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Indiana Furbearer Hunting Laws and Regulations

Furbearer Hunting

To engage in the hunting of beaver, coyote, gray fox, long-tailed weasel, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, red fox, and striped skunk, a valid hunting license is essential, with season dates outlined in the provided chart.

While pursuing furbearing animals between sunset and sunrise, it is mandatory to carry a continuously burning light visible for at least 500 feet. Certain actions are strictly prohibited, including:

  1. Removing wild animals from any cavity or den.
  2. Disturbing the den or nest of any animal through shooting, digging, cutting, or chipping, employing methods such as smoke, fire, fumes, chemicals, ferret, or other small animals, or using any device introduced into the sheltered hole.
  3. Using or carrying tree-climbing or cutting equipment with the intent of dislodging an animal from a tree.
  4. Hunting furbearers from a boat.

These regulations aim to ensure ethical and responsible practices in furbearer hunting, promoting conservation and sustainable wildlife management.

Dog Running Season

The dog running season for raccoon and opossum spans from Feb. 1 through Oct. 25. To engage in the pursuit of wild animals with dogs during this period, individuals must possess a valid Indiana hunting license. License exemptions are detailed in the License Information section.

During established hunting seasons, it is permissible to hunt and chase foxes (Oct. 15 - Feb. 28), raccoons (Nov. 8 - Jan. 31), and coyotes (Oct. 15 - March 15) with dogs. Exemptions exist for youths below 13 years old who lack a bow, crossbow, or firearm but are accompanied by a valid license-holding individual aged at least 18 years old. No hunting license is required for them during the dog running season. Specific restrictions apply on DNR-managed properties.

Chasing foxes and coyotes with dogs is allowed year-round, provided individuals possess a hunting license and have the landowner's permission. These regulations aim to ensure responsible dog running practices while respecting wildlife and property rights.

Fox & Coyote Hunting

Hunting fox and coyote is permitted using mouth or hand-operated calls, as well as recorded calls. The use of spotlights is allowed for taking fox and coyote, and there are no restrictions on hunting hours or firearms for this purpose. However, it is strictly prohibited to hunt fox or coyote from a roadway or with the assistance of any motor-driven conveyance. These regulations aim to ensure fair and ethical hunting practices while maintaining safety and wildlife conservation.

Protected Species

Badgers and bobcats are designated as protected species in Indiana, and it is strictly prohibited to capture or hunt these furbearers. In the event of accidentally trapping a badger or bobcat, it is mandatory to report the incident to an Indiana Conservation Officer (DNR Law Enforcement). Reporting accidental captures incurs no penalty, and if the animal is deceased, the carcass must be surrendered to an Indiana Conservation Officer. The collaboration of hunters and trappers in reporting such incidents plays a vital role in assessing the status and distribution of these species within Indiana.

For further information on protected wildlife, contact the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife at 317-232-4200 (toll-free 877-463-6367), or visit wildlife.IN.gov.

Wildlife Conflicts

Resident landowners or tenants have the authority to employ legal methods, without the need for a permit, to address issues posed by beavers, minks, muskrats, long-tailed weasels, red foxes, gray foxes, opossums, skunks, gray squirrels, fox squirrels, or raccoons on their property when these animals are causing damage or presenting health or safety threats.

If an animal is captured and subsequently released, it must be set free in the county of capture with the explicit permission of the receiving landowner.

Groundhogs (woodchucks), moles, voles, red squirrels, and chipmunks can be taken at any time using any equipment without the need for a permit.

Landowners hold the right to take coyotes on their property at any time without a special permit or license. Alternatively, they may grant written permission for others to address coyote-related concerns on their land. However, outside the hunting and trapping season, if a landowner or someone with written permission captures a coyote, it cannot be kept alive for more than 24 hours, and selling, trading, bartering, or gifting the live coyote is strictly prohibited.

For assistance with wildlife conflicts, reach out to your District Wildlife Biologist.

Possession of Hides & Carcasses

There exists no deadline for the possession of lawfully obtained untanned hides or unprocessed carcasses of furbearers taken within the designated season.

The sale of legally harvested furbearing mammals or untanned hides of such mammals is permissible exclusively to licensed fur buyers.

Visit wildlife.IN.gov to access a roster of licensed fur buyers in Indiana, or contact the Division of Fish & Wildlife at 317-232-4200 or 877-463-6367 (toll-free).

Possession of Live Furbearers

Retention and Confinement Criteria

Only raccoons, red foxes, gray foxes, and coyotes can be retained alive during the trapping season for that species.

Raccoons, foxes, or coyotes that are removed from a trap and kept alive must be confined in a cage or other enclosure that:

  • (a) Makes escape unlikely and prevents the entrance of a free-roaming mammal of the same species.
  • (b) Is structurally sound.
  • (c) Is of sufficient strength for the species involved.
  • (d) Is maintained in good repair and securely fastened to prevent escape or injury to the mammal.
  • (e) Is constructed to allow sufficient space for individual posture, free movement, and normal social interactions.
  • (f) Is secured with protective devices at entrances and exits to prevent escapes when unattended.
  • (g) Has ambient ventilation for the health of the mammal, minimizing drafts, odors, and condensation.

Housing Guidelines

Night quarters, transportation cages, and nesting boxes may not serve as primary housing. Surface water must be adequately drained, and the enclosure should provide shelter from the elements and sufficient shade.

Health and Hygiene Standards

  • Remove and dispose of food wastes, feces, urine, and bedding promptly.
  • Dispose of trash, garbage, debris, and carcasses as soon as observed.
  • Provide fresh, clean drinking water and uncontaminated, appropriate food daily.

Inspection Requirements

Furbearers possessed alive and their enclosures must be available for inspection by an Indiana Conservation Officer upon request.

    Furbearer Hunting Seasons

    Red & Gray Fox

    • Season: Oct. 15 - Feb. 28

    Coyote & Striped Skunk

    • Season: Oct. 15 - March 15

    Raccoon & Opossum

    • Season: Nov. 8 - Jan. 31

    Mink, Muskrat, Long-tailed Weasel

    • Season: Nov. 15 - Jan. 31

    Beaver

    • Season: Nov. 15 - March 15

    Dog Running (Chasing season only - no hunting)

    • Season: Feb. 1 - Oct. 25

     

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    Disclaimer:

    The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.