Courtesy of WNEP. Originally posted at: http://wnep.com/2015/04/12/river-otter-trapping-season-update/
The Pennsylvania Game Commission will be sending out surveys to select trappers that can be answered online. The PTA strongly encourages these trappers to promptly take the survey online when and if they get a letter in the mail.
OTTER TRAPPING SEASON APPROVED
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to a limited otter trapping season that allows for a conservative harvest of otters for the first time in Pennsylvania in more than a half-century.
With the vote, otters can be harvested by licensed furtakers who also obtain a separate otter permit.
The otter season is three days long – from Feb. 21, 2016 to Feb. 23, 2016 – with an option for the Game Commission to extend the season by an additional five days. Those with a valid permit are able to harvest, by trapping only, one otter during the season. The season will be open only in WMUs 3C and 3D, in the northeastern part of the state.
Otter trapping regulations largely follow those for beavers. It is unlawful to place, or make use of, materials or products except raw native wood or stone to direct the travel of otters. Manmade materials may be used only to support traps or snares.
It also is unlawful to check, set, reset or otherwise maintain otter traps or snares, or remove otters from a traps or snares, unless the person is identified by the attached name tag as the owner.
Tagging requirements for those harvesting otters are identical to the requirements for tagging bobcats and fishers. Before removing an otter from the location where it was caught, the trapper must fully complete and attach to the animal a tag furnished with the permit. The tag would need to remain attached until a Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) tag is attached, if applicable, or the animal is mounted, tanned, made into a commercial fur or prepared for consumption.
Those harvesting otters would be required to report harvests within 24 hours, which is less time compared to the 48 hours allotted to those harvesting fishers and bobcats.
The creation of an otter season also would have an impact on beaver trappers within the WMUs where an otter season is open.
Within any WMU with an open otter trapping season, beaver trappers are able to use no more than five traps or snares, and no more than two traps can be body-gripping traps. This limitation is applicable during periods when the open beaver trapping season overlaps by calendar date with the open otter trapping season, and it extends for five additional, consecutive days after the close of the otter season.
Ordinarily, beaver trappers are limited to 10 traps, two of which may be body-gripping.
There has been no season for harvest of river otters in Pennsylvania since 1952. But most other states that now have sustainable otter populations have implemented a season. In fact, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are the only eastern states without a season for river-otter harvest, and Indiana is in the process of starting a regulated otter harvest.
In Pennsylvania, river otters continue to thrive and are among the many great success stories in wildlife conservation.
It is estimated that as much as 75 percent of America’s otter population had been lost by the start of the 20th century, due to factors including habitat destruction, water pollution and unregulated harvest.
Otters never were completely extirpated in Pennsylvania, though their numbers were reduced vastly. The Pocono region, particularly the counties of Wayne, Pike and Monroe, continued to sustain otters.
With a cleaner environment and otter populations restored through reintroduction programs and natural dispersal, otter populations are increasing across their range in Pennsylvania.
Today, they are present in almost every county and, in a lot of areas, they’re becoming as common as beavers.
An otter permit will cost $6.70.
LAWFUL CABLE-RESTRAINT LOCKS DEFINED
Six lock designs are approved locks.
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to a measure that clarifies the types of locks that can be used as part of cable restraints.
Six locks have been identified as “approved locks.” They are: the Reichart 180-degree Reverse Bend Washer; the Kaatz “Relax-a-Lock”; the Penny Lock; the MicroLock; the BMI Slide Free Lock; and the Berkshire 90-degree bend washer.
The previous regulation regarding lawful cable restraints required that a “relaxing lock” be used.
The commissioners said the term “relaxing lock” caused confusion for trappers and enforcement personnel due to varying interpretations of lock designs that comply with the regulation.
The revised regulation allows all lock designs approved by the Game Commission’s executive director. Game Commission staff said all six “approved locks” have performed at acceptable levels in terms of efficiency, selectivity, and animal welfare criteria, based on findings of the national trap-testing program administered by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
Just a quick notice to our members that the host hotel for the state Rendezvous is filling up very quickly! If you don’t have you reservations made yet, you’d better get it soon!
Governor Bullock has optioned to take no action on HB 212 which enables the bill to become law which now guarantees protections for our historical and rural traditions!
The MTA is grateful to all hunters, trappers, anglers, ranchers, property owners and their organizations who participated in this process. Due to the efforts of so many dedicated Montanans, we were able overcome the attempts by the antis to derail this important piece of legislation.
Photos from the PA Trappers booth at the National Archery in the Schools Program held at Penn State on March 13, 2015.