Nebraska has a wealth of furbearing species which provide opportunities for wildlife watching, photography, hunting and trapping. Furbearers are a group of native mammals that have valuable fur. Furbearers with a harvest season include: badger, beaver, bobcat, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, red fox, gray fox, striped skunk and long-tailed weasels. Coyotes and woodchucks are nongame and thus not protected as furbearers; however, they also possess valuable fur and are commonly harvested in Nebraska.
The furbearing species that are harvested are common or abundant in Nebraska. Regulated harvest through hunting and trapping seasons is an important management tool needed to control populations and damage that these species can cause. Hunting and trapping seasons are typically designed to allow the harvest of furbearers during the fall and winter when the pelts are prime, and they are less likely to have dependent young. There are no bag limits or specific harvest units for furbearers. Trapping and hunting furbearers is a time-honored tradition that provides the ability for families to enjoy time well spent in the great outdoors, earn extra income and help mitigate problems.
For furbearer hunting and trapping season dates, refer to the most recent Hunting Guide
Primary hunting and trapping season
Badger, mink, opossum, raccoon, red fox, gray fox, and long tailed weasels may all be hunted and trapped during the primary hunting and trapping season Additional furbearers may be hunted and/or trapped along with these species; however, they have special rules or seasons that are addressed below.
Species with specific rules or seasons
Beaver and muskrat may be trapped only; there is no hunting season for these species. Beaver and muskrat damage permits allow these species to be controlled outside of the harvest season. To inquire about obtaining a beaver and muskrat damage permit, please contact the nearest Game and Parks office.
Bobcats may be hunted or trapped. All bobcats harvested in Nebraska must be registered and tagged by the Game and Parks within two calendar days of the close of the season and before the pelt is sold. To prepare a carcass for tagging, create a small hole and insert a stick, pencil or similar object between the lower eyelid and the eye so the stick exits behind the upper lip; this will allow the bobcat to be tagged even when frozen. Otherwise bring a thawed carcass or dried pelt.
Raccoons and opossums may be hunted but not trapped during the early hunt-only season. This season was initiated to provide additional opportunity to harvest these common species in an effort to reduce agricultural damage. Raccoon and opossum may also be hunted and trapped during the primary hunting and trapping seasons.
Striped skunks may be harvested year-round by hunting or trapping.
Bobcat, opossum, raccoon and red fox may be pursued or chased with hounds, but not harvested during the portion of the year when harvest is not allowed. A fur harvest permit is required to pursue these species during the running season.
Unprotected nongame animals like coyotes may be harvested year-round. Their pelts are prime during the primary hunting and trapping season, and that is when most coyotes are trapped and hunted. Electronic predator calls are allowed for hunting coyotes.
The presence of coyotes (Canis latrans) on urban and suburban landscapes is neither surprising nor necessarily cause for concern. Coyotes are highly adaptive members of the dog family and have demonstrated an ability to survive in the most urbanized environments in cities across North America. Most urban coyotes go about their lives without ever raising awareness of their presence among their human neighbors; however, coyote sightings are becoming more common in urban areas across the U.S., including in the Omaha metro area. For more information on living with urban coyotes, keeping pets safe, and what to do in case of an encounter, visit nebraskawildliferehab.org.
If you observe or photograph river otters or spotted skunks, please contact the nearest Game and Parks office to report the observation. Fur harvesters who incidentally trap river otters must immediately contact the local conservation officer and arrange to turn over the carcass.