Contact(s): Shawn Rossler, furbearer ecologist, 608-267-9428; Curtis Twellmann, assistant furbearer ecologist, 608-261-6452
July 9, 2019
MADISON - August 1 is an important application deadline for trappers and hunters who wish to pursue bobcat, fisher and river otter this fall.
Permit applications to pursue these species for the 2019-2020 season are available for purchase online at GoWild.wi.gov as well as in-person at Department of Natural Resources service centers and all license agents. Permit applications cost $3 ($6 for bobcat).
2019 fall season dates are as follows:
Bobcat, Fisher and River Otter
The statewide harvest goal for bobcat is 1,050 bobcats, with 2,495 permits available for the 2019-2020 season. This marks the sixth year of statewide bobcat harvest.
The statewide fisher harvest goal for 2019-2020 is 900, and 4,550 permits are available. A statewide river otter harvest goal has been set at 2,000, with 13,880 permits available for trappers this season.
When applying for a permit, keep in mind that the fisher and otter zones have been consolidated and now match the bobcat zones. There is a Northern Zone and a Southern Zone split by Highway 64 for all three species.
Wait times for permits vary depending on the species and management zone. Search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "trapping" for details on trapping and preference points needed to draw a permit in 2018.
Drawings will take place in August, with permits issued in September. Applicants may check their online account in mid-September to see if they have been awarded a permit by visiting GoWild.wi.gov.
In addition to a permit, a trapping license is required to trap bobcat, fisher and river otter. All first-time trappers who are trapping alone are required to complete a trapper education course before buying a trapping license. Trapper education classes are posted at GoWild.wi.gov. A trapper education course is not required to hunt bobcat.
Youth and mentored trapping
Starting in 2018, youth under the age of 16 may trap without a license while under the supervision of a licensed trapper. Youth trapping under supervision may apply for and purchase bobcat, fisher and otter permits.
Mentored trapping licenses are available to trappers 16 years or older who would like to trap under the supervision of a licensed trapper. The mentor must be 18 or older, and if the mentee is under 18, the mentor must either be the mentee's parent/guardian or approved by the mentee's parent/guardian. Anyone possessing a Mentored Trapping License may not receive a fisher or otter harvest tag but may assist the mentor in trapping these species. Additional permit and license details can be found in the 2019 Wisconsin Trapping Regulations.
For more information on trapping and hunting furbearers in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "trapping." For questions specific to the permit application process, contact the DNR Call Center at 888-WDNR-INFo (1-888-936-7463).