Oklahoma Fur Auction Offers Glimpse at Tradition

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When you think of the early days of the pioneers and settlers and their quest to conquer and settle the New World, visions of fur trapping and trading may come to mind. But the centuries-old American tradition of trapping and hunting furbearing wildlife is more than a mere piece of America's past. It’s also an exciting and very precision-oriented approach to managing wildlife today.

Not only is furbearer trapping and hunting a sport for the true woodsman, but it also helps the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation achieve management goals that benefit the state's environment.

Furbearing animals in Oklahoma that can be hunted include bobcat, raccoon, mink, badger, muskrat, opossum, weasel, gray and red fox, beavers, skunks and river otters. Coyotes also may be taken year-round. Carcasses or parts of legally acquired furbearing animals and coyotes may be purchased, bartered, traded, sold or offered for sale. The skins and/or tails of squirrels may also be sold.

Those interested in learning more about trapping and furbearer hunting will want to attend one of the upcoming fur auctions that will be held at 8 a.m. Feb. 27 in El Reno at the Canadian County Fairgrounds. The event is being hosted by the Oklahoma Fur Bearer Alliance. Sellers must be members of the Alliance. For more information, contact John Weygandt at (918) 645-5667.

To hunt furbearers, residents are required to purchase a hunting license, unless exempt. In addition to a hunting license, a trapping license is required to trap any furbearer, unless otherwise exempt. The trapping license expires Jan. 31 of each year. A fur license (bobcat-raccoon-river otter-gray/red fox) is required for taking these species by any means, unless exempt, and is valid through Feb. 28. Lifetime hunting or combination license holders or senior citizen hunting or senior citizen combination license holders must purchase a trapping license to trap, but are exempt from the fur license.

Bobcat and river otter pelts must have a permanent tag affixed by an authorized employee of the Wildlife Department or designated private tagging agent and can be obtained from any game warden, wildlife biologists, state fish hatcheries, Department field offices or designated private tagging stations. Bobcat and river otter pelts must have the permanent tag affixed within 10 working days of the close of furbearer season in order to be held in possession of a hunter, trapper or buyer.

For specific tagging details, furbearer season dates and other furbearer regulations, see the current "Oklahoma Hunting Guide" or log on to wildlifedepartment.com.