Deer in Spring Landscape

Furbearers of Maryland - The Game Program


The mission and goals of the Maryland Game Program include ensuring the viability and ecological integrity of Maryland's native furbearer populations. Additionally, they promote sustainable and compatible uses of the resource. Harvest of the following species is currently regulated in Maryland: beaver, bobcat (closed season), coyote, fisher, gray fox, long tailed weasel, mink, muskrat, nutria, opossum, otter, raccoon, red fox and skunk.

DNR promotes sustainable and compatible uses of the furbearer resource. Hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits are established based on furbearer biology, distribution and abundance of each species, public interests and needs and the incidence of furbearer damage complaints.
Maryland's diverse ecosystems support a rich and varied assemblage of furbearer species. They range from the solitary fisher of Garrett County spruce and hemlock forests, to the highly social South American nutria inhabiting vast wetland systems of the Eastern Shore. Maryland's citizens enjoy a variety of ecological, recreational, economic, and cultural benefits from these valuable resources.

Maryland's 14 resident furbearer species yield many user days of recreation, while also providing the nucleus for many traditionally based rural activities. The fur harvest industry is a multibillion dollar enterprise nationally and offers significant contributions to Maryland's economy.

Furbearer Management in Maryland:
Management Tools and Their Applications

Furbearer Profiles

CanidsPhoto of Raccoon, courtesy of John White

  • Coyote
  • Gray Fox
  • Red Fox
  • Felids

  • Bobcat (Closed season)
  • Mustelids

  • Fisher
  • Long-tailed weasel
  • Mink
  • River Otter
  • Opossums

  • Opossum
  • ProcyonsPhoto of Muskrat couresy of Russell Verbosky/Painet, Inc.

  • Raccoon
  • Rodents

  • Beaver
  • Muskrat
  • Nutria
  • Skunks

  • Striped Skunk
  •  

    Trapper Education Requirement

    Effective August 1, 2007, any person who is trapping or attempting to trap furbearers under the authority of a Furbearer Permit must first obtain a certificate of trapper education, except that the certificate is not required if the person held a Furbearer Permit during the 2006-07 trapping season (prior to August 1, 2007). Trapper Education Requirement.

    Furbearer Tagging Requirements

    A permit is required to possess the meat or skinned carcass of a furbearer for more than 10 days after the season has closed. Permits can be obtained from the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP).

    The pelt or unskinned carcasses of all otter and fisher harvested in Maryland must be tagged within 15 days after the season has closed. Otter and fisher pelt tags may be obtained by contacting local offices of either the DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service or Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP).

    The pelts or unskinned carcasses of furbearers harvested in Maryland, and then transported across the state line must have a "Fur Shipping Tag" accompanying them. Click here to download and print a  "Fur Shipping Tag".  "Fur Shipping Tags" can also be obtained by contacting local offices of either the DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service or Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP).

    Furbearer License Requirements

    You obtain your non-resident trapping license in the same manner that you obtain your non-resident hunting license:

    Order Your Hunting or Fishing License ONLINE Today!
    https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal

    Or, Call Toll-free 1-800-918-2870

    Directly from any of 350 Sport Licensing Agents: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/service/