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Section 6.3: General Trapping Regulations

Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law, §§ 3-0301, 11-0303, 11-0907, 11-0917, 11-1101, 11-1103, and 11-1105

[Last amended September 8, 2010]

Contents:

Sec.

§6.3 General regulations for trapping beaver, otter, mink, muskrat, raccoon, opossum, weasel, red fox, gray fox, skunk, coyote, fisher, bobcat and pine marten.

(a) Trapping regulations
(b) Pine marten permit
(c) Tagging and sealing requirements
(d) To legally possess or transport an unskinned carcass or unprocessed pelt of a beaver, otter, coyote, bobcat, fisher or pine marten taken outside
(e) Possession of dead animals or their parts
(f) Possession of live animals.
(g) Prohibitions
(h) General provisions
(i) Definitions

(a) Trapping regulations.

(1) No person shall claim with a stake, or set, stake or place any trap or deadfall prior to 7 a.m. on the first day of the season. Thereafter during the open season, deadfalls and legal traps may be set, staked or placed at any time, day or night.

(2) No person shall use traps of the leg - gripping type that have teeth in the jaws or that have a spread of jaws greater than 5 3/4 inches except that traps up to 7 1/4 inches may be used under water during the open season for trapping beaver or otter. No person shall set or use a body - gripping type trap with a dimension of more than 7 1/2 inches except when used in water during the open season for trapping beaver and otter. No person shall set a trap in such a manner that the animal, when caught, would be suspended.

(3) No person shall fail to identify his/her traps set or placed for taking beaver, otter, mink, muskrat, raccoon, red fox, gray fox, skunk, coyote, bobcat, fisher, pine marten, opossum or weasel with a tag bearing his/her name and residence address which shall be legible at all times.

(4) Trap check.

(i) Traps set for taking wildlife in the Southern Zone, as defined in Environmental Conservation Law section 11-0103, must be visited once in each 24 hours.

(ii) Traps set for taking wildlife in the Northern Zone, as defined in Environmental Conservation Law section 11-0103, must be visited as follows:

Trap check interval Wildlife management units
Visited once in each 48 hour period 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6F, 6J and 6N
Visited once in each 48 hour period 5A, 6A, 6C, 6G, 6H and 6K for traps set in water during the open season for beaver, otter, mink and muskrat.
Visited once in each 48 hour period 5A, 6A, 6C, 6G, 6H and 6K for body-gripping traps set on land.
Visited once in each 24 hour period 5A, 6A, 6C, 6G, 6H and 6K for restraining traps as defined in subdivision (i) of section 6.3 of this part.

(5) No person shall place a trap in a permanent body of water such as a river, stream, pond, lake, swamp or marsh, or below the high - tide mark if tidal waters are involved, except during open seasons for mink, muskrat, otter or beaver.

(6) No person shall trap beaver or otter with traps of the leg - gripping type that have teeth in the jaws or that are set under water and have a spread of jaws greater than 7 1/4 inches. No person shall set or use on land a body - gripping type trap with a dimension of more than 7 1/2 inches for trapping beaver or otter. No person shall set a trap for beaver or otter in such a manner that the animal when caught would be suspended.

(7) It is unlawful for any person to disturb a beaver den or house (an aggregate of sticks and mud, either free-standing in water or connected to a bank) at any time. This restriction does not apply to holes in a bank without a den or house. It is unlawful for any person to trap on a beaver dam or within 15 feet thereof, measured at ice or water level, except under the following conditions:

(i) During an open otter season.

(ii) During a closed otter season when using one of the following traps:

("a") body-gripping trap that measures less than 5.5 inches;

("b") foot encapsulating trap, as defined in subdivision (i) of section 6.3 of this part;

("c") leg-gripping trap (or "foothold trap") that measures 4.75 inches or less;

("d") cage or box trap, as defined in subdivision (i) of section 6.3 of this part;

(8) No person shall trap beaver or otter on any State wildlife refuge.

(9) No person shall take, possess or remove from any trap any trapped wildlife or willfully disturb, destroy, take or possess any trap without the permission of the owner of such trap.

(10) No person shall disturb a muskrat house, den or other structure constructed by a muskrat in which it can take shelter.

(11) No person shall place a trap within five feet of a muskrat house, to be ascertained at the water (ice) level.

(12) Trigger specifications for body gripping traps in the Southern Zone. In the Southern Zone, no person shall use or set a body gripping trap with a dimension of more than nine inches in any wildlife management unit where the river otter trapping season is closed, unless the trap has only one triggering device and such device is a "two-way/parallel trigger" possessing all of the following design features:

(i) the sides of the trigger notch are perpendicular to the side of the frame to which the trigger is attached;

(ii) the trigger only moves along an axis at right angles to the side of the frame to which the trigger is attached;

(iii) the trigger wires are joined together to form a fixed set of closely parallel or twisted wires operating as a single vertical trigger assembly;

(iv) the trigger assembly is no longer than 6½ inches, measured from the inside edge of the frame of the trap where the trigger is attached to the end of the trigger wires; and

(v) the distance between the inside edge of one side of the trap and the nearest trigger wire shall be no less than eight inches.

(13) Measurement of traps.

(i) Body-gripping traps shall be measured in accordance with paragraph 11-1101(6)(b) of the Environmental Conservation Law. The measurement is the maximum distance between pairs of contacting body gripping surfaces, measured from the inside of the gripping surface. The method of measurement is illustrated in the diagrams shown in this subparagraph. In each case, the arrows indicate the dimension that is to be measured for the depicted type of trap. The addition of one or more bars to the inside of the frame of a body-gripping trap does not alter the dimension to be measured.

(a)

Body-gripping trap showing method of measurement
Figure 1. Body-gripping trap showing method of measurement.

(b)

Body-gripping trap showing method of measurement.
Figure 2. Body-gripping trap showing method of measurement.

(c)

Body-gripping trap showing method of measurement.
Figure 3. Body-gripping trap showing method of measurement.

(ii) Leg-gripping traps (or "foothold traps") shall be measured in accordance with subdivision 11-1101(6) of the Environmental Conservation Law. The method of measurement is illustrated in the diagrams shown in this subparagraph. In each case, the arrows indicate the dimension that is to be measured for the depicted type of trap.

(a)

Foothold trap showing method of measurement.
Figure 4. Foothold trap showing method of measurement.

(b)

Foothold trap showing method of measurement.
Figure 5. Foothold trap showing method of measurement.

(14) Setting of body-gripping traps on public lands near trails.

(i) For purposes of this section, a "trail" means a designated, marked, and maintained path or way designed for non-motorized recreational use.

(ii) Body-gripping traps shall not be set on lands to which the public has lawful access within one-hundred feet of a trail. This prohibition shall not apply to: body-gripping traps set in water on such lands; or body-gripping traps set on Department of Environmental Conservation Wildlife Management Areas.

(15) Setting of baited body-gripping traps on land.

No person shall set on land a body-gripping trap that measures five and one-half inches or larger if the trap is baited with baits, lures, or other attractants unless the trap is set in compliance with one of the following options:

(i) Set option 1: The trap shall be placed a minimum of four (4) feet above the ground level; or

(ii) Set option 2: The trap complies with all of the following design features and set requirements:

(a) The trap shall be placed within an enclosure constructed of wood, metal, wire, plastic, or natural materials; and

(b) No entrance of the enclosure shall measure more than six (6) inches vertically; and

(c) The enclosure shall be equipped with slots in which the trap springs rest. The slots shall be a minimum of eight (8) inches in length; and

(d) The trap shall be recessed in the slots so that no part of the trap is less than four (4) inches from the opening of the enclosure.

(iii) Set option 3: The trap complies with all of the following design features and set requirements:

(a) The trap shall be placed within an enclosure constructed of natural materials; and

(b) No entrance of the enclosure shall measure more than six (6) inches vertically; and

(c) The trap shall be recessed so that no part of the trap is less than eight (8) inches from the entrance of the enclosure; or

(iv) Set option 4: The trap complies with all of the following design features and set requirements:

(a) The trap shall be placed within an enclosure constructed of wood, metal, wire, plastic, or natural materials; and

(b) No entrance of the enclosure shall measure more than ten (10) inches vertically or horizontally; and

(c) The trap shall be recessed so that no part of the trap is less than eighteen (18) inches from the entrance of the enclosure; or

(v) Set option 5: The trap complies with all of the following design features and set requirements:

(a) The trap shall be placed within an enclosure constructed of wood, metal, wire, plastic, or natural materials; and

(b) The enclosure shall have no more than one entrance; and

(c) The enclosure shall be securely fastened in a vertical position to a tree or post; and

(d) The enclosure shall be positioned so that the entrance of the enclosure faces the ground and is no more than six (6) inches above the ground; and

(e) The trap shall be recessed so that no part of the trap is less than four (4) inches from the entrance of the enclosure.

(16) Setting of unbaited body-gripping traps on land. The following restrictions shall apply to any body-gripping trap set on land without the use of baits, lures, or other attractants:

(i) No person shall set on land a body-gripping trap that measures more than six (6) inches.

(ii) No person shall set on land a body-gripping trap that measures 5½ to six inches unless it is set so that no part of the body-gripping surface of the trap is eight inches or more above the ground.

(17) "Use of carcasses." Any carcass, as defined in subdivision (i) of section 6.3 of this part, used as bait and placed or used in conjunction with a leg-gripping trap ("foothold trap") shall be completely covered at the time the trap is set or visited. Coverings shall include but not be limited to brush; branches; leaves; soil; snow; water; or enclosures constructed of wood, metal, wire, plastic or natural materials; and must completely cover the carcass so that it is not visible from directly above.

(b) Pine marten permit.

(1) No person shall trap pine marten unless he or she possesses a revocable pine marten permit.

(2) An application for a pine marten permit may be obtained from the department's Ray Brook or Warrensburg offices, or from the department's web site.

(3) The holder of a pine marten permit must comply with all conditions stated on that permit.

(4) Only furbearer possession tags stamped with the word "marten" may be used to tag pine marten in accordance with the procedure provided for in subdivision (c) of this section.

(c) Tagging and sealing requirements for otter, bobcat, fisher and pine marten taken in New York State.

(1) Persons intending to take the species listed in this subdivision in the State must first obtain a supply of furbearer possession tags from the department.

(2) To legally possess until sealing, as required by paragraph (3) of this subdivision, the unprocessed pelt or unskinned carcass of a species listed in this subdivision legally taken in the State, the taker must:

(i) complete an entire furbearer possession tag immediately upon reaching the licensed vehicle used by the taker for highway travel, or immediately upon reaching the camp or home used by the taker, whichever comes first after the animal is taken; and

(ii) keep the above - mentioned tag with the pelt (or unskinned carcass) at all times until the pelt (or unskinned carcass) is sealed.

(3) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subdivision, no one except the taker may possess an unsealed, unprocessed pelt or unskinned carcass of a otter, bobcat, fisher or pine marten taken in New York State unless is accompanied by a completed furbearer possession tag in accordance with paragraph (2) of this subdivision.

(4) For continued legal possession, the taker or the taker's agent must present the pelt or unskinned carcass with a properly completed furbearer possession tag and the taker's license under which the furbearer was taken, or a copy (front and back) of the taker's license under which the furbearer was taken, to an authorized department sealer for sealing prior to any of the following four conditions:

(i) the end of the 10th day after the close of the season for the species involved in the Wildlife Management Unit where it was taken; or

(ii) the pelt or unskinned carcass is exported from New York State; or

(iii) the pelt or unskinned carcass is sold or leaves the taker's possession for any purpose, such as for mounting, processing, barter, sale or for permanent transfer of possession as a gift, except that the taker may temporarily transfer possession of those pelts or unskinned carcasses to a person, acting as the taker's agent for the purpose of skinning or taking them for sealing, provided that the taker's license under which the furbearer was taken, or a copy (front and back) of the taker's license under which a furbearer was taken, accompanies the pelts or unskinned carcasses and the pelts or unskinned carcasses also are accompanied by their furbearer possession tags as provided in paragraph (2) of this subdivision; or

(iv) the pelt is mounted, processed treated so that the pelt is rendered soft and pliable), or prepared for use as an article of clothing or as an article for display.

(5) The department seal must remain attached to the pelt (or unskinned carcass) until it is processed or prepared for use as an article of clothing or as an article for display.

(6) No one may buy and no one except the taker may possess an unprocessed pelt or unskinned carcass of an otter, bobcat, fisher or pine marten taken in New York unless it has an appropriate, intact and closed New York State pelt seal attached to it in accordance with paragraph (4) of this subdivision, except that a person, acting as an agent for the taker, may temporarily possess the taker's pelts or unskinned carcasses for the purpose of skinning or taking them for sealing, provided that the taker's license under which the furbearer was taken, or a copy (front and back) of the taker's license under which a furbearer was taken, accompanies the pelts or unskinned carcasses and the pelts or unskinned carcasses also are accompanied by their furbearer possession tags as provided in paragraph (2) of this subdivision.

(7) To have a pine marten sealed by the department, the taker must give an authorized department sealer the entire skinned carcass of the animal to be sealed.

(8) The taker of a pine marten who wishes to obtain written temporary exemption from requirements for submission of the skinned carcass, so that a taxidermist can skin the animal, must at the time of sealing:

(i) name in writing the taxidermist who will skin the animal; and (ii) (a) agree in writing to deliver, before the end of the eighth day after sealing, the unskinned pine marten and a copy of the written temporary exemption to the named taxidermist; and (b) if the taker retains ownership of the marten pelt, agree in writing to submit or have submitted to the department, within 90 days of sealing, the entire skinned carcass and the written temporary exemption.

(9) A taxidermist may not receive a pine marten unless sealed and accompanied by the written temporary exemption.

(10) A taxidermist who receives an unskinned pine marten for processing for the taker's future use must retain a copy of the written temporary exemption while the animal is being processed.

(11) A taxidermist who receives an unskinned pine marten from a taker for the taxidermist's future use must submit to the department within 90 days of sealing the entire skinned carcass and the written temporary exemption originally issued to the taker.

Note: The written temporary exemption remains with the skinned carcass as proof of legal possession, and must be surrendered to the department with the skinned carcass. Responsibility for submission of the written temporary exemption and skinned carcass follows ownership. If the taker retains ownership during processing, the taker remains responsible for submission even if the taxidermist agrees to submit the written temporary exemption and skinned carcass directly. If a taxidermist becomes the owner, whether by purchase or not, the taxidermist becomes responsible for submission of the written temporary exemption and skinned carcass.

(12) Freeze - dried mounts of the pine marten may not be made because of the skinned carcass submission requirement.

(d) To legally possess or transport an unskinned carcass or unprocessed pelt of an otter, bobcat, fisher or pine marten taken outside New York State, a person must comply with the following:

(1) If the state or provincial agency or other agency with regulatory authority where the animal in question was taken (i.e., by hunting or trapping) requires that the species be tagged, sealed or otherwise marked, the possessor/transporter must maintain unaltered any such tag, seal or other mark attached to or placed on the carcass or pelt.

(2) If tagging, sealing or other marking is not required for the species in question where it was taken:

(i) and the possessor/transporter was the taker of the animal in question, that person must keep a written certification stating that the animal was taken by the possessor/transporter. The written certification also must include the date and location of take, the possessor/transporter's name, permanent home address and trapping or hunting license number from the state, province or country in which the animal was taken. This information must be provided to the department on request. (ii) and the possessor/transporter did not take the animal in question, he/she must keep a record of the name and address of the person from whom the carcass or pelt was received. This information must be provided to the department on request.

(e) Possession of dead animals or their parts.

(1) The carcasses, flesh, organs, glands, head, hide, feet, fur or parts thereof of red fox, gray fox, mink, beaver, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, skunk, weasel, bobcat, fisher, river otter, pine marten, and coyote legally taken may be possessed, transported and bought and sold without restriction.

(2) Small game found dead on a public highway during an open season and in a wildlife management unit with an open season may be possessed, transported, bought, and sold by an individual licensed to hunt or trap each respective animal. The tagging and sealing requirements described in subdivision 6.3 (c) of this section are applicable.

(f) Possession of live animals.

(1) No person shall possess any live beaver, otter, mink, muskrat, raccoon, red fox, gray fox, skunk, coyote, fisher, bobcat, opossum, weasel or pine marten other than pursuant to the provisions of section 11-0515 of the Environmental Conservation Law. Any person, firm or corporation shall obtain a collector's license, issued by the Department of Environmental Conservation, prior to taking and/or possessing alive any protected species of wildlife.

(2) No person shall transport, sell or otherwise transfer any live beaver, otter, mink, muskrat, raccoon, red fox, gray fox, skunk, coyote, fisher, bobcat, opossum, weasel or pine marten which has been legally taken unless the person purchasing or receiving such live animal possesses a valid special license issued by the department permitting such possession.

(g) Prohibitions. Except as expressly provided by sections 11-0523 and 11-1705 of the Environmental Conservation Law, or in a department regulation adopted pursuant to section 11-0903 of the Environmental Conservation Law, or by department license or permit, no person shall take or possess beaver, otter, mink, muskrat, raccoon, red fox, gray fox, skunk, coyote, fisher, bobcat, opossum, weasel or pine marten at any time other than as provided by this Part.

(h) General provisions. The provisions of the Environmental Conservation Law relating to trapping licenses, the taking, possession and sale of beaver, otter, mink, muskrat, raccoon, red fox, gray fox, skunk, coyote, fisher, bobcat, opossum, weasel and pine marten, and to their flesh and pelts, shall apply to beaver, otter, mink, muskrat, raccoon, red fox, gray fox, skunk, coyote, fisher, bobcat, opossum, weasel and pine marten taken pursuant to this Part.

(i) Definitions. For the purposes of implementing Title 11 of Article 11 of the Fish and Wildlife Law, and part 6 of this subchapter, these terms have the following meanings:

(1) Public highway. The traveled portion of a public highway. Culverts, drainage ditches, and the area under bridges are not considered the traveled portion of a public highway.

(2) Carcass. The body or parts thereof, meat, organs or viscera of an animal, including fish. Feathers (including feathers with attached skin or entire bird wings), hair (with or without skin or hide), and bones that include no attached meat, organs or viscera, are excluded from this definition.

(3) Suspension. This term applies to animals fully suspended in the air by means of the trap anchoring system (typically a chain, cable or wire). It does not apply to traps set in water or to traps that are directly and firmly attached to an elevated structure, such as a tree.

(4) Restraining trap. A device used to capture and restrain a mammal. These traps include leg-gripping traps ("foothold traps"), foot encapsulating traps, and cage or box traps.

(5) Foot encapsulating trap. A trap with the following mechanical attributes: The triggering and restraining mechanisms are enclosed within a housing; the triggering and restraining mechanisms are only accessible through a single opening when set; the opening does not exceed 2 inches in diameter; and the trap has a swivel mounted anchoring system.

(6) Cage or box trap. A type of restraining trap that fully encloses a captured animal within wood, wire, plastic, or metal.