all fisher and river otter harvested in Maryland must be tagged within 15 days after the season has closed. Fisher and otter pelt tags may be obtained by contacting local offices of either the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service or Natural Resources Police (Addresses & Phone Numbers).
  • Trappers are required to submit the whole, skinned carcass of any river otter harvested in Allegany and Garrett counties to the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service. Call 301-334-4255, Mt. Nebo WMA.
  • The pelts or unskinned carcasses of furbearers harvested in Maryland that are transported across the state line must have a “Fur Shipping Tag” accompanying them. These tags are available Here or by contacting local offices of either the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service or Natural Resources Police.
  • On those lands owned or controlled by DNR in Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester counties; only leaseholders or their appointees can hunt or trap furbearers and nutria between November 15 and March 15.
  • Fox Restrictions: Some counties have local restrictions governing fox hunting and trapping, and the possession of foxes and/or their pelts. For detailed information, contact local law enforcement authorities. The following regulations apply:
    • In Charles and Dorchester counties, a person may hunt and trap fox or possess the pelt of a fox any time of the year.
    • It is unlawful to kill a fox being pursued by dogs in Cecil, Harford, Kent, St. Mary’s and Wicomico counties.
  • It is unlawful to hunt, trap (see below for trapping exceptions) or shoot at wildlife within 150 yards of an occupied building or camp without permission of the owner or occupant. For archery hunters this distance is 100 yards in Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties and 50 yards in Calvert, Carroll, Frederick, and St. Mary’s counties. In Harford County, the distance for archery hunters is now 50 yards, however, archers must use a tree stand when hunting between 50 and 100 yards of an occupied dwelling or other building.
  • Fluorescent orange clothing is not required to hunt or trap furbearers.
  • Hunting furbearers on Sunday is prohibited except for nutria and in Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties. (See Furbearer Seasons, Bag Limits, Locations, and Resident Requirements).

Furbearer Permit & Exceptions and Trapper Education Requirements

Furbearer Permit

  • A Furbearer Permit is required to hunt, chase, or trap any furbearer in Maryland.
  • A Furbearer Permit is required of persons participating in the unarmed chasing of fox and raccoons and it is required of those Who May Hunt Without a License (Maryland Hunting Licenses) to hunt, chase, or trap any furbearer.
  • Any person can purchase the Individual Furbearer Permit.
  • A representative of an association or group that chases or hunts furbearers may obtain the Group Furbearer Permit. Members or guests of an association or group with a Group Furbearer Permit are not required to have an Individual Furbearer Permit. A Group Furbearer Permit holder must submit a report to the DNR by September 1 following the end of each permit year.

Individual Furbearer Permit$5.00

Group Furbearer Permit$10.00

(See Purchasing Your Maryland Hunting Licenses, Stamps and Permits, Maryland Hunting Licenses.)

Furbearer Permit Exceptions

Those who are not required to have a Furbearer Permit are:

  • A person who possesses a Wildlife Control Cooperator Permit and is engaging in the control of fur-bearing mammals in accordance with the terms and conditions of the permit.
  • A landowner who possesses a Landowner Wildlife Damage Control Permit.
  • A Furbearer Permit is also not required for:
    • a landowner to destroy a muskrat that is damaging an embankment or impoundment.
    • a landowner to hunt or trap a coyote, fox or skunk that is damaging or destroying the personal or real property of the landowner on their land.
    • the owner of a marsh or the owner’s employees to hunt any raccoon which destroys a muskrat or its home in a marsh area within the state.
    • a landowner or the landowner’s agent to set or use traps or similar devices at any time to trap raccoons or opossums which are damaging property.

Trapper Education Requirement

  • Any person who traps or attempts to trap furbearers under the authority of a Furbearer Permit must first obtain a Certificate of Trapper Education from the DNR (or a designee of DNR).
  • The Certificate is not required if the person held a Furbearer Permit prior to August 1, 2007.
  • Any similar certificate issued by another state is acceptable as complying with the educational requirements if the privileges are reciprocal for Maryland residents.
  • For information about Trapper Education Courses, please contact the Maryland Natural Resources Police, Safety Education Section, 305 Marine Academy Drive, Suite 1, Stevensville, MD 21666, 410-643-8502 or visit: dnr.maryland.gov/nrp/Pages/trappered.aspx
  • The Certificate of Trapper Education must be presented to the DNR Licensing and Registration Service in person, by fax or email to purchase a Furbearer Permit. (See Purchasing Your Maryland Hunting Licenses, Stamps and Permits, Maryland Hunting Licenses.)
  • All trappers are encouraged to participate in a trapper education course. These courses are held statewide.

Furbearer Hunting & Chasing Regulations

  • Firearm and archery hunting of coyote, fisher, gray fox, nutria, opossum, raccoon, red fox, and skunk is permitted.
  • A hunter pursuing these furbearers must possess a valid Furbearer Permit (see this page).
  • It is illegal to shoot a beaver, muskrat, mink, river otter, or long-tailed weasel.
  • Some counties have local restrictions governing fox hunting, trapping, and the possession of foxes and/or their pelts. For detailed information, contact local law enforcement authorities. The following regulations apply:
    • In Charles and Dorchester counties, a person may hunt and trap fox or possess the pelt of a fox any time of the year.
    • It is unlawful to kill a fox being pursued by dogs in Cecil, Harford, Kent, St. Mary’s and Wicomico counties.
  • An unarmed person participating in an organized fox chase may chase foxes on Sundays.
  • Fox hunting with the aid of dogs is prohibited during the deer firearms season with the exception of unarmed fox chasing.
  • Daytime and nighttime hunting for foxes is permitted during the legal harvest season for foxes.
  • Coyotes can be hunted at night during the specified season. At all other times of the year, coyotes may only be hunted during daylight hours (one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset).
  • 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.
  • Legal hunting season hours for opossums and raccoons are at night, from sunset to sunrise.
  • The use of artificial light and/or dogs is permitted while hunting coyotes, foxes, opossums, or raccoons on foot.
  • Coyotes, fishers, foxes, opossums, raccoons, and skunks can be hunted with the aid of electronic calling devices.
  • Telescopic and laser sights may be used on all devices legal for hunting furbearers.
  • It is against the law to shoot on, from or across any public road.
  • It is illegal to hunt or shoot at wildlife within 150 yards of an occupied building or camp without permission of the owner or occupant. For archery hunters this distance is 100 yards in Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties and 50 yards in Calvert, Carroll, Frederick, and St. Mary’s counties. In Harford County, the distance for archery hunters is now 50 yards, however, archers must use a tree stand when hunting between 50 and 100 yards of an occupied dwelling or other building.
  • It is unlawful to discharge a firearm within 300 yards of a public or nonpublic school while hunting. This prohibition only applies during school hours or when the building is occupied. This safety zone does not apply to colleges, universities, or home schools.

Firearms

Taking coyote, fisher, gray fox, nutria, opossum, raccoon, red fox, and skunk with firearms is subject to these regulations:

  • A shotgun may not hold more than three (3) shells in the magazine and chamber combined.
  • Rifles (including air rifles) and handguns may be used. Full metal-jacketed, incendiary, or tracer bullets may not be used.
  • Muzzleloading rifles, shotguns, and handguns may be used. To be considered a muzzleloader, a rifle, shotgun or handgun must be loaded from the muzzle, and a revolver must be loaded from the front of the cylinder. Muzzleloaders are considered unloaded if the ignition system is disabled by removal of the cap, primer, battery, or primer powder.
  • It is illegal to have a loaded firearm in, on, or leaning against any vehicle. This includes ammunition in the magazine or a muzzleloader ready to fire.

Archery Equipment

Taking coyote, fisher, gray fox, nutria, opossum, raccoon, red fox, and skunk with archery equipment is subject to these regulations:

  • Vertical bows may be used. Draw locking devices and release aids are legal for hunting these furbearers.
  • Crossbows may be used. All crossbows should have a working safety.
  • The use of poisoned or explosive tipped arrows or bolts is not permitted.
  • It is illegal to have a loaded crossbow in, on or leaning against a vehicle.
  • A cocked crossbow without a bolt or arrow in the firing position is considered to be unloaded.

Unarmed Fox Chasing

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 possesses a Group Furbearer Permit (see this page). 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.

Furbearer Trapping Regulations

  • It is unlawful to tamper with and remove the catch from any legally set trap.
  • All individuals who trap furbearers must possess a Furbearer Permit unless exempt from the requirement.
  • Written permission is required to trap or hunt on another person’s property, including publicly owned properties.
  • It is illegal to set or maintain any foothold, body-gripping, or snare trap within 150 yards of a permanent human residence with the following exceptions:
    • These traps can be used on state, federal or private wetlands.
    • These traps can be used on lands that qualify for agricultural assessment, timberlands and lands used for reforestation.
    • Body-gripping traps with a diameter of less than six (6) inches can be used when completely submerged in water.
    • In Harford and Howard Counties: landowners and lessees of privately-owned land may used these traps on their property as long as they are not within 150 yards of another person’s permanent residence.
  • 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 two days.
  • 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 caught 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 that species must be released on site.

Legal Trapping Devices

Body-gripping traps, box traps, foothold traps, and snares are legal trapping devices and are subject to compliance with the following restrictions and conditions:

Body-Gripping Traps

Body-gripping traps with a diameter of greater than eight (8) inches can be set when partially or totally submerged in water.

Body-gripping traps with a diameter of eight (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.

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 leghold traps cannot be set to capture furbearers unless completely submerged in water with 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 the DNR.

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.

Nutria And Woodchuck

The nutria and woodchuck are classified as “unprotected mammals.” As such:

  • A hunting license is not required to hunt woodchucks and nutria except in Baltimore and Frederick counties.
  • Woodchucks and nutria may be hunted throughout the year, including Sundays.
  • Hunters must wear fluorescent orange while hunting woodchucks.
  • All hunting devices legal for other game animals may be used to hunt woodchucks and nutria.

Furbearer Seasons, Bag Limits, Locations, and Resident Requirements, 2016-2017

Sunday Hunting- The following species may be hunted on all Sundays during the open season on private and designated public lands in Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties: coyotes, fishers, foxes, opossums, raccoons, skunks.

Designated public lands open to Sunday hunting in Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties are ONLY: Billmeyer-Belle Grove WMA, Cunningham Swamp WMA, Dan’s Mountain WMA, Garrett SF, Green Ridge SF, Indian Springs WMA, Mount Nebo WMA, Potomac SF, Prather’s Neck WMA, Savage River SF, Sideling Hill WMA, Warrior Mountain WMA.

Species

Open Season

Location

Bag Limit

Possession Limit

Beaver – Trapping Only

Closed to Nonresidents

Dec. 15- Mar. 15

All counties except Allegany & Garrett

No limit

No limit

Beaver – Trapping Only

Closed to Nonresidents

Dec. 1- Mar. 15

Allegany & Garrett counties

No limit

No limit

Bobcat

Closed Season

Coyote

Firearms & Archery Hunting

Coyotes may be hunted year-round in all counties during daylight hours (one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset)

No limit

No limit

Oct. 15- Mar. 15

Coyotes may be hunted year-round in all counties day & night

No limit

No limit

Coyote & Long-tailed WeaseL

Trapping

Nov. 15- Feb. 15

in that portion of the state east of the Chesapeake Bay and the Susquehanna River

No limit

No limit

Nov. 1- Feb. 1

in that portion of the state west of the Chesapeake Bay and the Susquehanna River

No limit

No limit

Fisher

Nov. 1- Feb. 1

All counties

2 per day

2 per season

Fox (Red & Gray)

Trapping, Firearms & Archery Hunting

Aug. 1- July 31

Charles & Dorchester counties

No limit

No limit

Nov. 15- Feb. 15

Caroline, Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico & Worcester counties

No limit

No limit

Nov. 1- Feb. 1

Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s & Washington counties

No limit

No limit

Muskrat & Mink

Trapping Only

Nov. 15- Feb. 15

Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Howard & Washington counties

No limit

No limit

Jan. 2- Mar. 15

Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Dorchester, Montgomery, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, Talbot & Wicomico counties

No limit

No limit

Dec. 15- Mar. 15

Baltimore, Cecil, Harford, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset & Worcester counties

No limit

No limit

Nutria

Aug. 1- July 31, Mon. – Sun.

All counties

No limit

No limit

River Otter – Trapping Only

Closed to Nonresidents

Dec. 15- Mar. 15

All counties except Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Howard, Montgomery & Washington

10 per day

10 per season

Dec. 15- Mar. 15

Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery & Washington counties

2 per day

2 per season

River Otter – Trapping Only

Closed to Nonresidents

Dec. 1- Mar. 15

Allegany and Garrett counties

1 per day

1 per season

Raccoon & Opossum

Chasing – No Kill

Aug. 1- Oct. 14

Mar. 16- July 31

All counties

—-

—-

Raccoon & Opossum

Firearms, Archery & Dog Hunting

Oct. 15- Mar. 15

All counties

No limit

No limit

Raccoon, Skunk & Opossum

Trapping

Nov. 15- Mar. 15

in that portion of the state east of the Chesapeake Bay and the Susquehanna River

No limit

No limit

Nov. 1- Mar. 15

in that portion of the state west of the Chesapeake Bay and the Susquehanna River

Skunk
Firearms & Archery Hunting

Nov. 1- Mar. 15

All counties

No limit

No limit

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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