Pat Tate: (603) 868-1095
Wildlife Division: (603) 271-2461
November 1, 2023
Concord, NH – Trapping seasons in New Hampshire run from October through March statewide, with the majority of trapping activity on land happening during the months of November and December, depending on the species.
Trapping is a highly regulated activity and may take place on public or private lands. Individuals interested in trapping attend a mandatory Trapper Education class, purchase a license, file written landowner permission with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, adhere to science-based regulations and harvest limits, use modern traps designed to target specific species, and check traps daily. Mandatory reporting of the towns where trapping activity occurred, catch, and effort must be filed by April 30 following the close of each season. An active force of highly trained Conservation Officers and other agency personnel monitor trap activity to ensure that current laws are followed and use the data furnished by trappers to assess harvested wildlife populations.
This long-standing part of New Hampshire’s cultural heritage remains relevant and necessary today. Trappers are a unique group among New Hampshire’s outdoor enthusiasts, having an unparalleled eye for interpreting their natural surroundings and understanding wildlife behavior. Though relatively few in number—393 licenses were sold in New Hampshire during the 2022–2023 season—skilled trappers provide an extremely valuable service by helping to manage abundant wildlife populations and collecting biological samples at no cost to Fish and Game. They also contribute to public safety by maintaining beaver populations at manageable levels and reversing the flooding of public roadways in rural and urban areas. Trapping helps to keep furbearer populations at healthy levels and to prevent overpopulation, which can significantly increase the risk of disease transmission, including rabies and canine distemper. With specialized skills, training, and a deep connection to the natural world, trappers are a vital resource for balancing wildlife conservation and wildlife–human conflict management.
“State law prohibits traps from being set or arranged in a public way, cart road, or path commonly used as a passageway by people or domestic animals,” said Patrick Tate, a Wildlife Biologist and the Furbearer Project Leader at NH Fish and Game. “New Hampshire has a long tradition of sharing the outdoors. During hunting and trapping seasons, it’s sensible for anyone walking a dog or using wooded areas to stay on established trails, keep dogs on a leash, and wear an article of blaze orange clothing.”
To learn more about trapping or to find a Trapper Education Course in New Hampshire, visit www.wildlife.nh.gov/hunting-nh/trapping.
Furbearer management in the Granite State is funded in part by Wildlife Restoration Grants administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program: Partnering to fund conservation and connect people with nature. To learn more visit www.wildnh.com/funding/wsfr.html.