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River Otter Being Trapped In State For First Time Since 1921

At just halfway through the river otter trapping season, 460 river otters have been caught in the state of Indiana. The season is scheduled to end Mar. 15, but will conclude early if the quota of 600 otters is reached.

This is the first time the state has allowed the trapping of river otters since 1921.

Indiana's Department Of Natural Resources has put limits on river otter trapping in Indiana. River otter trapping is only open to those who obtain a permit, and is being allowed in 66 of the state's 92 counties.  Each trapper is allowed to trap only two river otters total for the season.

Trappers are optimistic that with the rising river otter population in the state the regulations will be loosened.

“I hope that the data that [the DNR] gathers from those 600 otters helps determine in the future how many otters to be taken per season,” said Fred Philips, President of the Indiana State Trappers Association. “I hope that the central counties that did not have a season this year get in on having a season in the future.”

Neighboring states, including Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois, have been regulating the trapping of otters for several years. Illinois started in 2012 and allows the trapping of up to five otters per person.

The trapping of otters in Indiana has been strongly opposed by The Humane Society and PETA, who say that, among other things, the trapping of wild animals is cruel and unnecessary, as well as a cash grab.

“There was [opposition] at one of the question and answer sessions that the DNR put on at the Danville Library,” Philips said. “There is always going to be people who don’t believe in trapping, period; It’s cruel, it’s inhumane, it shouldn’t be practiced. Those people have a right to their opinion. I respect that right.”

The river otter trapping season ends either on Mar. 15 or when the quota of 600 otters is reach.

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