Nebraska’s limited river otter harvest season opened Nov. 1, providing those with a valid fur harvest permit an opportunity to trap one otter per season.
The season closes Feb. 28, 2023, or three days after the 125th otter has been harvested in the state, whichever comes first.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s goal is to manage and maintain healthy, thriving populations for the long term. This season will provide data about statewide river otter distribution, while continuing to allow the population to expand.
Trapping is the only legal method of take. Harvest is allowed statewide.
Each day, before setting traps for river otters, permit holders must confirm the harvest limit has not been met and the season is open by calling 855-881-8905 or checking Game and Parks’ river otter season status webpage at OutdoorNebraska.gov/OtterTrapping.
Any harvested river otter must be reported within 24 hours of harvest by contacting the nearest Game and Parks office, conservation officer, or by calling 855-881-8905. The otter must be tagged officially by Game and Parks within two business days after harvest, with the permittee furnishing the date and location of harvest before attaching the harvest seal. The otter should not be frozen. See the Small Game and Waterfowl Guide for a list of office locations and conservation officers at OutdoorNebraska.gov/guides.
Any incidental take of a river otter outside of the harvest season, or beyond the limit of one per harvester, is unlawful unless the animal is immediately released if viable or the harvester reports the take and turns over the carcass to Game and Parks.
River otters were extirpated from Nebraska by the early 1900s due to unregulated harvest. From 1986 to 1991, 159 otters were reintroduced into the state’s waters. Their recovery and subsequent delisting from the state threatened list in 2020 is a prime example of conservation success in Nebraska. River otters now can be found nearly statewide with populations in most major river systems.
To buy a permit, or for more information, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov.