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Trapping Seasons

Hunting Regulations Icon Virginia Hunting

There is a continuous open season to trap beaver, muskrat, opossum, and raccoon within the incorporated limits of any city or town in the Commonwealth, and in the counties of Arlington, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Henrico, James City, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Roanoke, and York.

When beavers are damaging crops or lands, the owner of the premises, his agent, or tenant, may kill the animals or have them killed. This includes shooting, except in areas where the discharge of firearms is prohibited.

Beaver

December 1 through February 28

Bobcat

November 15 through February 28

All trapped bobcats must be reported within 24 hours through the Department’s electronic harvest reporting system. A CITES tag may also be required for some bobcats. Please see Furbearer Hunting Regulations for details regarding electronic bobcat checking and CITIES tagging procedures.

Coyote

Continuous open season.

Fisher

Continuous closed season.

Fox

November 15 through February 28:

Fox trapping is prohibited in Clarke (except on G. Richard Thompson WMA), Fauquier (except on Chester F. Phelps WMA and G. Richard Thompson WMA), Loudoun, and Rappahannock counties.

Mink

December 1 through February 28

Muskrat

December 1 through February 28

Nutria

Continuous open season.

Opossum

November 15 through February 28

Otter

December 1 through February 28

Bag Limit: The season bag limit shall be 4 otters in all counties west of the Blue Ridge. There is no season bag limit in counties east of the Blue Ridge.

CITES Tagging Requirement for Otter

Raw otter pelts and unskinned carcasses that are bought, sold, bartered, traded, solicited for purchase, or transported out of state must also have a CITES tag affixed to each animal. No CITES tag is needed to have an otter mounted by a Virginia taxidermist or ship an otter pelt out-of-state for tanning purposes (unless required by the state where the tannery is located). To obtain a CITES tag, the individual harvesting the animal must contact a local Conservation Police Officer through your nearest Department regional office (listed on Contact Information). If an otter pelt is required to have a CITES tag affixed, it must be tagged by April 1 of the season of harvest.

Rabbit

May be taken with box traps from October 15 through January 31, provided no traps shall be set on the lands of another without written permission of the landowner. Trappers using box traps for rabbits do not need a license.

Raccoon

November 15 through February 28

Skunk

Continuous open season for striped skunk.

Continuous closed season for taking spotted skunk, and the pelts of spotted skunk may not be sold.

Weasel

December 1 through February 28

Best Management Practices

Sustaining the Future of Regulated Trapping

Trapping in North America is heavily regulated by state and provincial wildlife agencies, providing a critical wildlife management technique used to:

1) capture wildlife for sustainable use by the public,

2) protect property,

3) recover and protect endangered species,

4) manage population levels, and

5) capture animals for scientific research.

Trapping Best Management Practices (BMPs) are carefully researched recommendations designed to ensure animals are humanely captured. Developed as part of the largest trap research effort ever conducted, BMPs feature the latest scientific information about trapping techniques and equipment, along with practical advice from experienced trappers and wildlife biologists. More than 400 types of traps have been evaluated and trapping BMPs exist for 22 different species of furbearers. Help SPREAD THE WORD about BMPs to sustain the future of regulated trapping methods and modern furbearer management.

For more information visit https://www.fishwildlife.org/afwa-inspires/furbearer-management