Photo by Marty DeLong
The term "furbearers" refers to the group of mammals that either historically or currently (or both) have commercially valuable fur. Sixteen furbearers live in New York. They range in size from the least weasel (about the size of a chipmunk) to the beaver, which may be as large as 70 pounds.
The following are some of the furbearers found in New York State:
- American marten
- Eastern coyote
- Gray fox
- Long-tailed weasel
- Red fox
- River otter
- Striped skunk
Some furbearers are commonly seen by many New Yorkers. For example, many people are familiar with the raccoon. Others are rarely seen because they occur in lower numbers, are secretive, and may be only active at night. Examples include the bobcat and pine marten. The term "furbearer" also spans across taxonomic lines. For instance, beaver and muskrat are both rodents; river otter and fisher are carnivores.
Hunting and Trapping Furbearers
Where population levels are large enough, the Department of Environmental Conservation has established hunting or trapping seasons (or both) for New York's furbearers. These seasons are strictly regulated, with specific times when hunting or trapping is allowed. The harvest of these species is carefully monitored to help understand population trends. Visit the Furbearer Trapping or Furbearer Hunting web page for regulations, management, seasons and license information.
Several of New York's furbearers causes significant problems for farmers, landowners, and homeowners: beaver flooding fields, raccoons eating corn, skunks digging lawns. The Department provides the public with assistance in controlling damage caused by these (and other) species. For more information on who to contact when having problems with wildlife, visit the Nuisance Species webpage.