Trapping otters


February 21, 2014, 12:51 PM
Anyone doing any trapping this season? Our Alabama trapping season runs from November 9- February 28th this year. I have concentrated on otter this year but with our Alabama weather, everything from a couple of snowfalls in the 6-8 inch range, 80 degree days to 7 degree days and semi-weekly flooding it has been difficult to maintain the line. In spite of that, with about a week left to trap, I've managed to get 22 beaver, 15 raccoon, 12 otter and 11 muskrat so far. Two of the otter were 26 pounds and 25 pounds that required over sized stretching boards. How has YOUR season gone?

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February 21, 2014, 10:19 PM
Sounds like you are having a great year. My freind n I got 8 otter this year. Is that a 220 you caught that one with? Water must have been moving fast.
Also got 31 foxes 9 grey's the rest are reds, 2 wildcats, 1 mangie coyote. I don't know how many racoons. Prices are better but not great. Beavers are poor up here this year.

Good Luck probably going to pull mine this weekend.

February 21, 2014, 10:58 PM
I can't do otters. They hold hands and they're really, really, really cute.

Deer? I can do those.

Not a big hunter...but I respect the necessity.

February 22, 2014, 08:41 AM
Is that a 220 you caught that one with? No, it is a #280. That is the 26 pound otter. Yes the current was swift and he was swimming upstream. The 25 pounder was taken in a #330 and was also "suit cased" as this one was.

February 22, 2014, 08:45 AM
Our season ends this Friday so that will end it for me. The last 3 otter I caught came from a 20 acre bass lake. The lake owner said he has lost $20,000 to $30,000 worth of stocked bass to otters. I have only been on his lake for a little over a week but he wants me there on opening day next season.

February 22, 2014, 03:04 PM

February 22, 2014, 03:08 PM
This beaver clogged up a perfectly good otter set! Grand daughter Charity helps with the remake.

February 22, 2014, 11:29 PM
Do you guys use one of those cable drowning rigs, where the leghold trap is on shore fastened to a light steel cable with a 1-way slider?

I'll explain as I don't know the name but have heard the set described:

The cable runs from a shore anchor (tree, rock) to a deep water anchor. Soon as the animal is caught, it runs with the trap/slider and swims into deep water. The 1-way slider keeps it there for later retrieval. Cold water prevents fur damage.

February 23, 2014, 02:14 PM
That is called a "drowner cable" and I use them when I use a foot hold trap for water animals. All of my water animals(except some muskrats) were taken in body grip traps this season.

February 23, 2014, 02:31 PM
Sounds like a good season Jimmyray.
I bought a doz dog-proof 'coon daggers and ran a short line this season for the first time. I only caught 12 'coon but I had fun and it got me in the woods daily. I needed another vice since our deer and quail populations are suffering.

February 23, 2014, 04:15 PM
That,s a nice looking beaver Jimmy. The beaver here never look that good they get a lot of yellowish guard hair that is just not as pretty as the black or dark brown. I also used the drowning lines where I can you need a pretty good pool and you can't set them on a lodge so we're better served by the conibear. There are alot of otters hear now but they frequent in town and hard to trap gotta set where they are and too much trap loss.

Good Luck the rest of the way I pulled the last 6 I had out yesterday.


February 23, 2014, 06:49 PM
Alabama beavers can get quite large. I shot this one with my shotgun after it swam between my legs when I was duck hunting in a swamp. It weighed ~50 lbs. (

February 23, 2014, 09:08 PM
Jimmy, they look real good too. When I was young I had the priviledge of trapping beaver with a friend in Nova Scotia Canada he has since gone home while I carry on. Anyway we caught some beautiful beavers up there one was over 70 pounds needed more than 5 foot of plywood to stretch it on. I was about 17 at the time had to carry it near a mile.

We could only catch 3 per liscence year then. Up here in VA where I am there's no limit but they are the ugliest beavers I've seen. They eat pine tree's. Do they eat pine down there?


February 23, 2014, 10:09 PM
Yes, they love pine. My largest this year is 55 pounds. I took 3 beaver in the same set over a 4 day period. One 55 pounds, one 42 pounds and the 3rd was 47 pounds. All are dark colored.

February 24, 2014, 08:11 AM
This was the worst season we have ever had. I got 12 coons 2 fisher, and a couple weasels. I did however get 3 coons over 40lbs.

February 24, 2014, 11:59 AM
I did however get 3 coons over 40lbs. Wow, a coon that size is unheard of down here. I caught 2 very large coons this year(by Alabama standards),one of 16 pounds and one of 19 pounds. I can't imagine a 30 pound coon let alone a 40 pounder!

February 24, 2014, 12:02 PM
We have 4 more days of the season left and a winter mix of weather on tap for Wednesday. I just found an otter rub, a toilet and remains of several otter killed fish on the lake I am currently trapping. I made a couple of baited sets this morning and , weather permitting, will make a couple more tomorrow. Trying to go out on a high note.

February 25, 2014, 12:46 PM
Took otter #13 of the year this morning. A 22 pound male.

February 26, 2014, 10:58 AM
No otter today but I was privileged to get to watch a bald eagle flying over the lake! What a beautiful sight!

February 26, 2014, 11:16 AM
Our season is over. Me and my dad trap together and we had a pretty good year. We got 127 rats, 64 coon-24 on one property, 14 beaver, trapped our largest beaver as of now 71lbs, we had one 5 or 6 years ago that was 70lbs, 8 mink, 11 opossum, and of course a handful of wild cats. We don't aim at otter, they just became legal here in NW illinois couple years ago

Art Eatman
February 26, 2014, 11:24 AM
Relieve my ignorance. I realize the cyclical nature of critter populations with weather and food. But is the amount of trapping having any noticeable impact on populations? Or does it generally seem that at the start of a season, there are pretty much just as many critters as the year before?

(It's been many a decade since I did any trapping, back right after WW II. :))

February 26, 2014, 11:49 AM
Art, we have so few trappers in my area or even in the state that it would be hard to know what the impact of trapping is here. Since the resurgence of otter here, there has been a marked downturn in muskrat and mink populations. Beaver and coyote populations are exploding and landowners are begging for trappers. The landowner I'm currently trapping otters for has even bought traps for me to assure I'll be back next year. Landowners have been contacting me for beaver control all season.

February 26, 2014, 12:03 PM
My brother in law gets deer hunting land through his trapping skills here in NW MS. I'm trying to pick up what I can, to be honest I never knew we had otter in our area until he drug a nice male out of one of his traps set earlier this fall. The land owners definitely appreciate the service.

Art Eatman
February 26, 2014, 08:35 PM
Thanks. Just curious.

I know people in central Texas have griped about problems with beavers. There are some, seen from time to time, over here in south Georgia.

The biggest problem around here is feral cats and fire ants.

February 28, 2014, 12:39 PM
Alabama's trapping season ends today. My final tally was 23 beaver, 16 coon, 13 otter and 12 muskrats.

March 6, 2014, 08:17 PM
I saw this online. Otters ain't so bad after all.

This photo was taken near where I bowhunt every Fall. The otter ate the gator. Goood otter. :D

March 6, 2014, 09:59 PM
Relieve my ignorance. I realize the cyclical nature of critter populations with weather and food. But is the amount of trapping having any noticeable impact on populations? Or does it generally seem that at the start of a season, there are pretty much just as many critters as the year before?

(It's been many a decade since I did any trapping, back right after WW II. :))
18 coon, few yotes.

Art, you served in WWII?

Art Eatman
March 7, 2014, 09:48 AM
Born in 1934. Spent a bunch of time with my grandparents during the war, learning farming and ranching. Found some Victor #2s and tried my luck. About all I ever trapped were possums around the hen house. After the war, my folks bought 150 acres next door, so I kept on doing the farm-boy thing.

Just a kid, in the learning curve of life. For one thing, I learned the drawback to plowing behind a horse: The view never improves. :D

March 7, 2014, 04:44 PM
I think trapping has declined in Pennsylvania.I trapped muskrats on a small stream in farmland in the 1950's.It was so common there were several buyers who would take the unskinned rats.Most of my buddies trapped also.One of them specialized in skunks.We had some smelly days in the one room school.I see muskrats frequently while trout fishing.

March 7, 2014, 05:46 PM
I think trapping has declined in Pennsylvania.Actually, trapping has increased all over the country since fur prices have risen sharply. Last year fur prices set record highs not seen before. Pennsylvania is a major fur producing state

March 7, 2014, 09:28 PM
I've been out of touch with the trappers since the price decline years ago.The guys I knew gave it up.

March 8, 2014, 11:25 AM
I understand fully! I took an extended hiatus from trapping in the late '80s that lasted until 2010. I missed the big fur boom of the '80s and later the beaver boom of 2000.

March 8, 2014, 02:05 PM
Apparently,somebody wants real fur again.Is the demand coming from overseas?

March 8, 2014, 06:43 PM
Is the demand coming from overseas? Yes, Russia, China and Greece to name a few.

March 8, 2014, 07:43 PM
I always thought beavers were a cold climate animal.I never realized they lived in our southern states.

March 8, 2014, 08:03 PM
I always thought beavers were a cold climate animal. I never realized they lived in our southern states. Beaver are so abundant in the south they are not requlated as furbearers(but are classified as such). We can shoot them year around but daylight hours only and can trap them year around without even buying a trapping license. Landowners are constantly looking for trappers to clear them from their land.

March 8, 2014, 08:36 PM
Some years ago beavers were introduced into a narrow wooded valley where I hunt deer.The road crosses the stream in several places.The beavers built dams that flooded the road.A few years later the dams were gone and I haven't seen them since.I have heard of bank beavers that don't build dams but burrow into stream banks.

March 9, 2014, 09:05 AM
Beaver bank dens are the norm here. Houses are rare but do exist. Every stream here has at least one dam but waters deep enough for the beaver, such as ponds or lakes, have neither dam nor houses. In fact, old beaver bank dens are excellent places to catch otter.

March 9, 2015, 01:15 PM
So how did all you otter trappers do this season? I ended the season with 8 of the fish eaters. That brings my 3 year total to 28. Our southern populations seem to have increased to almost nuisance levels.

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