Lethal methods (hunting and trapping) should be used as a last resort when dealing with any wildlife related issue. Given that otters are managed at the state level dealing with damage issues is regulated on a state-by-state basis. Lethal methods can be used throughout the year depending on the situation. However, it is recommended removing otters during the state trapping season (mid-November to end of February) to provide the potential to sell the pelt if desired. During the trapping season, you can purchase a trapping license and trap the problem otter(s) yourself, or you can seek assistance from a licensed fur trapper to remove otters. Fur trappers will often trap otters for little or no charge since they may sell the otter’s pelt for profit. KDFWR offers a trapper registry by county that can be used to find fur trappers in your area. Refer to KDFWR hunting and trapping guides for specific season dates and legal methods for trapping. Information to find Kentucky trapping regulations will be in the References section of this document. Trapping regulations may change year to year, so make sure to check the most up-to-date regulations.

Another option, particularly outside of trapping season, is to either personally obtain a Commercial Nuisance Wildlife Control (CNWC) permit, or hire someone who is a CNWC operator, to remove the nuisance otter(s).  If you are dealing with otter issues on your personal property, then you have more legal powers related to dealing with the problem. The Kentucky Revised Statute, KRS 150.170 allows Kentucky citizens, or designees, the ability to remove nuisance wildlife at any time of the year if it is causing damage to your property as long as the species is not federally-protected. However, otters removed under this statute may not be used for any purpose (i.e., sale of pelt) and are required to be left onsite or destroyed. To summarize, under KRS 150.170, you have the right to lethally remove an otter if it is a nuisance (causing damage) outside of the trapping/hunting season without tags/permit requirements, but you are not allowed to keep the otter pelt or carcass.

River otters are listed in the Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This means that although they are not currently threatened with extinction, their use and trade must be monitored to prevent overexploitation. KDFWR states that “harvested otters must be telechecked (a method of reporting) by calling 1-800-245-4263 by midnight on the day the animal is recovered, before processing the carcass, and before transporting raw fur, pelt, or unskinned carcasses out of Kentucky.” It is necessary to attach a KDFWR issued CITES tag to raw fur of a river otter taken in Kentucky you intend to sell or export internationally. If you have any questions, you can contact your local KDFWR conservation officer or wildlife biologist. These resources are listed in the References section.

Click on one of following lethal options: