Furbearer trapping is part of a long standing tradition on the refuge. Trappers with a state-issued trapping license may apply for a refuge Special Use Permit, which allows the use of up to 40 traps per day on the refuge. Contact District Managers for more details about the trapping program, special conditions for trapping on the refuge, mandatory fur harvest reports and how to apply for a Special Use Permit.
- Muskrat 9:00 am Nov. 5 – Jan. 31
- Mink 9:00 am Nov. 5 – Jan. 31
- Raccoon 9:00 am Nov. 5 – Jan. 31
- Fox (Red or Gray) 9:00 am Nov. 5 – Jan. 31
- Beaver 9:00 am Nov. 5 – Mar. 15
- Otter 9:00 am Nov. 5 – Jan. 31
Illinois – North Zone
- Muskrat 9:00 am Nov. 10 – Feb. 15
- Mink 9:00 am Nov. 10 – Feb. 15
- Raccoon 9:00 am Nov. 10 – Feb. 15
- Fox (Red or Gray) 9:00 am Nov. 10 – Feb. 15
- Beaver 9:00 am Nov. 10 – Mar. 15
- Otter** 9:00 am Nov. 10 – Mar. 15
- Mink and Muskrat 9:00 am Oct. 29 – Feb. 28
- Raccoon 9:00 am Oct. 29 – Mar. 15
- Fox (Red or Gray), 9:00 am Oct. 29 – Mar. 15
- Beaver 9:00 am Oct. 29 – Mar. 15
- Otter 9:00 am Oct. 29 – Jan. 22
Wisconsin – Mississippi River Zone
- Muskrat 9:00 am Nov. 14 – Mar. 5
- Mink 9:00 am Nov. 14 – Mar. 5
- Raccoon 9:00 am Nov. 14 – Feb. 15
- Fox (Red or Gray), 9:00 am Nov. 14 – Feb. 15
- Beaver (Zone D), 9:00 am Dec. 5 – Mar. 15
- Otter 9:00 am Nov. 14 – Mar. 15
Wisconsin – Central Zone**
- Muskrat 9:00 am Oct 29 – Mar. 15
- Mink 9:00 am Oct 29 – Mar. 15
Wisconsin – Southern Zone
- Muskrat 9:00 am Nov. 5 – Mar. 15
- Mink 9:00 am Nov. 5 – Mar. 15
- Raccoon 9:00 am Oct. 15 – Feb. 15
- Fox (Red or Gray), 9:00 am Oct. 15 – Feb. 15
- Beaver (Zone C) 9:00 am Nov. 5 – Mar. 15
- Otter*** 9:00 am Nov. 5 – Mar. 15
* The opening time for trapping in Closed Areas and No Hunting Zones is 9:00 a.m. on the day after the close of the State duck hunting season.
** Note the change in Wisconsin muskrat and mink management zones. These zones are illustrated on page 24 of the 2022 WI Trapping Regulations.
*** Licensed trappers are allowed to only harvest one otter from the Refuge. Illinois trappers must follow registration requirements outlined on page 48 of the 2022-2023 IL Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations. The Iowa DNR issues CITES tags for otter (see page 34 of the 2022 IA Hunting, Trapping and Migratory Gamebird Regulations) Site validation coupons are required for river otter taken in Minnesota (see page 53 of the 2022 MN Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook). River otters harvested in Wisconsin must be reported to the Department of Natural Resources within 24 hours (see Page 15 of the 2022 WI Trapping Regulations).
Pool maps showing Federal Refuge lands where trap tags are required are available at the District office or on the Service website http://www.fws.gov/refuge/upper-mississippi-river/
► State boundaries do not always follow the main navigation channel. See Pool Maps for boundaries.
► No trapping before 9:00 a.m. on the opening day of the Refuge muskrat trapping season.
► No trapping on the Refuge after March 15. A March 15th end date helps ensure trapping activities do not disturb nesting bald eagles and spring migrating waterfowl.
► Snares (as well as cable-restraints) and multiple-catch (colony) traps are not permitted on the Refuge.
► State special regulations (body-grip traps) and trap restrictions are described on page 50 of the 2022 MN Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook and begin on page 8 in the 2022 WI Trapping Regulations Handbook. State special regulations (body-grip traps) and trap restrictions are described on page 45 of the 2022-2023 IL Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations and on page 32 of the 2022 IA Hunting, Trapping and Migratory Gamebird Regulations.
► After opening day, trapping hours are ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset unless more restrictive hours are set by the State.
► The current Refuge tag must be attached to the trap whenever it is placed on the Refuge, in addition to the State tagging requirements.
► Trapper must carry Refuge permit and State trapping license while trapping on the Refuge. Note that trappers in the state of Wisconsin who used the Go Wild licensing system must still carry a paper copy of their license when trapping on the refuge.
► Refuge areas posted “Area Closed” and/or “No Hunting Zone” are not open to trapping until 9:00 a.m. the day after the close of the duck hunting season, except as otherwise noted on the trapping permit.
► Staking trap sites or placing trapping equipment in more than one location on the Refuge before 9:00 a.m. on opening day of any Refuge trapping season is prohibited.
► Placing stakes without a trap attached is prohibited.
► Traps may not be set closer than 3’ from the waterline of a muskrat house.
► Traps may not be set closer than 6’ of where the beaver lodge or dam meets the water. The 6 foot setback restriction does not apply to bank dens that do not have an associated lodge/cache. Dog-proof traps and #110 sized body-grip traps are allowed on beaver dams or lodges. Additional state regulations that are more restrictive may apply.
► Traps may not be set closer than 30’ from an otter den.
► No carcasses or animal parts may be disposed of on the Refuge.
► Destroying or damaging any animal house, den, lodge, or dam is prohibited.
► You may not tend another person’s traps or trap line on the Refuge unless specifically authorized by the Refuge Manager. Any trap/set which is tended by multiple persons must display a current tag assigned to each permittee checking the trap.
► A violation of any state or federal trapping regulation may result in immediate revocation of Refuge trapping permit and/or refusal of future Refuge permits.
► Each trap must be tended at least once every calendar day except for beaver which must be tended every two calendar days.
► If furbearers are caught out of season or over the Refuge bag limit (1 otter), a Federal Wildlife Officer must be notified prior to the removal of the furbearer or tampering with the set.
► Failure to return the fur catch report by April 15 shall result in the loss of trapping privileges for 1 year.