Furbearers

NMDGF has taken trapping and licensing information out of the 2020-2021 New Mexico Hunting Rules and Information booklet. In its place, we are creating a separate 2020-2021 New Mexico Furbearers Rules and Information booklet. This new publication will be available in June 2020. If you have questions about the new Furbearer rule, effective April 1, 2020, please contact the Wildlife Management Division at 505-476-8038.

Trapper Education provides an educational opportunity that promotes responsible and ethical trapping and hunting of furbearers. The courses provided by or approved by NMDGF instruct students on the tenets of responsible furbearer management, safe trapping practices, and the latest in humane techniques. See Trapper & Furbearer Hunter Ed (tab 2).

Information

hunting-species-furbearer-trapping-and-furbearer-management

Protected Furbearers

Protected furbearers that may be taken during open season are raccoon, badger, weasel, fox, ringtail, bobcat, muskrat, beaver and nutria.

Taking of all other protected furbearers is prohibited. These include, but are not limited to, pine marten, river otter, black-footed ferret and coatimundi.

New Mexico furbearer protected species, the Bobcat.

Bobcat

Bobcat Pelt Tag Report 2018

Unprotected Furbearers

Unprotected furbearers include coyote and skunk.

There is no closed season or bag limit on unprotected furbearers or unprotected species.

Know the Difference

Bobcat
• Underside of the tail is white to the tip.
• Ear tufts are under 1 inch in length.
• Cheek tufts are not prominent.
• Brownish color with black spots (usually)on the belly.
• Total length from 25–37 inches.
• Feet appear small with no hair between pads.
• Track size is under 2½ inches wide.
• Stride length is 20 inches.
Lynx
• Tail has a black tip and is not white underneath.
• Ear tufts are at least 1½ inches in length.
• Cheek tufts prominent.
• Grayish color with no spots on the belly
• Total length from 32–37 inches.
• Feet appear large with pads covered by hair.
• Track size is 3½–4½ inches wide.
• Stride length is 28 inches.

Lynx in snow, side-view photograph.

Lynx

Effective April 1, 2020, every person purchasing a Trapper License will be required to take a department approved education course prior to setting any trap or snare in New Mexico, and/or prior to hunting furbearers in New Mexico. These courses are an educational opportunity for new or experienced trappers and hunters. The courses cover the essential information needed to be a responsible and ethical trapper, as well as New Mexico furbearer trapping and hunting regulations and information on the states furbearers.

Course Descriptions

NMDGF offers 3 different furbearer education courses: the comprehensive furbearer trapping and hunting New Mexico Trapper Education Course, the New Mexico-specific New Mexico Furbearer Law and Species Identification Course, and the furbearer hunting-specific New Mexico Furbearer Hunting Course. How do you know which course you are required to take?

  • If you plan on trapping and have never taken a trapper education course, you are required to take only the New Mexico Trapper Education Course.
  • If you plan on trapping and have already completed a trapper education course offered through a different venue, you are required to take only the New Mexico Furbearer Law and Species ID Course.
  • If you plan on only hunting furbearers (you will not be setting traps or snares), you are required to complete any one of the 3 furbearer education courses

Please see additional information below. Trapper license purchases may be restricted if education requirements are not met.

New Mexico Trapper Education Course

NMDGF, with assistance from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), has developed an online trapper education course. This course satisfies all of the education requirements for setting traps or snares for furbearers in New Mexico, and hunting furbearers in New Mexico. Upon successfully completing this course, participants will receive a Course Completion Certificate. This certificate should be saved and/or printed, and provided to the Department in person or by email to verify successful completion of the course.

The New Mexico Trapper Education Course can be found on AFWA’s Conservation Learning website here: https://conservationlearning.org . Students will create an account, and choose the New Mexico Trapper Education Course.

Completion of an Alternative Trapper Education Course

Completion of a trapper education program provided by a state wildlife agency outside of New Mexico will partially satisfy the education requirements needed to set a trap or snare in New Mexico. Completion of a trapper education course through another entity, such as AFWA’s “North American Basic Trapper Course” or the Fur Takers of America’s “Trapper College”, may also partially satisfy the education requirements; contact the NMDGF Trapper Education Program at 505-476-8038 to confirm.

Anyone who has completed a trapper education course in another state will need to:

  1. Provide proof of completion of the course either in person or by email. When purchasing their New Mexico Trapper License, they will need to enter their Trapper Education number from their certificate provided by that state.
  2. Complete the New Mexico Furbearer Laws and Species Identification course (click here). A required quiz on these course materials can be found using the NMDGF Online Licensing website.

New Mexico Furbearer Hunter Education Course

Every person hunting furbearers (not setting traps or snares) must successfully complete any one of the 3 furbearer education courses listed above. The New Mexico Furbearer Hunting Course is an abbreviated version of the New Mexico Furbearer Law and Species Identification Course, covering only the information that applies to hunting furbearers. If you have not yet taken any of the 3 furbearer education courses, completion of the New Mexico Furbearer Hunting Course will satisfy the furbearer education requirement. The New Mexico Furbearer Hunting Course does not cover trapping and does not satisfy the requirements to set traps or snares in New Mexico. If you anticipate that you may set traps or snares in New Mexico, it is advised that you take the New Mexico Trapper Education Course because you are required to take this course prior to setting a trap or a snare.

Click here for the New Mexico Furbearer Hunting Course.

You are required to successfully pass a quiz on these materials, which can be found using the NMDGF Online Licensing website.