Trapping Laws in Utah: A Detailed Review

Nestled in the heart of nature’s tapestry, Utah boasts a vibrant tapestry of wildlife, each species adding its unique touch to the picturesque landscape. This majestic state cherishes its natural treasures, and as such, has established rigorous regulations governing the art of animal trapping. These regulations, rooted in a profound commitment to wildlife welfare, ensure that trapping endeavors harmonize with the delicate balance of the ecosystem, promoting sustainability, ethical practices, and invaluable contributions to the natural order.

Utah Trapping Laws: The Fundamentals

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) administers specific laws that govern trapping activities within the state. The key points of these laws are as follows:

  • All traps must bear an identification number provided by the DWR or the trapper’s name and address. This rule is applicable to all kinds of traps, including box traps, snare traps, and foot-hold traps.
  • It is unlawful to set traps within 30 feet of exposed bait.
  • Trappers are obligated to inspect their traps every 48 hours and remove any animals caught.
  • Animals inadvertently trapped but not intended for trapping should be released unharmed.

Violations of these laws carry penalties, which can include fines and potential suspension of trapping privileges.

Species that are Legally Trappable in Utah

The trapping laws of Utah detail certain animals that are permitted to be trapped. They are listed as follows:

  1. Beaver
  2. Muskrat
  3. Mink
  4. Weasel
  5. Raccoon
  6. Fox
  7. Coyote
  8. Ringtail
  9. Bobcat

Each of these species can only be trapped during their respective trapping seasons. Any trapping activity outside these periods is considered illegal and is subject to punishment by law.

Acquiring a Trapping License in Utah

Utah law mandates the procurement of a trapping license for engaging in trapping activities. These licenses are of three main types:

  • Furbearer License: This license is required for individuals who wish to trap, chase, or pursue furbearers. A furbearer is any mammal that is traditionally hunted or trapped primarily for its fur.
  • Bobcat Permit: To trap bobcats, a special permit is required along with the Furbearer License. The bobcat trapping season generally lasts from the end of November to the beginning of March. However, the exact dates should be verified with the DWR each year.
  • Raccoon and Coyote Trapping: Trapping raccoons and coyotes is legal in Utah. A Furbearer License is necessary for raccoons, whereas no specific license is needed for trapping coyotes.

Remember that these licenses need to be renewed annually. For the most accurate information and any changes to the licensing process, trappers should consult the DWR’s official website.

Trapping Regulations for Specific Animals

The regulations for trapping raccoons and coyotes, two of the most common animals trapped in Utah, are detailed below:

Raccoon Trapping

Raccoon trapping requires a Furbearer License. The regulations are as follows:

  • The legal trapping season typically runs from the start of October to the end of February.
  • It is forbidden to release live-trapped raccoons off the property where they were caught unless they are euthanized or released at a DWR-approved relocation site.

Coyote Trapping

Coyote trapping doesn’t require a specific license in Utah. Here are the regulations:

  • There is no designated trapping season, meaning coyotes can be trapped throughout the year.
  • Despite the lack of specific regulations, trappers must still adhere to ethical practices while trapping coyotes.

Trapping Equipment and Best Practices

Utah’s trapping laws also cover the equipment and practices that can be used:


  • Trappers may use cage or box traps, foot-hold traps, body-gripping traps, and snares, provided they are in accordance with Utah’s trapping laws.
  • For aquatic sets, body-gripping traps must have a jaw spread of 5 inches or less, and foothold traps must have a jaw spread of 6 inches or less.
  • For land sets, body-gripping traps must have a jaw spread of 7.5 inches or less, and foothold traps must have a jaw spread of 5.75 inches or less.

Trap Checking

  • Traps must be inspected at least every 48 hours. Trappers are encouraged to check their traps more frequently to minimize the potential suffering of trapped animals.
  • Trapped animals must be immediately removed from the trap. If a non-target animal is captured, it should be released unharmed whenever possible.

Trap Marking

  • All traps must be marked with the trapper’s name and address or an identification number provided by the DWR. This helps authorities identify and contact trappers if necessary.


Understanding and adhering to Utah’s trapping laws is crucial for both the sustainability of the state’s wildlife and the ethical practice of trapping. These laws, governed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, cover a range of aspects from the need for licenses, permitted species, trapping seasons, and the use of specific trapping equipment. Regardless of the targeted species or trapping purpose, these laws ensure balance and respect within Utah’s rich ecosystem. As trappers, it’s incumbent upon us to uphold these rules, not only to avoid legal repercussions, but to contribute to the preservation and respect of Utah’s diverse wildlife for future generations.


Q: What if I accidentally trap an animal outside of its trapping season?

A: In such scenarios, the trapped animal should be released unharmed immediately. If the animal is injured, the incident should be reported to the DWR.

Q: Can I use electronic calls for trapping?

A: Yes, electronic calls can be used, provided they are not used to trap protected species out of their respective trapping seasons.

Q: Can I trap on private lands?

A: Trapping is allowed on private lands with the landowner’s permission. If you are a landowner, you can trap on your land, but appropriate licenses and adherence to Utah trapping regulations are still required.

Q: Can a non-resident apply for a trapping license in Utah?

A: Yes, non-residents can apply for a trapping license in Utah, but they must meet all the requirements set forth by the DWR.