The 2017 river otter trapping season officially starts Wednesday.
This is the third year Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources is allowing permitted trappers to catch the animals.
Each trapper is allowed two otters out of a maximum of 600 otters statewide per season.
The DNR’s Furbearer Biologist Geriann Albers says after the state reintroduced otters in 1995 the population exploded, which led the agency to make trapping otters legal for the first time in decades.
“We did reintroduce them and we want to make sure their populations won’t be negatively impacted, we have all these extra steps to collect as much data as we can and to make sure we are keeping a good account of the harvest,” Albers says.
Some Indiana residents view the otters as nuisances because of their impact on fish populations.
Once someone traps an otter they are required to call the DNR to report it within 24 hours and they have to take the carcass to the DNR within 15 days of trapping the animal.
Albers says that protocol is important for research.
“We get a lot of data out of that carcass like I said we take teeth and you can actually age teeth kind of like you do rings on a tree there’s a layer called cementum that grows in new every year. So we can look at the teeth and see how old the river otter is and then we look at the reproduction from the carcasses we have,” she says.
Trapping season will run until March 15, 2018 or until trappers reach the season’s limit.