MDC proposes to expand fur-bearing animal hunting and trapping seasons |
JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri – The Missouri Conservation Commission gave its initial approval to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) at its Dec. 10 public meeting on proposed regulatory changes that would extend current furbearer hunting and trapping seasons for abundant furry species.
Fur-bearing animals are species of mammals that have traditionally been trapped or hunted for their fur, such as coyotes, raccoons, and skunks. Many fur-bearing animals are also considered small game species, for which there are small game hunting seasons.
According to the MDC, many fur-bearing animal populations have experienced long-term population increases, which allows for additional harvesting possibilities. The Department received comments from a variety of stakeholders to provide additional opportunities by extending and adjusting season dates for several species of furbearing animals.
Furbearing animals play an important ecological role, and trapping and hunting are essential tools in wildlife management. MDC strives to provide the possibility of harvesting these species, while taking into account the quality of the fur during the fur harvesting season, the desire for opportunities outside of the traditional fur harvesting season, the potential for conflict with other hunting seasons for other species and opportunities for landowners. .
MDC’s furbearing animal program staff reviewed furbearing animal harvest seasons and worked to develop a regulatory framework that provides additional harvesting opportunities in response to stakeholder requests. Based on this review and feedback from stakeholders, the following recommendations were developed for consideration:
Extension of the hunting season and the trapping season for bobcats, coyotes, raccoon, opossum and striped skunk from November 15 to the last day of February.
Extension of the mink, muskrat and river otter trapping season from November 15 to the last day of February.
Establish an early hunting and trapping season for raccoon and opossum from August 1 to October 15.
Extension of the trapping season on private lands for coyote, raccoon, opossum and skunk from March 1 to April 14.
The next step in the rulemaking process is for the MDC to have a public comment period. The MDC invites online review of the full regulatory proposal and public comment from January 19 to February 17, 2022 at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z49.
Comments received during this period will be reviewed and final proposals forwarded to the Commission for action at its March 25 meeting. If adopted, the changes will take effect on June 30, 2022.