Quotas and Fur Seasons
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Fur-bearer Seasons

The following tables list the seasons in each Fur Management Zone.

O - October    N - November    D - December    J - January    F - February    M - March    Ap - April    Ma - May

SPECIES Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6 Zone 7 Zone 8
Badger CLOSED CLOSED D1-Ap15 D1-Ap15 D1-Ap15 D1-Ap15 D1-Ap15 D1-M31
Beaver O1-Ma15 O1-Ma15 O1-Ma15 O1-Ma15 O1-Ma31 O15-Ma15 O15-Ap30 O15-Ap30
Bobcat CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED D1-J31 CLOSED N1-F28
Coyote O1-F28 O1-F28 O1-F28 O1-F283 O1-F283 O1-F283 O1-F28 O1-F28
Fisher N1-J312&4 N1-J312&4 N1-J312 N1-J312 N1-J312 CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED
Fox O1-J314 O1-J314 O1-F28 O1-F28 O1-F28 O1-F28 O1-F28 O1-F28
Lynx D1-F152 D1-F152 D1-F152 D1-F152 D1-F152 D1-F152 CLOSED CLOSED
Marten N1-J314 N1-J314 N1-J312 N1-J31 N1-J31 N1-J31 CLOSED CLOSED
Mink N1-J314 N1-J314 N1-J31 N1-J31 N1-J31 N1-J31 N1-J31 N1-J31
Muskrat O1-Ma15 O1-Ma15 O1-Ma15 O1-Ma15 O1-Ma15 O15-Ma15 O15-Ap30 O15-Ap30
Otter D1-Ma151 D1-Ma151 D1-Ma151 D1-Ma151&6 CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED
Squirrel N1-F28 N1-F28 N1-F28 N1-F28 N1-F28 N1-F28 N1-F28 N1-F28
Weasel N1-F28 N1-F28 N1-F285 N1-F28 N1-F28 N1-F28 N15-F145 N15-F145
Wolf O1-M31 O1-M31 O1-M31 O1-M313 O1-M313 O1-F283&7 O1-F28 O1-F28
Wolverine N1-J311&4 N1-J311&4 N1-J311 N1-J311 N1-J311 N1-J311 CLOSED CLOSED

(1) This season is provided only for those who are authorized under the authority of a Registered Fur Management Licence.

(2) This season is provided only for those who are authorized under the authority of a Registered Fur Management Licence, Indian Fur Management Licence or Métis Fur Management Licence issued under the Métis Settlements Act.

(3) Seasonal Snaring Restriction: In order to reduce the potential for accidental harvest of Grizzly Bears, seasonal snaring restrictions will apply for Fur Management Zones 4, 5 and 6. For the period October 1 through November 30, the use of snares is ONLY ALLOWED in the following WMUs of Fur Management Zones 4, 5 and 6 (WMUs 314, 316, 318, 320, 322, 324, 330, 332, 334, 336, 337, 338, 348, 360, 410, 412, 414, 416, 417, 418, 507, 508 and 521).

(4) Season extended to February 15, 2016, in WMUs 524, 532, 534, 536, and 539.

(5) Weasel may not be harvested in that part of the province described as ranges 1 – 5, west of the 4th meridian, from the international boundary to the north boundary of township 63. This does not apply to Indian Reserves and Métis Settlements set aside under the Métis Settlements Act, which fall within the area described.

(6) This season applies only to WMUs 330, 336 to 360, 507, 508 and 521.

(7) This season does not apply in WMUs 314, 316, 318, 410, 412, 414, 416, 417 and 418. The season for wolves in these WMUs is from October 1 - March 31.


Black Bear Seasons and Baiting

Six black bear may be hunted but not trapped in each Registered Fur Management Area north of the Red Deer River during the open season for black bear. Registered trappers who are permitted to hunt black bear on their RFMA may use bait for that purpose in the following WMUs: 322, 330-338, 348, 358-360, 500-507, 509, 510, 512-520, 522, 523, 529-536, 539-544 and portions of 320, 324, 357, 521, 526, and 528. Baiting is prohibited within 1.6 km (1 mi) of occupied dwellings (owners or occupants of dwellings are exempted from this restriction if they have permission to bait from the owner or occupant of all other dwellings within 1.6 km of the bait), provincial parks, provincial and forest recreation areas and some industrial sites. Each bait site must have a readily observable sign legibly showing the owner’s name or Registered Fur Management Area number. Furthermore, each bait must be posted with surrounding signs to warn other people of its presence. Also, baiting is restricted to the open season and preceding 2 weeks in each specific WMU. See this section of the current Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations.


Primeness of Pelts

Furs that are at their peak in quality (their prime) offer trappers the greatest financial return. Successful trappers concentrate their efforts so that they collect most of their furs when pelts are in their prime.

The pelt of a fur-bearing animal is in its prime when the underfur is dense, deep and well covered by the longer guard hair. The leather side should be clear and white or slightly blue, and pliable. Each species reaches its prime during a short period of the season. The following table shows the approximate time of the year when each species is in its prime.




Limits

The various species of fur-bearers differ in abundance, distribution and opportunity to harvest. Registered Fur Management Areas (RFMAs) also vary in size. To allow trappers a greater opportunity to manage fur-bearers, varied limits exist.

Limits for fisher, lynx and otter within each RFMA have been linked to the size of the trapping area. A basic quota for these species will apply for all RFMAs up to two townships in size. Additional increments will be added for additional townships (or parts of a township).

These increments vary according to WMU. (Please note: the higher quota applies when an RFMA falls into WMUs having different limits.) The following table lists the limits and increments applicable to RFMAs lying in the designated FMZs or WMUs (see map).


Registered Fur Management Area Limits

ZONES Fisher Canada Lynx River Otter Wolverine
Basic Limit Increase for excess Twp* Basic Limit Increase for excess Twp* Basic Limit Increase for excess Twp* Basic Limit
Zone 1
WMU 511, 512, 516-519, 529
10 3 10 4 10 3 1
Zone 1
WMU 530-532
10 3 10 5 8 2 1
Zone 2
WMU 357-359, 522-527,
534-537, 539
10 4 12 5 2 1 1
Zone 2
WMU 520, 528, 540-542, 544
10 4 12 5 6 3 1
Zone 3 6 4 4 2 10 3 1
Zone 4
WMU 320-328, 332, 334, 429
3 1 5 2 0 0 1
Zone 4
WMU 330, 336-342, 348, 507, 508
3 1 5 2 1 0 1
Zone 4
WMU 344, 346, 347, 352
3 1 5 2 2 1 1
Zone 4
WMU 349, 353-356, 360, 521
10 4 6 3 2 1 1
Zone 4
WMU 350, 351
10 4 6 3 2 1 1
Zone 5 1 1 4 2 0 0 1
Zone 6 0 0 3 1 0 0 1
Zone 7 & 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

* Increase for each Township (Twp), or part of it, in excess of two Townships.


Mandatory Registration

If fisher, lynx, otter or wolverine are killed during an open season they must be registered within 30 days of the close of that season. If they are killed outside of an open season they must be registered within 30 days of the kill. In all cases they must be registered before being sold, processed or exported.

To register fur-bearing animals the trapper must take the pelt in to a Fish and Wildlife office or another approved location.

All wolves taken in any of WMUs 300-318, 324-330, 339 or 400-434 under any authority must be registered within 30 days of harvest.

All bobcat taken under any authority must be registered before the skin is sold, processed or exported from Alberta or within 30 days after the date of harvest.

Registration is a way of recording information about the harvest of fur-bearers. This information helps fur managers set seasons and quotas for following years. Registration provides information such as:
  • the size and number of males, females and juvenile animals captured;
  • the time of the season they were caught; and
  • where they were caught.

Trappers benefit from the mandatory registration requirement because it allows for appropriate changes in quotas and seasons. Accurate data prevents the over-harvest of sensitive species of fur-bearers, ensuring a viable resource for the future (click here for registration information).


Fisher Head and Wolverine Carcass Collection Program

Mandatory registration of certain furbearers provides valuable information to wildlife managers. Additional information on fisher and wolverine is needed to help determine the age structure, reproductive capability and general health of these populations.

Fish and Wildlife offices (see page 6) will issue a direct payment of $5.00 to trappers for each fisher head and wolverine carcass submitted. Each item should be individually labelled with the date of harvest, the trapper’s name, and the RFMA number. In order to provide the greatest benefit, carcasses must be submitted by March 10 of each year. Your participation in these programs is very much appreciated. The information trappers provide is vital to the sustainable management of Alberta’s furbearer resource.

During the 2015-16 trapping season, Alberta’s Registered Fur Management Licence holders continued to support our fisher monitoring efforts through the submission of heads. This program resulted in the analysis of 375 fishers and 8 wolverines from across the province (23% and 12% of the seasons harvest of these animals respectively).

From the samples submitted there were 93 adult females, 61 adult males, 88 juvenile females and 133 juvenile males. The 2015-16 season yielded a juvenile to adult female ratio of 2.38:1. This ratio indicates a slightly lower reproduction rate than the desired target of 3:1, juveniles to adult females.

Thank you for the continued support of our efforts to sustainably manage Alberta’s furbearers.


Sale of Wildlife

In Alberta anyone may sell the following:
  • processed (tanned or otherwise permanently preserved, but not dried, salted or frozen) skins of fur-bearing animals;
  • black bear skins, provided they have been taken lawfully (black bear claws may only be sold if they remain attached to the whole skin);
  • the skins of most animals, including skunk and raccoon, for which a licence is not required;
  • skinned beaver carcasses including the tail; or
  • the claws, skulls and teeth of lawfully taken fur-bearing animals.

Sale of Pelts and Parts
No pelt of any fur-bearing animal, except one taken according to the regulations listed under Control of Problem Wildlife, may be wasted, destroyed or spoiled. No raw skins of fur-bearing animals may be sold to anyone who is not a fur dealer. Anyone in legal possession of a beaver may sell the skinned carcass of the beaver to use as bait or animal food. Except as noted under Exporting (below), it is unlawful to export from Alberta all, or any part of, the skin or pelt of a fur-bearing animal, without first obtaining a provincial Export Permit.

The claws, skulls and teeth of lawfully taken fur-bearing animals may be sold without restriction (note that black bears are not included as they are big game animals). These parts of fur-bearing animals may also be exported without a provincial export permit (note that Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna — CITES permits are required for exporting any part of a wolf, lynx, bobcat or otter across an international boundary).


Exporting

With some exceptions noted below, those wishing to export fur-bearing animals from Alberta must have a provincial export permit. These permits may be obtained from any Fish & Wildlife office.

Persons exporting wolf, lynx, bobcat, otter or black bear products out of Canada must also obtain a federal export permit issued according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Information about CITES permits may be obtained at Environment Canada offices in Edmonton (780-951-8891) or Calgary (403-292-4103).

The following products* may be exported without a provincial export permit:

  • beaver castor,
  • beaver oil glands, claws, skulls and teeth of fur-bearing animals, and
  • processed (tanned or otherwise permanently preserved, but not dried, salted or frozen) skins of fur-bearing animals.
  • coyote skins lawfully possessed.

*The above products must have been harvested under a lawful authority in Alberta or elsewhere.

(Note: Black bear are classified as big game, not as fur-bearing animals. Most black bears taken from an RFMA require provincial export permits. For more information on export conditions for black bear, please contact the nearest Fish & Wildlife office. CITES permits are still required for exporting any part of a black bear, wolf, lynx, bobcat or otter across an international boundary.)

*Persons exporting fur directly to the European Union without using the services of Canadian fur auction houses, should be aware that special documents may be required. Please contact the receiving jurisdiction for applicable information.

Commercial Export of Wildlife to the United States
The United Sates Fish and Wildlife Service (US FWS) regulates commercial shipments of wildlife that enter or leave the U.S. In particular, taxidermist, trappers and outfitter-guides may experience difficulties transporting wildlife to the U.S. unless such businesses are licenced with the US FWS for transporting commercial shipments of wildlife across the U.S. border. For more information, contact the US FWS at 1-800-344-9453 or view information at: www.fws.gov

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