Indiana Furbearer Trapping Laws and Regulations

Body Gripping Traps

When using a Conibear, Dahlgren, Bigelow, or any other body-gripping trap on land, it is crucial to adhere to specific size limitations. The widest inside jaw-spread, measured both horizontally at the trap's center (Figure 1) and vertically at the center (Figure 2), must not exceed:

  • 7.5 inches if square, or
  • 8 inches if round.

Moreover, during setting, a minimum of 50% of the trap's opening must be submerged in water to ensure ethical and effective trapping practices.

Indiana Furbearer Trapping Laws and Regulations


Snares offer a legal trapping method, but their use is restricted to land ownership or with explicit written consent from the landowner. When utilizing snares, it is imperative to adhere to specific regulations:

  • The maximum legal circumference for snare loops is 15 inches.

    (Exception: If at least half of the snare loop is submerged in water or if the snare incorporates a relaxing snare lock, which mitigates the risk of strangulation.)

These regulations are implemented to minimize the unintentional capture of domestic animals, emphasizing responsible and ethical trapping practices.

Box Traps

Box traps serve as a permissible means for capturing furbearers, whether on land or submerged underwater. This method aligns with established regulations, allowing for effective and humane trapping practices.

Note: The use of box traps is a recognized and lawful approach in capturing furbearers, emphasizing ethical and responsible trapping.

Foothold Traps

It is illegal to use a foothold trap with saw-toothed or spiked jaws. It is illegal to take a wild animal with a foothold trap if the widest inside jaw-spread measured perpendicular to the trap’s base plate and the inside width between the trap’s hinge posts (both measurements) is greater than 5¾ inches and less than or equal to 6½ inches, unless the jaws of the trap have at least a 1⁄8-inch offset, the gap of the offset is filled with securely attached rubber pads, or the trap is completely covered by water.

Securely attached rubber pads are those attached with bolts or rivets. The trap’s hinge posts must be maintained at a 90-degree angle to the trap’s base plate. It is illegal to take a wild animal with a foothold trap on land if the widest inside jaw-spread measured perpendicular to the trap’s base plate and the inside width between the trap’s hinge posts is greater than 6½ inches.

It is illegal to set or place a stake, chain, drag, or another portion of a trap that is designed to take a wild animal, except during a season established for trapping that wild animal.

Measuring Your Foothold Trap

  1. Jaw Spread Measurement (Perpendicular to Base Plate):

    • Measure the widest inside jaw spread as illustrated in Figure 3.
    • Circle the measurement in Column 1.
  2. Width Between Hinge Posts (Figure 4):

    • Measure the inside width between the trap’s hinge posts.
    • Circle the measurement in Column 2.

Trap Jaw Offset Requirements:

  • If both measurements fall in Box 1, standard jaws are permitted (offset jaws are not required).
  • If either measurement falls in Box 2, trap jaws must have at least a 1⁄8 inch offset, or the gap can be filled with securely attached rubber pads.
    • "Securely attached" means using bolts or rivets, not tape.
  • If either measurement falls in Box 3, the trap must be completely submerged in water.

Note: Compliance with these measurements ensures adherence to trapping regulations, promoting ethical and responsible trapping practices.

Trap Jaw Measurements Reference

1 5" or less 5" or less
5¼" 5¼"
5½" 5½"
5¾" 5¾"
2 > 5¾"* > 5¾"
6" 6"
6¼" 6¼"
6½" 6½"
3 > 6½" > 6½"
6¾" 6¾"
7" 7"
7¼" or more 7¼" or more

*Note: The symbol ">" means "greater than" (i.e., “> 5¾” means “greater than 5¾”).

River Otter Trapping Regulations

Trapping License Requirement

A valid Indiana trapping license is mandatory to set traps for river otters. Trappers must be at least 10 years old, unless they have completed a state-certified trapper education course.

Bag Limit and Reporting

  • The bag limit is two otters per trapper per season.
  • Trappers catching river otters must report the harvest to the DNR CheckIN Game system within 24 hours via or by calling 800-419-1326.
  • A CheckIN Game confirmation number must be retained until physical registration.

Season Quota and Closure

  • There is a statewide quota of 750 river otters for the 2023-2024 season.
  • The season may close early if the quota is reached before March 15, 2024.
  • Trappers are responsible for staying informed about the quota status.

Exceptions and Reporting After Closure

  • Individuals trapping within 48 hours after season closure, without reaching the bag limit, may be considered for an exception.
  • Reporting within 48 hours is required for otters taken after the statewide quota or bag limit is met.

Seasonal and County Restrictions

  • Otters trapped outside the season or in closed counties must be turned in to the DNR.
  • For assistance, contact local authorities: District Wildlife Biologist, Conservation Officer, or call 812-837-9536.

Carcass and Pelt Registration

  • The skinned carcass and separated pelt must be taken to a designated DNR employee or registration station within 15 days after the harvest month.
  • River otter pelts will be sealed with a CITES tag.

CITES Tag Explanation

CITES stands for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. River otters are in CITES Appendix II, signifying a "look-alike" species to other endangered otter species globally.

Note: Complying with these regulations ensures responsible trapping practices and contributes to wildlife conservation efforts.

Trapping Regulations for Furbearing Game Animals

Covered Furbearing Species

Furbearing game animals in Indiana, including beaver, coyote, gray fox, red fox, long-tailed weasel, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, river otter, and striped skunk, are subject to trapping regulations.

License Requirement

A valid Indiana trapping license is essential for setting traps.

Trap Checking Frequency

  • Traps must be checked and animals removed at least once every 24 hours.
  • Exception: Traps designed for submerging, crushing, or asphyxiating animals must be checked at least once every 48 hours. Checking within 24 hours is recommended by the DNR.

Trap Placement

  • Traps may be set at any distance from openings to tile drains or entrances to beaver or muskrat lodges.
  • Tree-climbing equipment cannot be used to aid in removing wild animals from trees.
  • Motor-driven watercraft are permitted for setting or checking trap lines.

Bag and Possession Limits

  • No daily bag or possession limits, except for river otters.

Handling of Trapped Furbearers

  • Trapped furbearers (except raccoons, foxes, and coyotes retained alive) must be released into the wild in the county of capture within 24 hours or euthanized immediately upon removal from the trap or during transportation from the trap site.

Note: Adhering to these regulations promotes responsible trapping practices and contributes to wildlife conservation efforts.

Trapper Education Programs


The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) provides trapper education courses to equip individuals with essential knowledge about trapping furbearers responsibly. These courses cover fundamental trapping methods, proper handling of caught animals, and the ethical responsibilities of trappers.

Course Details

  • Content: Basic trapping techniques, catch handling, and trapper responsibilities.
  • Availability: Courses are regularly conducted to facilitate widespread access.
  • Location: Classes are held in various locations across Indiana.

How to Find Classes

To discover trapper education classes in your area, visit This resource offers comprehensive information on available programs, allowing interested individuals to register and participate in trapper education.

Note: Completion of trapper education courses not only enhances individual trapping skills but also fosters a culture of responsible and ethical trapping practices.

Trapping Seasons for Furbearers

Red & Gray Fox

  • Season: Oct. 15 - Jan. 31

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


  • Season: Nov. 15 - March 15

River Otter (in designated counties)

  • Season: Nov. 15 - March 15 (or until quota is met)

Note: Trappers are advised to adhere to specific trapping seasons for each furbearer, contributing to responsible and sustainable trapping practices.

Indiana Furbearer Trapping Laws and Regulations

Wild Advisor Pro


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.