Ohio Otter Trapping Season: Population Growth
Otter populations have been on a steady incline in the state of Ohio over the past several years. Because of this, new counties are opening up a single bag limit season, while the extreme eastern counties have a bag limit of three for the 2012-2013 trapping season. This trend of growth looks to continue, and Ohio trappers are benefiting from this new target species. It was only back in 2005 that Ohio introduced a very limited otter trapping season in Ohio, and the seasons are becoming less and less limited every year. All of this stemmed from a reintroduction of a decimated otter population by state of Ohio in 1986, and the success of their efforts is evident by the excitement of Ohio trappers.
ODNR 2012 UPDATE
This native furbearer continues to increase in many of Ohio’s rivers, streams and lakes, where their distribution includes at least 67 counties encompassing 69 watersheds. Increases in otter numbers are likely the result of improved aquatic habitats, an expanding beaver population, and similar restoration efforts in neighboring states. Current population estimates suggest that river otters may number more than 8,000 individuals in Ohio. Continued population growth will provide additional opportunities for viewing river otters, especially in eastern Ohio. A highly regulated and limited trapping program in eastern Ohio, where river otters are most abundant, will continue to provide opportunities for trappers to harvest this species during 2012-2013. Research and development of Best Management Practices has identified traps and trapping systems that allow for the safe, selective, and efficient capture of skunks, while maintaining high animal welfare standards.