The state Natural Resources Commission has approved a DNR proposal to create a continuous open season on raccoons. DNR wildlife biologist, Vince Evelsizer, told the commission the request was not taken lightly and came after a review of various raccoon population surveys.
He says there’s been a steady increase in the raccoon population in roughly the last 20 years. Evelsizer says they also have consulted with the wildlife depredation staff that deal with raccoons and deer and other animals that annually eat up crops and cause other problems.
Evelsizer says having a continuous raccoon season will provide some help with the issues.
Evelsizer says they’ve also seen an increase in distemper outbreaks around the state, which he says is typically indicative of a high density of raccoons.
The senior director in the Wildlife Protection department at the Humane Society of the United States, Jill Frtiz, did speak out against the issue during the public comment portion of the NRC meeting.
The Natural Resources Commission also approved a proposal to extend the regular trapping season for other furbearers by one month.
That extension impacts the trapping of mink, muskrat, badger, opossum, weasel, striped skunk, fox (Red and Gray), beaver, coyote, river otters, bobcats, gray (Timber) wolf and spotted skunk. A public comment period on the proposed change will be set for some time in January, and then there will be a public hearing on the issue in February.