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2021 Connecticut Hunting and Trapping Guide


Furbearer Trapping Seasons


Species Dates Limits
River Otter* Jan. 1 - March 15 and Nov. 7 - Dec. 31 8
Beaver* Jan. 1 - March 31 and Dec. 1 - Dec. 31 No limit

Mink*, Muskrat, Weasel, Coyote*, Gray Fox*
Red Fox*, Raccoon, Opossum, and Skunk

Jan. 1 - March 15 and Nov. 7 - Dec. 31 No limits
Fisher (Carcass collection mandatory) Nov. 20 - Dec. 31 2

*ALL BEAVER, RIVER OTTER, RED FOX, GRAY FOX, WILD MINK, COYOTE, and FISHER PELTS must be properly tagged before they are sold, exchanged, given away, otherwise disposed of, or retained for personal use. These pelts must be tagged by the last scheduled tagging date of the season. Fur dealers are prohibited from buying or selling untagged pelts of these species. Foxes and coyotes taken by hunters, instead of being pelt tagged, may be reported online or by telephone (1-877-337-4868).

 

2021 Pelt Tagging Process Revised

Precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in an adjustment to the pelt tagging options that have traditionally been available. Providing pelt tags by mail, as was done earlier in 2020, will continue for pelts taken during the 2020-2021 trapping season. Trappers can contact DEEP Wildlife Division biologist Geoffrey Krukar by e-mail (geoffrey.krukar@ct.gov) or phone (860-424-3051)  to request pelt tags. You will be asked for a list of the number of each species you need tags for and a mailing address. The required number of tags and report forms will be mailed to you. As soon as you receive the tags, immediately attach them to your pelts. The report forms will ask for the same information requested at traditional pelt taggings. Report forms will be due within 30 days of receipt and they will be treated as other harvest reports, so there are penalties for submitting false reports. Packets will be mailed on January 31, 2021, and March 31, 2021.

***Please Note: A regulation change went into effect in 2020 that requires trappers to submit fisher carcasses to the Wildlife Division for research purposes. Please contact the Wildlife Division to arrange for a pick-up or drop-off date (geoffrey.krukar@ct.gov or 860-424-3051).

State Land Trapping

Permits (Word Form - fillable / PDF) for trapping on selected state-owned land can be purchased for $120.00 per unit. There are two units, one east and one west of the Connecticut River. The units include many of the state forests and wildlife management areas. Permits are valid from November through March 30 (not for the calendar year). Information on applying for permits, applicant requirements, and available properties can be obtained by contacting the Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011.

Carcass Collections

Trappers are required to submit fisher carcasses to the Wildlife Division for research purposes. The carcasses can be frozen and submitted prior to or during one of the listed pelt tagging dates. To make special arrangements for fisher carcass submission, call the Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011 or 860-424-3051.

Coyote Land Trapping

From December 1 through January 31 there are special provisions for trapping coyotes on private land. Refer to padded metal trap restrictions for the requirements that must be met to trap coyotes on private land during this time period.

Bobcat Captures

Any Connecticut trapper who incidentally captures a bobcat with yellow ear tags should record the tag number before releasing the bobcat and then contact the Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011 to report the bobcat. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, trapping as part of the Bobcat Project has been postponed until the fall 2021/winter 2022 trapping season. We will be asking trappers in the Farmington Valley to help out. Stay tuned for updates. To learn more about our project, visit the Bobcats in Connecticut webpage.

Taxidermists

Taxidermists can accept untagged animals or pelts, but are required to have them tagged by the next scheduled tagging date. Taxidermists must attach a paper tag to the animal or pelt listing the hunter or trapper's name, license number, town of harvest, and date of harvest.

Pelts of Protected Species

Any skin, pelt, or carcass of protected species, including bobcat and black bear, may not be sold, purchased, or possessed unless:

  1. It was legally acquired AND,
  2. In addition to any tag required by any other state or country, affixed with a separate tag bearing the following information:
    1. Date acquired.
    2. Name and address of the person from whom it was acquired.
    3. Hunting or trapping license number under which it was harvested (if applicable).
    4. State and/or country from which it was acquired. 
Legal Traps and Methods

Furbearing animals for which there is an open trapping season may be taken by Box Traps, Live Traps, Deadfalls, Padded and Unpadded Metal Traps, Smooth Wire Traps, and Species Specific Traps subject to the following restrictions.

Unpadded Metal Trap Restrictions

  1. May only be used below the surface of the water in a pond, lake, stream, spring hole, or tidal water.
  2. Opening greater than 5 3/4" is prohibited, except that traps with an opening of up to 7 1/2" may be set for beaver in waters frequented by beaver.

Padded Metal Trap Restrictions

  1. May only be used in the burrow of a wild animal or below the surface of the water in a pond, lake, stream, spring hole, or tidal water. Except that, any person who has completed a DEEP-approved coyote land trapping course (trapper must carry proof of course completion on their person) may use padded metal traps on or below ground from December 1 through January 31 for the taking of coyotes on private land parcels of at least 10 contiguous acres where the landowner has given written permission explicitly for the use of such traps. When trapping coyotes in this manner, no visible bait may be used, pan tension must be two pounds or greater, and traps must be securely anchored to the ground.
  2. Opening greater than 5 15/16" is prohibited, except that traps with an opening of up to 7 1/2" may be set for beaver in waters frequented by beaver.

Smooth Wire Trap Restrictions

  1. May only be used below the surface of the water in a pond, lake, stream, spring hole, or tidal water. Except, smooth wire traps having an opening of 4 3/4" or less may extend above the surface of the water provided a portion of the trap frame remains in contact with the water.
  2. Opening greater than 6 1/2" is prohibited, except that Conibears and similar smooth wire traps traps with an opening of up to 10" may be set for beaver in waters frequented by beaver.

The following are prohibited:

  • The use of any type of snare.
  • Traps placed, set, or tended within 10 feet of the waterline of a muskrat or beaver house.
  • Traps with serrations or teeth.

Trappers are required to:

  • Attach their name legibly to all traps.
  • Tend all traps within a 24-hour period. 
  • Obtain, and have in possession, the written permission of the landowner when trapping on their land. WRITTEN PERMISSION MUST BE RENEWED ANNUALLY.
  • Trappers have the option to use an official DEEP form to obtain written permission for trapping on private land.
Trap Definitions

Padded Metal Trap: A legal padded metal trap has all of the following features or characteristics:

  1. Spring strength not exceeding 55 inch pounds with arms closed and 85 inch pounds with arms in the open position;
  2. A gap between the arms of the trap in the closed position no less than 1/4 inch in width and no less than 4 inches in length;
  3. Replaceable non-weather hardening, non-age hardening padding material not less than 3/32 inch thick covering the closing surfaces and securely affixed to the arms of the trap;
  4. A chain no longer than 6 inches in length;
  5. Swivels located at each end of the chain, and;
  6. A shock absorbing spring incorporated into the anchoring chain.

Species Specific Trap: A legal species specific trap has all of the following features or characteristics:

  1. Triggering and restraining mechanisms enclosed by a housing;
  2. When set, triggering and restraining mechanism accessible only via a single opening;
  3. An access opening measuring not greater than 2 inches in diameter or diagonally;
  4. A triggering mechanism that can only be activated by a pulling force;
  5. A swivel-mounted anchoring mechanism.
Rabies: What Hunters and Trappers Should Know
  • Rabies is a disease caused by a virus affecting the central nervous system. Left untreated, rabies is almost always fatal.
  • Rabies is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, however, people may also be exposed by being scratched by a rabid animal or getting an animal's saliva in an open wound or mucous membrane (eyes, nose, or mouth).
  • Only mammals get rabies. Raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, dogs, and cats are most likely to get rabies. Rabbits, opossums, and squirrels are seldom affected.
  • Since 1991, rabies has infected thousands of raccoons in Connecticut.

Hunters and trappers can minimize their risk of exposure to rabies by following several common sense rules and by knowing what to do if they or their pets are exposed:

  1. Avoid contact with animals appearing sick or acting abnormal, i.e. aggressive, paralyzed, disoriented or unusually tame.
  2. Wear disposable rubber gloves when dressing and skinning game, and clean up with soap and water promptly.
  3. Make sure your dogs have current rabies vaccinations. If you have a cat as a household pet, be certain it is vaccinated as well.
  4. If you frequently handle high risk species, such as raccoons, skunks, or foxes, consider getting the human pre-exposure vaccine.
  5. If you are bitten or scratched or think that you have been exposed to rabies from a wild animal, wash the exposed area thoroughly with soap and water, and contact your doctor or emergency clinic immediately.
  6. If possible, without further injury or risk of exposure, capture, kill or confine the wild animal without damaging the head, and contact your local health department for additional information.
  7. If your pet fights with a wild animal, attempt to secure the animal for rabies testing. Always wear gloves when handling your pet or treating its wounds under such circumstances. Notify your Local Animal Control Officer and contact the pet's veterinarian for advice and/or treatment.
  8. Rabies virus is concentrated primarily in the saliva, brain, and spinal cord. Heat from thorough cooking will kill the rabies virus, making properly cooked meat from game animals safe. When preparing meat for cooking, wearing rubber gloves and cleaning up with soap and water is recommended.

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Content last updated in May 2021.