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Iowa’s furbearer season begins Nov. 4

Photo courtesy of the Iowa DNR.

MASON CITY – The outlook for 2017 Iowa furbearer season is good as populations are stable to increasing statewide, the Iowa DNR says. The season opens Nov. 4.

Iowa’s furbearer season opens Nov. 4, and the outlook for 2017 is good as populations are stable to increasing statewide.

Vince Evelsizer, furbearer biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said that while prospects for a good season are there, the number of participants usually follows the fur market.

“When prices are good, we have higher participation. When the market is forecasted to be down, like it is again this year, so is participation. But that lack of competition provides an opportunity to introduce someone new to trapping or someone who’s been out of the sport for a while to come back,” he said.

The recent peak in trapping came in 2013 when nearly 21,000 Iowans purchased a furharvester license. In 2016, about 14,500 furharvester licenses were sold. Evelsizer expects participation in the 2017 season will be similar to 2016.

“This is another opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, enjoy trapping, even if the market isn’t great,” he said.

Furharvester population trends and market forecast

Muskrats – Population, particularly in northern Iowa, is doing well. Prices likely similar to 2016.

Raccoons – Population is strong, but market forecasts are low. Best opportunity is for large adults in prime condition – from Thanksgiving through December.

Coyotes – Population and price is steady. Coyote fur price has been buoyed by the international trim trade.

Beaver – Population is trending up slightly but varies by region.

Mink – Population is steady.

Bobcats – Population is expanding in western and eastern Iowa and increasing in numbers. Prices are similar to 2016.

Otters – Population is stable to slightly increasing. Prices are similar to 2016.

Regulations and Ethics

There are no new regulations for 2017. Furharvesters must have a valid furharvester license and habitat fee to hunt or trap all furbearers except coyotes and groundhogs. Coyotes and groundhogs may be hunted with a hunting or furharvester license.

Furharvesters are reminded to respect private property, property boundaries, and the 200 yard separation distance from occupied dwellings or driveways. Traps not submerged must be checked every 24 hours and all traps must be tagged with the trappers name and address.

Otters and bobcats

Furharvesters are required to contact a conservation officer within seven days of taking an otter or bobcat to receive a CITES tag which must remain with the animal until it is sold. They are also asked to turn in the lower jaw or skull of all otters and bobcats harvested to the Iowa DNR, which is used for a population and harvest monitoring.

Coyotes versus wolves

While there are no known wolves currently in Iowa, an occasional wolf will wander through. The Iowa DNR has information at showing how to distinguish coyotes from wolves.

“Wolves are state and federally protected. If it looks too big or something doesn’t look right, take a second or third look before pulling the trigger,” he said. “Be sure of the target before taking the shot.”

While wolves are protected, bears and mountain lions are not.

“We encourage anyone who comes across a bear or mountain lion to enjoy the incredible experience but leave them alone unless there is a safety threat,” Evelsizer said.

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I spear only the finest beaver…

After 12 buds you will be the one snagged. -And true animals are not human / but neither are the democraps. – but animals still feel pain and a lot of people would kick the crap out of you if you mistreated their dog.

Not necessarily.

I trapped some years ago – came upon one of my traps where animal was chewing its leg off to get out of the trap – released it -threw away my traps -end of story . Snare traps are inhuman and you have to be sick to use them or a hollywood weirdo – over populated by illegals not nature.

Animals aren’t human you silly goose. You probably are some weirdo Peta member who trolls anything to do with animals..

It’s not a good thing to be over populated by either.

I like those 2 legged beavers – bud and beaver ! – Life is good !

The good ones are hard to catch, but after about 12 Bud-wizers, you may be able top snag, something.

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