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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Fish & Wildlife > Hunting & Trapping > Indiana River Otter Trapping Indiana River Otter Trapping

River Otter Trapping Season

The 2015-2016 river otter trapping season is from 8 a.m. Nov. 15 until noon March 15, 2016. The bag limit is two otters per trapper per season. There is a maximum of 600 otters for the season. If the 600 quota is reached prior to March 15, 2016, the season will close. A valid Indiana trapping license is required to set traps for river otters.

Please see current season status below.

The 2015-16 River Otter Trapping Season is now closed.

If you have trapped an otter within 24 hours of the season closing and you have not reached your bag limit, you must register the otter, check-in the skinned carcass before April 15 and obtain a CITES tag from the DNR.

If you have trapped an otter within 24 hours of the season closing and have reached your bag limit, please contact the DNR at 812-837-9536 immediately and turn in the carcass to the DNR; do not register the otter or check it in.

If you trap a river otter more than 24 hours after the season closes please call your local Conservation Officer at (812) 837-9536 to make arrangements to obtain an accidental permit or turn it in. If it’s alive, just release it at the location where it was captured as soon as you know an otter is caught in the trap. Do not register the otter or check it in.

2015-16 will mark the first regulated trapping season for river otters in Indiana. This success story was made possible by restoration efforts in Indiana and other states in the lower Midwest. Federal laws require each otter pelt to be tagged before it is sold, which will be new to most Indiana trappers.

A two-step registration system has been set up to collect harvest information, tag river otters, and gather biological data (see below).

Mandatory River Otter Registration

Step 1: Successful trappers must register their otter within 24 hours using CheckIN Game.

Step 2: Successful trappers also must skin the otter and separate the pelt from the carcass before registering the pelt with a designated Indiana DNR employee or official Indiana DNR river otter check station. You must present the skinned river otter carcass, including the head, and pelt, for physical registration and CITES tagging within 15 days after the month of harvest.

For physical registration of river otter, successful trappers should attempt to take their otter to an authorized check station. The current list can be found here. 

Where not convenient or practical, a trapper may contact the Division of Law Enforcement Central Dispatch at (812) 837-9536 to request a time to meet with a Conservation Officer. Trappers will be asked and expected to provide the county in which they would like to meet an officer. An appointment will be made with an officer, but may not be the same day the appointment was requested. When selecting this option for physical registration, please plan accordingly to ensure all otter pelts are tagged within 15 days after the month of harvest.   

Additional River Otter Trapping Information