Photo Credit: North Dakota Game & Fish Department
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has closed the state’s first River Otter season in 97 years after just one week of being open. The season opened Monday, November 27th and was officially closed just moments ago.
The last time trapping was permitted for this semi-aquatic member of the weasel family was 1920. While it has been known for some time that the River Otter had returned to North Dakota, recent surveys showed that they had recolonized most areas of the state where they once lived in the past. Thus leading to the decision to open a season.
Stephanie Tucker, a furbearer biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said that the River Otter has inhabited the Red River Valley and its tributaries for about the last 15 years. With incidental trappings taking place each year anyhow, the department finally decided to open an official season and let trappers keep the pelts from the animals.
The limit for the season on River Otter was 15 and marks yet one more species that has returned to the state. Mountain Lions and Fishers have also returned, only to have seasons opened on them as well. The first experimental season for Mountain Lions was in 2005 and for Fisher it was 2011.