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Trapping Regulations

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Regulations in red are new this year.

  • A trapping license is required and a Trapper Education course must be passed. See pages 1 and 8 for license information.
  • All traps set or used must bear a legible tag of durable material with the name and address of the person setting, using and maintaining the traps. Trap tags with Fish and Wildlife-issued trap identification number or the trapper’s Conservation Identification Number (CID#) may be used in lieu of name and address to mark each trap.
  • No traps or trap stakes are to be set prior to times indicated in this section.
  • All traps must be checked and tended at least once every 24 hours, preferably in the morning.
  • No trap shall be permitted to remain set on any property at the close of the trapping season.
  • No person shall steal or attempt to take traps of another, or remove a trapped animal without permission of the trap owner.
  • There is a mandatory reporting requirement for trappers who incidentally capture a bobcat to call (877) WARNDEP before releasing the bobcat. A Fish and Wildlife Trapper Response Team technician will go to the site for data collection and the safe release of the bobcat.
  • Any person (including a farmer) who traps a coyote must report their harvest via the Automated Harvest Reporting System no later than 8 p.m. on the day of harvest.
  • Licensed trappers in possession of a valid rifle permit may carry a .22 caliber rifle and use only .22 caliber short rimfire cartridges to kill legally trapped animals other than muskrat. Licensed trappers may carry an air gun and use ammunition no smaller than .177 caliber and no larger than .22 caliber to dispatch legally trapped animals other than muskrat. Firearms may not be loaded with more than three rounds.

Beaver and River Otter

Beaver may be taken only by properly licensed trappers in possession of a special beaver trapping permit valid for an entire management zone, or a special site-specific beaver permit valid as designated on the permit. River otter may only be taken by properly licensed trappers in possession of a special river otter trapping permit valid for an entire management zone. Application can be made at license agents or via Fish and Wildlife’s Internet license sales site www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com. Applicants must have a current and valid trapping license to apply.

Zone maps, boundary descriptions and permit quotas are available on our website or call (609) 292-1473. Applicants must have a current and valid trapping license to apply. The application period is October 1–31. Applicants may apply for only one beaver trapping permit and/or one otter trapping permit. If the number of applications exceeds the permit quota, a random lottery drawing will be held to determine permit holders. Successful beaver permit applicants will be given first opportunity for otter permits in their respective zone.

The Director may issue Beaver Damage Control Permits to owners or lessees of any land to control beaver damage. Damage Control Permits issued during the open beaver trapping season may be awarded to applicants that did not received a zone wide permit during the open lottery and who reside near the damage site. All beaver harvested on Damage Control Permits issued during the open season must be registered at an official beaver/otter check station. Beaver taken on Damage Control Permits issued outside of the open beaver trapping season may not be possessed or sold by the damage permit holder.

Other beaver/otter rules and regulations:

  • Holders of a river otter trapping permit may use a maximum of three traps daily.
  • Trappers may only possess one Special River Otter Trapping Permit per season.
  • All beaver and otter trap tags must be clearly visible above the water or ice.
  • Holders of both a Special Beaver Permit and a Beaver Damage Control Permit may use five additional traps daily on the property listed in the Damage Control Permit.
  • A Fish and Wildlife-issued Beaver Transportation Tag or Otter Transportation Tag must be affixed to the beaver or otter carcass immediately upon taking possession of the animal.
  • All otters harvested incidentally by beaver trappers (i.e., trappers possessing a beaver permit but not an otter permit) must be fully surrendered to the Division of Fish and Wildlife. The entire carcass, including the pelt, must be surrendered.
  • All successful trappers (or their agents) must present their beaver and/or otter pelts at a designated check station for examination where pelt tags will be affixed. All otter carcasses must be surrendered when pelts are registered, as required by the Game Code. Failure to submit your carcass will result in the issuance of a citation by the Bureau of Law Enforcement.
  • Trappers are requested to properly flesh and stretch all pelts for examination. Additional information on check stations will be provided to all permit holders.
  • Fish and Wildlife will staff check-in stations at the Assunpink, Clinton, Flatbrook, Tuckahoe and Winslow WMAs and the Newfoundland Fire Company on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 (9 a.m.–noon). Successful trappers who cannot attend the scheduled dates should contact either Joseph Garris at (908) 735-7040 or Andrew Burnett at (609) 748-2047 prior to Feb. 13 to make alternate arrangements.
  • Permit holders will be notified via email, telephone or U.S. mail in the event the beaver and otter trapping season is extended for any reason, and notified of any change in the pelt registration date.

Bobcat and Fisher

Bobcats are classified as endangered in New Jersey; they are distributed widely across the northern part of the state. Fishers are returning, naturally and through reintroduction efforts in New York and Pennsylvania, to most of their historic range in the northeastern United States. Fishers have been documented in several northern and southern New Jersey counties.

There is no open trapping season for either
bobcat or fisher. It is now mandatory for trappers and farmers to report any incidental bobcat capture within 24 hours of discovery by calling 1-877-WarnDEP (1-877-927-6336). Possession of New Jersey bobcats or fishers is prohibited but those legally harvested in other U.S. states or Canadian provinces may be possessed if properly documented. Call the same number for a dead bobcat or fisher on your trapline; a Fish and Wildlife technician will arrange to pick up the animal. Biological samples will be taken from all bobcat and fisher carcasses. The data collected will be instrumental to understand the status of the species populations.

Traps, Live-capture Foot Encapsulating

Enclosed or foot encapsulating (also known as enclosed foothold or dog-proof traps) traps are now legal for trapping. These traps have been specifically designed to capture species such as raccoon and opossum (which possess a degree of manual dexterity) while minimizing the capture of non-target animals especially domestic dogs and cats. Enclosed foothold traps are a live-restraint trap which do not result in the death of the captured animal or in the potential for significant injury.

These traps are subject to the following requirements:

  • All triggering and restraining mechanisms shall be enclosed by a housing.
  • The triggering and restraining mechanism is accessible only by a single opening when the trap is set.
  • The access opening does not exceed 2 inches in diameter or when measured diagonally.
  • The triggering mechanism can be activated only by a pulling force.
  • The trap has a swivel-mounted anchoring system.

Traps, Live-capture Cable Restraints (Snares)

  • No person shall set, use or maintain any type of snare unless they have first passed a Fish and Wildlife-approved trapper education course and carry on their person appropriate certification thereof.
  • All live capture cable restraints must include a relaxing-type lock, except when submerged underwater or when set for mink, muskrat, nutria or weasel.
  • All natural baits consisting of fish, bird or mammal carcasses or flesh used in trapping with live-capture cable restraints must be covered or concealed from view except when placed at least 30 feet from any trap set.

Live-capture cable restraints set for mink, muskrat, nutria and weasel are subject to the following requirements:

  • All such traps must be constructed of aircraft cable or crucible wire measuring 1/32, 3/64 or 1/16 inches in diameter, equipped with a swivel;
  • Mink, muskrat and nutria cable restraints must be set within 50 feet of the mean high water line.
  • All such traps must be equipped with a stop to prevent the average loop diameter from exceeding 4 inches; and,
  • All such traps must be set so that the distance between the ground/walking surface to the top of the loop does not exceed 7 inches.

Live-capture cable restraints set for coyote, fox, opossum, raccoon, skunk and weasel shall be subject to the following requirements:

  • All such traps must be constructed of aircraft cable or crucible wire measuring 5/64 to 3/16 inches
    in diameter and be equipped with a swivel and a relaxing-type lock;
  • All such traps must be equipped with a deer stop located no less than 6 inches from the beginning of the cable and a loop stop to prevent the average loop diameter from exceeding 12 inches; and,
  • All such traps must be set so that the distance between the ground / walking surface to the top of the loop does not exceed 24 inches.

The above requirements for cable diameters, loop stops and loop sizes do not apply to body gripping restraining snares that are completely submerged underwater at all times (e.g., when set for beaver or river otter).

Traps, Body-gripping or Killer-type

No body-gripping or killer-type trap shall be used in non-tidal waters unless completely submerged underwater when the water is at the normal level. In tidal water, such traps must be completely covered at normal high tide.

It is illegal to use, set or maintain a body-gripping or killer-type trap having a jaw spread greater than 6 inches without a permit for beaver or river otter. A body-gripping or killer-type trap with a jaw spread of no more than 10 inches may be used for beaver or river otter. Jaw spread shall be measured between the inner edges of the jaws across the trigger of a set trap.

Beaver and otter trap tags must be placed above the water line and exposed to view.

Traps, Leg-hold

It is illegal to possess or use steel-jawed leghold traps anywhere in New Jersey.

Coyote, Red and Gray Fox, Raccoon, Skunk, Opossum and Weasel Trapping

  • Season Dates: Nov. 15–Mar. 15 except Jan. 1–Mar. 15 for trapping coyote, red and gray fox, raccoon, skunk, opossum and weasel on these wildlife management areas: Assunpink, Berkshire Valley, Bevans (Millville),Black River, Clinton, Colliers Mills, Flatbrook-Roy, Glassboro, Greenwood (incl. Howardsville), Heislerville, MacNamara (Tuckahoe), Mad Horse, Manahawkin, Manasquan River, Medford, Nantuxent, Peaslee, Pequest, Port Republic, Stafford Forge, Walpack, Winslow and Whittingham. Trapping is prohibited at all times on the Delaware Water Gap Nat’l Recreation Area.
  • Bag Limits: No daily bag limit for any of these species.
  • No open fisher season. Call (877) 927-6337 to report any fisher capture.
  • Traps may not be set prior to 6 a.m. on the respective opening day.
  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area closed to trapping.

Mink, Muskrat and Nutria Trapping Zones

  • Bag Limits: No daily bag limit for mink, muskrat or nutria.
  • North Zone Nov. 15–Mar. 15: Those portions of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties lying north beginning at the intersection of US Rt. 1 and the Delaware River at Trenton; then north along Rt. 1 to its intersection with I-287; then south along I-287 to its intersection with Rt. 440; then east along Rt. 440 to the NJ-NY state line.
  • South Zone Dec. 1–Mar. 15: Those portions of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Salem counties lying south of the aforementioned line.

*The following wildlife management areas (WMAs) are closed to trapping until Jan. 1: Assunpink, Berkshire Valley, Bevans (Millville), Black River, Clinton, Colliers Mills, Flatbrook-Roy, Glassboro, Greenwood (incl. Howardsville), Heislerville, MacNamara (Tuckahoe), Mad Horse, Manahawkin, Manasquan River, Medford, Nantuxent, Peaslee, Pequest, Port Republic, Stafford Forge, Walpack, Winslow and Whittingham. Trapping is prohibited at all times on the Delaware Water Gap Nat’l Recreation Area.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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