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Indiana River Otter Trapping

The 2020-2021 river otter trapping season closed on January 25, 2021 because the statewide quota of 600 river otters has been met. Otters can no longer be legally harvested at this time.

If you have incidentally trapped a river otter, please contact the Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement hotline at 812-837-9536 to make arrangements to turn over the river otter carcass. There is no penalty for the accidental trapping of an otter out of season. An exception may be given for an individual who traps a river otter within 48 hours of the close of the season and has not yet reached their bag limit, which is two river otters per license holder.

River Otter Trapping Season

The river otter trapping season is from Nov. 15 through March 15, or until the quota is met. The seasonal bag limit is two otters per person. There is a maximum of 600 otters for the season. If the 600 quota is reached before March 15, the season will close early. A valid Indiana trapping license is required to set traps for river otters.

Federal law requires each otter pelt to be tagged before it is sold. 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 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.

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