SOUTH CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s trapping seasons will open Nov. 1. Trappers harvesting beaver, bobcat, fisher and otter must present the whole animal or pelt to a game checking station or West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) representative within 30 days after the close of the respective season. A tag provided by the checking station shall be attached to the whole animal or pelt until it has been sold, tanned or mounted. After April 1, 2015, beaver trappers may check beaver using DNR’s new electronic checking system.
Game checking information provided by hunters and trappers is used to monitor harvests and assist in future management of these species in West Virginia. Decisions regarding season length, opening and closing dates, and bag limits rely upon accurate data obtained from these tags.
The state’s fourth otter trapping season will soon be underway. Trappers are once again being asked to deliver skinned carcasses to a DNR district office or to contact a DNR district office to make arrangements to have the carcasses picked up. Biological samples collected will assist biologists in making decisions regarding future otter trapping seasons.
The DNR advises trappers to obtain a CITES (the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) seal for each bobcat and otter pelt harvested in West Virginia. The plastic seal is necessary only if the pelts will be shipped out of the state. Federal law requires the seal to be attached to all bobcat and otter pelts if they will eventually be shipped to international markets such as those in Canada. The seals must be obtained from the state where the animals were harvested.
Bobcats and river otters are not endangered species but may be confused with similar- looking species that may be found on the international market. These seals may be obtained from the Elkins Operations Center and any DNR District Office. Calling ahead is advised to ensure that personnel authorized to seal pelts will be available.