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2018 - 2019 Trapping Laws & Regulations


No traps shall be set before 8 a.m. on the first day of the season or either set or left set after 12 noon on the last day of the season. Any traps set during March shall be water sets only for taking of beaver. All traps MUST be checked and tended daily. Traps previously and legally set may be tended after 5 a.m. on Sunday, if the person so doing shall have no firearm greater than .22 caliber or a bow in his possession. Nonresidents must possess valid Class E and Class S licenses to trap. Traps used for taking wildlife shall be marked with a durable plate or tag attached to the trap, trap chain or set bearing the owner's name and address. A person who unintentionally traps and kills more than the season bag limit shall deliver excess animals to a conservation officer within 24 hours. Trappers shall present beaver, bobcat and fisher pelts to a game checking station or DNR representative within 30 days after the close of the respective trapping season. A tag provided by the DNR shall be attached and remain attached to each beaver, bobcat and fisher pelt until it has been sold, tanned or mounted. Foot snares are legal when (a) the snare loop does not exceed 6 ½ inches in diameter and (b) the snare loop is at ground level and (c) horizontal to ground level. Terrestrial body-gripping snares must have a relaxing-type lock system with a breaking point of 350 pounds or less or a stop with a minimum loop diameter of at least 2-1/2 inches. Set snares shall not have a loop diameter average greater than 15 inches. All terrestrial body-gripping snares must be anchored at the trap site. A person may not ship or transport any raw furs, pelts, or skins of wild furbearers outside of the state unless such shipment has a special shipping tag visibly attached. Shipping tags must be obtained from the DNR. One part shall be attached to the outside of the package or container and the other part completed and returned to the DNR within 24 hours of shipping furs out of state. The dealer or buyer of raw furs, pelts, or skins of furbearers in this state shall submit to the Director a completed fur dealer transaction report as provided by the Director. It is illegal to:
  • have in possession an untagged beaver, bobcat, or fisher pelt or parts thereof, after 30 days following the close of respective season.
  • set deadfalls for taking wildlife.
  • set traps with an open jaw spread of more than 6 ½ inches except as underwater sets for beaver.
  • set traps or trapping devices in human foot trails or livestock paths.
  • set conibear or mohawk type traps for terrestrial trapping, but they may be used in water sets.
  • set locking neck- or body-gripping snares or spring pole snares for terrestrial trapping, but they may be used in underwater sets.
  • trap in state parks, in safety zones in state forests and WMAs, in Harpers Ferry NHP and on National Park Service land within New River Gorge NR.
  • use exposed animal or bird carcasses or parts thereof to bait an animal to a trap set. Animal or bird carcasses or parts thereof that are completely covered and concealed from sight may be used as a lure.
  • trap without written permission of a landowner.
  • trap within 15 feet of the waterline on the structure of any beaver house or burrow.
  • disturb or destroy dams, houses or burrows of beavers while beaver trapping.
  • take beaver, fisher, mink, or muskrat by any means other than by trap.
  • use steel jaw traps with any teeth on or attached to them.
  • set a trap, trapset or snare upon a tree, post or other natural or man-made object at any point more than 3 linear feet from the surface of the earth (whether such surface is water, soil or rock) measured at right angle from the surface to the trap or trapset. Traps may be set on natural earthen mounds, such as ant hills or muskrat houses, constructed without human assistance.

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