- Published: 01 October 2012
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From the Illinois State Senate
State Senator John Sullivan, 47th Legislative District
For Immediate Release: October 1, 2012
Legislation will help control overpopulation of river otters
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois trappers will be able to harvest river otter pelts this year thanks to a legislative effort, led by Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville), to establish an otter-trapping season with reasonable limits. Sen. Sullivan worked to reinstate otter trapping after it became clear that the state’s once-dwindling otter population had fully recovered.
“The reintroduction of the river otter is an astounding success story for conservation in Illinois,” Sen. Sullivan said. “Now, however, the animals are so numerous they have become a nuisance to some landowners by decimating the fish population in ponds and lakes.”
The trapping season – the first in Illinois since 1929 – will begin November 5 in areas north of Interstate 72 and November 10 in the rest of the state. The season runs through March 31. Each licensed trapper may harvest up to five pelts per season and must purchase a $5 registration permit for each pelt from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Otters killed on a roadway may also be collected for their pelts during the season.
In 1990, there were fewer than 100 river otters in Illinois; IDNR now estimates more than 10,000 of the furbearing mammals live along the state’s lakes, ponds and rivers.
Sen. Sullivan worked with IDNR and the Illinois Trappers Association to find an effective way to control the growth of the otter population. Sullivan sponsored House Bill 1724, which passed the Senate last year with overwhelming bipartisan support.