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Trapping Regulations

Regulations in red are new this year. Purple text indicates an important note.


  • A trapping license is required and a Trapper Education course must be passed. See 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.
  • A trap identification number issued by Fish and Wildlife may be used in lieu of a name/address tag. A photocopy of your current and valid trapping license plus a daytime telephone number will be required. Contact the Bureau of Wildlife Management at (609) 292-6685 for more information.
  • 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.
  • Any person (including a farmer) who traps a coyote must notify a Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement office within 24 hours.
  • Licensed trappers at least 18 years of age and 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. 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. Applicants must have a current and valid trapping license to apply.

Zone maps, boundary descriptions and permit quotas are available on our Web site 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.

Beaver trappers may indicate on their application if they wish to be considered for a site-specific beaver permit within your chosen zone. Site-specific permits are issued for properties where confirmed beaver damage or nuisance problems exist. A separate, random lottery will determine site-specific permit holders; however, applicants who did not receive a zone-wide beaver permit will have first opportunity for a site-specific permit.

Other beaver/otter rules and regulations:

  • Holders of a beaver trapping zone permit may use a maximum of five traps daily.
  • Holders of a site-specific permit may use an additional five traps daily only at the location specified on the permit.
  • Holders of a river otter trapping permit may use a maximum of three traps daily.
  • All beaver and otter trap tags must be clearly visible above the water or ice.
  • A Fish and Wildlife-issued Beaver Transportation Tag or Otter Transportation Tag must be affixed to the beaver or otter carcass immediately upon removal from the trap.
  • 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 may result in a denial of future trapping permits.
  • 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. 19, 2011. Pelts may also be registered at Space Farms, Sussex County, in conjunction with the New Jersey Trappers Association’s January fur auction (if held). Successful trappers who cannot attend the scheduled dates should contact either Joseph Garris at (908) 735-7040 or Andrew Burnett at (609) 748-2058 prior to February 12 to make alternate arrangements.


Fishers are returning, naturally and through re-introduction effort in New York and Pennsylvania, to most of their historic range in the northeastern United States. Fishers have been documented in several northern New Jersey counties and as far south as Cape May County.

The Fish and Game Council defines fisher as a furbearer to clarify its status; however there is no open trapping season at this time; possession is not permitted. If you find a live fisher on your trapline, do not disturb the animal or the set but immediately notify Fish and Wildlife by calling 1-877-WARNDEP (927-6337). A Fish and Wildlife technician will provide further instructions. For a dead fisher on your trapline, call 1-877-WARNDEP;
a Fish and Wildlife technician will make arrangements to pick up the animal. Biological samples will be taken from all fisher carcasses then analyzed for age and reproductive status. The data collected will be instrumental to determine when an open season may be established in the future.

Traps, Body Gripping Restraining Type (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 natural baits consisting of fish, bird or mammal carcasses or flesh used in trapping with body gripping restraining snares must be covered or concealed from view except when placed at least 30 feet from any trap set.

Body gripping restraining snares set for mink, muskrat and nutria 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 and 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.

Body gripping restraining snares 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 of crucible wire measuring from 5/64 to 1/8 inches in diameter and be equipped with a swivel;
  • 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, Conibear or Killer-type

No Conibear 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 possess a Conibear or killer-type trap having a jaw spread greater than 6 inches without a permit for beaver or river otter. A Conibear 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.

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Traps, Leg-hold

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


  • 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.
  • North Zone: 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: Those portions of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Salem counties lying south of the aforementioned line.
  • Holders of both a Special Beaver Permit and a Special Site-Specific Beaver Permit may use five additional traps daily on the property listed in the Special Site-Specific Permit.
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Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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