John Lewis

NY Furbearer Regulations & Trapping

Furbearer, new york, NY hunting regulations

Furbearer hunting and trapping is permitted in New York state with proper licenses and following regulations around seasons, weapons, and more. This page provides a comprehensive overview of regulations and requirements for hunting and trapping various furbearing species in New York.

Important Regulation Resources

General Laws:

  • Licensing: A valid resident or non-resident trapping license is mandatory for all furbearer trapping activities. A hunting license alone does not suffice.
  • Permitted Methods: Traps, deadfalls, and other lawful devices are allowed for capturing furbearers. Snares, however, are strictly prohibited.
  • Open Seasons and Bag Limits: Open seasons and bag limits vary greatly for different furbearer species and across New York’s Wildlife Management Units (WMUs). Refer to the official Hunting & Trapping Regulations Guide for detailed information specific to your target species and location.

Species-Specific Regulations:

  • Red and Gray Fox, Coyote: These adaptable canines can be trapped throughout the state during their open seasons. Electronic calls are permitted for hunting these species.
  • Mink: Mink trapping is limited to the Southern Zone and requires a specific firearm caliber during the designated open trapping season. In the Northern Zone, firearm use for mink trapping is prohibited.
  • Muskrat: Lake Champlain is the only permissible location for muskrat trapping during the open season, with a specific firearm caliber restriction.
  • Bobcat: Bobcat trapping demands a special permit and stringent regulations regarding pelt sealing and tagging.

Special Laws Governing Furbearer Hunting in New York:

Certain unique laws influence the hunting experience while pursuing furbearers in New York:

Methods of Hunting Prohibited:

It is absolutely forbidden to hunt from cars, ATVs, or snowmobiles, guaranteeing that furbearers are pursued fairly and morally.

Approved Weapons and Accessories:

Legal weapons for furbearer hunting include pistols, shotguns, muzzleloaders, bows, crossbows, and air guns, unless otherwise noted. Electronic calls are allowed, which gives hunters more options in their approach.

Rules and Exemptions Regarding Rifles:

Rifles are prohibited from being carried or used during open deer seasons under furbearer laws. Any caliber rimfire or centerfire rifle may be used if there is no deer season in effect. However, some rules are applicable during concurrent deer seasons:

  • Any rimfire or centerfire rifle caliber is acceptable if rifles are authorized for deer hunting.
  • In the event that hunting deer is outlawed, only rimfire rifles with a caliber of.22 or less and centerfire rifles with a caliber less than.22 (such as.204 or.17) are permitted.

Rifles are strictly forbidden in Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties, among other exceptions. Rifles larger than.22 caliber rimfire are prohibited in the Northern Zone for hunting dogs, with the exception of coyote hunting.

Devices for Night Hunting:

Various tools, such as thermal imaging equipment, laser sights, night vision lenses, and spotlights, make nighttime furbearer hunting easier. These accessories may be mounted directly on guns to provide hunters better vision. For precise limits on the firing of guns at night, one should refer to the local rules.

New York state furbearer possession tag

Trapping Regulations

A valid trapping license is required for furbearer trapping in New York, with some exceptions for landowners. Trapping involves use of traps, deadfalls, and other restraining devices to capture wildlife, as well as killing of lawfully trapped animals. Key definitions and regulations:

All traps must be marked with the trapper’s name, address or DEC customer ID number. Regulations by type:

  • Foothold traps
  • Land sets over 4″ require pan tension device + must be covered
  • Jaw spread 53⁄4″ or less on land
  • Underwater beaver/otter sets up to 71⁄4″ jaw spread
  • No teeth allowed
  • Traps over 71⁄4″ prohibited
  • Body-gripping traps
  • Land sets – 71⁄2″ or less
  • Water sets – Only legal for beaver/otter seasons
  • Snares – Prohibited
  • Cage/box traps – Legal for all species. Limits on multi-catch muskrat traps.


Methods vary by region. Southern Zone trap checks every 24 hours. Northern Zone rules:

  • Most areas: check every 48 hours
  • Restraining traps in certain units: check every 24 hours

Carcass baits must be fully concealed from above. Other regulations:

  • No full aerial suspension traps allowed on land
  • Some Northern units prohibit body-gripping trap bait/lure when fisher/marten seasons closed
  • Cannot disturb or trap at muskrat houses or dens
  • Species-specific rules around beaver dams/lodges

Pelt Sealing

Harvested otter, bobcat, fisher, and marten must be sealed within 10 days after the season closes. Seal tags must be attached to the pelt or unskinned carcass prior to sale, transfer, mounting, transport out of state, or 10 days after season. Trappers must:

  1. Fill out a furbearer possession tag for each harvested animal
  2. Make arrangements for DEC sealing

Special rules around transferring/trading sealed pelts. Broken or damaged seals must be replaced through DEC.

Buying & Selling Fur

  • Unsealed otter, bobcat, fisher, marten cannot be bought, sold, or transferred
  • Other species have no restrictions
  • Buyers do not need a special license
  • Skinned/unskinned pelts can be sold

Rights & Responsibilities

  • Cannot disturb or remove animals from another trapper’s traps
  • License does not provide trespass rights to private land
  • Must show license on demand while on trapping lands

Landowners primarily farming their own property and immediate family members do not need licenses while trapping coyote, fox, opossum, raccoon, skunk, weasel, and other unprotected species. Tribal members exempt while trapping on reservations.

Incidental & Accidental Catches

  • Must attempt to release non-target animals caught outside trapping seasons
  • Dispatch if seriously injured
  • DEC seeks information on accidentally caught bobcat, otter, fisher, marten
  • Roadkill furbearers legal to possess if season is open in that Wildlife Management Unit (WMU)

Following all regulations around seasons, licensing, pelt preparation, and reporting is critical for ethical, sustainable furbearer trapping practices in New York state.

Additional Considerations:

  • Respecting Traps: Disturbing or removing another person’s lawfully set traps is illegal.
  • Harassment: Harassing a trapper while engaged in their activities is prohibited.
  • Landowner Permission: Obtaining permission is necessary before trapping on private property.
  • Accidental Captures: Reporting and handling of accidentally captured animals outside open seasons or in prohibited areas are crucial.
  • Road-Killed Furbearers: Possession of road-killed furbearers is permitted under specific conditions and regulations.

Navigating the intricacies of furbearer trapping in New York requires meticulous attention to detail and responsible practices. This guide provides a comprehensive framework to help you navigate the legal landscape and engage in this activity ethically. Remember, respecting wildlife, adhering to regulations, and prioritizing responsible conduct are essential for ensuring the sustainability of New York’s diverse furbearer populations.

Rights and Responsibilities: Sharing the Landscape

  • Respecting Traps: Disturbing or removing another person’s lawfully set traps is illegal. Be mindful of fellow trappers and their practices.
  • Harassment: Harassing a trapper while engaged in their activities is prohibited. Ethical conduct and respect are essential within

Additional Resources:

  • New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC):
  • DEC Hunting & Trapping Regulations Guide:
  • DEC Regional Wildlife Offices:

By understanding and implementing the principles outlined in this guide, you can contribute to a sustainable future for furbearer trapping in New York while ensuring your own success and enjoyment in this unique and rewarding pursuit.

John Lewis
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