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Furbearer Trapping

trapping licensing requirements

Any person (regardless of age), except resident landowners while upon their own land or children under 16 years of age when accompanied by a licensee 18 years of age or over, must have a license to trap fur-bearing animals. This license can only be purchased at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord. Trapping Licenses expire on June 30 of each year.

No person shall be issued a license to trap unless he or she presents proof that he or she has completed a trapper education course or has previously held a license to trap.

  • Trapping License—Resident Minor: NH resident youths (under age 16) may purchase this license with proof of Trapper Education or a previous Trapping License. This license allows youth trappers to trap without adult accompaniment.
  • Nonresident Trapping Licenses: In order to be eligible for a NH Trapping License, the applicant’s state or province must allow nonresidents to trap within their jurisdictions.

Persons engaged in the practice of trapping nuisance animals are required to possess a Wildlife Control Operator’s License, available from Fish and Game headquarters in Concord.

General TRAPPING Regulations

  • Snares may be used for taking beaver and otter. Snares shall only be set in water or under ice.
  • All traps/snares must have the name of the person setting them, either stamped or engraved in a legible and permanent manner on the trap or on a durable tag securely affixed to the trap or snare or chain holding the trap.
  • Only New Hampshire residents may trap beaver and otter during the NH open seasons.
  • Otter sealing is required within 10 days of the close of the otter season.
  • Fisher sealing is required within 10 days of the close of the fisher season.
  • There is no open season on bobcat, lynx or pine marten.
  • No person may set, arrange or tend any trap/snare upon any land or from the shores of any waters of which he is not the owner or occupant unless he has signed, written permission, and until a copy is filed with the conservation officer in whose district said person is going to trap, together with a description of the land on which trapping is to be done. The only exceptions are traps/snares placed in public bodies of water as defined in RSA 271:20 and on the following named rivers: Androscoggin, Ammonoosuc, Ashuelot, Bearcamp, Contoocook, Connecticut, Cocheco, Exeter, Lamprey, Mascoma, Merrimack, Merrymeeting, Isinglass, Pemigewasset, Pine, Saco, Soucook, Suncook and Winnipesaukee and their navigable tributaries. Navigable tributaries are those waters from the tributary’s mouth to a point upstream where a person can row a boat or paddle a canoe when the water in the stream is in its ordinary condition.
  • No person may set or arrange any trap in a public way, cart road or path commonly used as a passageway by human beings or domestic animals.
  • Any trapper causing injury or damage to domestic animals, with the exception of dogs at large, shall be liable to the owner. An injury to a licensed dog at large shall be reported to the town or city listed on the dog’s tag, and to the owner of the dog, if known.
  • No person may set or arrange any trap/snare in or under any bridge, ditch or drainage system, whether artificial or natural, within the limits of the right-of-way of any public highway except by special permission of the executive director.
  • A trapper must visit traps set at least once each calendar day. A person trapping beaver through the ice must visit his traps at least once each 72 hours.
  • Trappers may use artificial lights to facilitate checking traps. Checking traps by the use of lights from a motor vehicle is prohibited.
  • While checking traps at night, no person shall have in possession a rifle, revolver or pistol larger than a .22 caliber long rifle, or a shotgun with shells larger than number 4 birdshot.
  • Annual Trapper’s Report due April 30: All persons licensed to trap furbearing animals, whether they trapped or not, are required to submit an Annual Trapper’s Report by April 30 of each year.
  • Fur Dealers must submit a completed “Fur Dealers’ Record Book” (Furs Purchased—Form F&G 152, Furs Sold—Form F&G 152A) to NH Fish and Game on or before July 30 of each year. All licensees must carry on their persons a Form F&G 152 when buying the skins of furbearing animals. All forms are available from Fish and Game’s Concord headquarters.


  • disturb or interfere with the dams or houses of beaver without obtaining a special permit from the executive director or his designee, except as provided in RSA 210:9.
  • set or arrange any trap prior to the first day of the open season for trapping a species.
  • disturb the trap of another person or take a furbearing animal from the trap of another person, unless specifically authorized in writing by the owner of the trap.
  • set any “conibear” trap or similar trap of a size equal to or larger than number 220, except when the trap is:
    1. five feet or more above the ground or surface of the snow (with the exception of a snowstorm during the previous 24 hours); or
    2. in water for trapping beaver or otter.
  • place a trap within 15 feet of a muskrat house, or injure or destroy the house, den or burrow used by any game or furbearing animal.


Permits to trap on state-managed lands are issued by lottery every two years, in even years only, and are valid for two years. The next lottery will be in September 2012.

Permit forms, applications, property maps and lists of available lands may be obtained from the Wildlife Division in Concord (603-271-2461), or downloaded from


2012–2013 trapping SEASONS


Inclusive Dates

Wildlife Management Units

Season Limit

Beaver, Muskrat, Mink, Otter, Weasel

Oct. 15, 2012–Apr. 10, 2013


Otter: 10

Other: No

Nov. 1, 2012–Apr. 10, 2013



Dec. 1–Dec. 31



C1, D2, E, F, G, H1, H2, I1, I2, J1, J2, K, L, M


Red fox, Gray fox, Raccoon, Opossum, Skunk

Oct. 15–Dec. 31

A, B, C1, C2, D1, D2, E, F


Nov. 1, 2012–Jan. 15, 2013

G, H1, H2, I1, I2, J1, J2, K, L, M


Oct. 15, 2012–March 31, 2013



Nov. 1, 2012–March 31, 2013


Bobcat, Lynx,
Pine marten


* The statewide bag limit is 10 fisher per trapper (combined with hunting), with no more than 5 fisher from the combined area of C1, D2, E, F, G, H1, H2, I1, I2, J1, J2, K, L and M.


Lynx Protection Zone & Trap Restrictions


Canada lynx are a federally listed Threatened Species. There is no open season for the trapping or hunting of lynx in New Hampshire. Fish and Game biologists confirmed the presence of reproducing lynx in northern New Hampshire during the winter of 2011–2012. Previously, we only had evidence of what appeared to be transient animals. To protect the lynx, and to help NH trappers avoid accidentally taking lynx, Fish and Game worked with the NH Trappers Association to delineate a “lynx protection zone” in the northern and White Mountains area where special regulations are being implemented.

Statewide Restrictions

  • No foothold trap with auxiliary teeth added shall be allowed.
  • No foothold trap with an inside jaw spread greater than 6½ inches shall be set on land.
  • Body gripping traps with an inside jaw spread greater than or equal to 6½ inches shall only be set:
    • Five feet or more above the ground or surface of the snow with the exception of a snowstorm during the previous 24 hours; and in water for beaver or otter.


Restrictions within the “Lynx Protection Zone”

The following restrictions on traps shall apply while trapping in WMUs A, B, C1, C2, D1, D2-east, E and F:

  • All foothold traps set on land must have one swivel in the chain/cable and one swivel connection to the trap;
  • Body gripping traps with an inside jaw spread of 4 inches or greater and less than or equal to 5 inches which are set on the ground shall only be set as follows:
    • Set in water at all times;
    • Set under overhanging stream banks; and
    • Set as a blind set with no bait or attractant; and
  • Body gripping traps with an inside jaw spread 4 inches or greater which are set off the ground shall only be set as follows:
    • Five feet or more above the ground or surface of the snow, with the exception of a snowstorm during the previous 24 hours;
    • Shall be affixed to a leaning section of a tree, no greater than 4 inches in diameter that is free of branches and angled 45 degrees or greater;
    • The area within 4 feet of the trap shall be free of trees, poles or other objects greater than 4 inches in diameter;
    • The areas within 4 feet of the trap shall be free of trees or poles that are angled less than 45 degrees to the ground at any point between the ground elevation and the elevation of the trap; and
    • The area within 4 feet of the trap shall be free of banks, bluffs, rocks or immediate rise in ground elevation;
  • Body gripping traps with an inside jaw spread greater than 5 inches and less than 6½ inches which are set on the ground shall only be set:
    • Covering the den entry of nuisance wildlife, or
    • If placed in a lynx exclusion device, as follows:
      • The trap jaws shall be completely within the device, the trap springs can be outside of the device;
      • The lynx exclusion device shall not have an opening greater than 6 inches by 8 inches;
      • The opening shall not be directly in front of the trap, but shall be either on the top or side of the device;
      • The trap set within the device shall be a minimum of 18 inches from the closest edge of the opening to the trap;
      • The back of the device shall be secured to withstand heavy pulling;
      • If using wire mesh with a wood box, the wire mesh shall wrap around two opposite sides of the box and be secured;
      • There shall be at least 2 attachment points for each side of the device where there is a joint, or where panels come together;
      • The exclusion device shall be constructed of wood, or wire mesh that does not exceed 1½ inches openings from side to side;
      • The wire gauge shall be 16 gauge or less or a wire diameter of 0.05 inches or greater;
      • The opening slot in the device that allows the trap springs to extend outside the device shall be no more than 7½ inches wide and a height of no more than 1½ inches; and
      • The trap shall be anchored outside of the device.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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