The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that the 2017-18 Western New York trapping season for fox, raccoon, coyote and other upland furbearing animals opens on Oct. 25 and closes on Feb. 15.
The start of upland trapping will be delayed until Nov. 1 at the John White Wildlife Management Area (WMA), and the trapping season for mink, muskrat and beaver at this WMA will run from Nov. 25 until Feb. 15.
The start of muskrat and mink trapping at the Oak Orchard and Tonawanda WMAs will run from Dec. 2 to Feb. 15.
Beginning Oct. 2, trapping permits will be issued for the Oak Orchard, Tonawanda, and John White WMAs for the 2017-2018 license year.
Permit applications can be obtained weekdays from Oct. 2 to Nov. 30, by appearing in person at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge Office on Casey Road between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., or by writing to the DEC, Bureau of Wildlife, 1101 Casey Road, Box B, Basom, NY 14013.
Trappers who obtain a permit will be required to report their harvest and trapping efforts on each area.
After last year’s extreme drought, water levels on these areas are back to normal conditions this year, but there are new areas of dense vegetation in several marshes. Wetland muskrat and mink trapping maybe limited to dike trapping in a number of marshes to allow the muskrat population to continue to recover from the drought, especially in marshes where increased muskrat numbers will benefit marsh habitat conditions. Full access for trapping will be permitted in the remaining marshes.
Additional information will be available by Oct. 2, and when trapping permits are issued.
The maximum number of traps a trapper can set for muskrat and mink in water on the three areas is 25. To accomplish this, DEC issues 25 numbered tags to each trapper that obtains a permit. A tag must be attached to each trap used on the areas. Any trap that does not have one of these tags attached is an illegal trap.
In addition, an individual trapper can only operate traps that contain tags with their assigned numbers. Traps set for upland trapping and beaver will not require numbered tags and will not be considered in the trap limit. The trap limit provides a more equitable distribution of the harvest and prevents trappers from monopolizing the better trapping areas.
Management of the muskrat population promotes prime emergent marsh habitats used by waterfowl and uncommon marsh birds such as the black tern and least bittern. The trap limit and possible additional trapping restrictions allow DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife personnel to better regulate the muskrat harvest according to water availability, habitat needs and population.
DEC reminds hunters and trappers that gas and electric motorboats are prohibited on Oak Orchard or Tonawanda WMAs.