Muskrat Hunting and Trapping

Has Youth Season


ND Resident Only

See Regulations



Season Dates

Season Hunting Units Opens Closes Season Dates Status
Regular - Traps Statewide Finalized
Regular - Cable Devices, Firearms, Archery Equipment Statewide Finalized

License Requirements

General Requirements

Except for residents under 16 years of age, a furbearer license is required to hunt or trap furbearers.

Nonresidents may not take furbearers, except they may hunt fox and coyote if they possess a furbearer and nongame license. Exceptions: Residents of a state that allows North Dakota residents to trap within that state, may purchase a nonresident reciprocal trapping license to trap in this state. Nonresidents having this license may not take bobcats, mountain lions, river otters or fishers.

Hunters and trappers are required to purchase licenses, except any resident, or member of his or her family permanently residing with him or her, may hunt small game, trap or use cable devices during the open season without a license upon land owned or leased by him or her, but otherwise is governed by seasons, limits and all other regulations.

Residents do not need a license to take unprotected species of wildlife (prairie dogs, rabbits, skunks, ground squirrels). Nonresidents hunting only unprotected species of wildlife need only a nongame license.

Residents must possess the following licenses:

  • Fishing, Hunting, and Furbearer Certificate
  • Furbearer License (not required of residents under age 16), or
  • Combination License (includes Small Game, General Game and Habitat, Furbearer, and Fishing licenses)
  • Military - Upon presentation of valid leave papers and a valid North Dakota operator's license, a resident who is on leave and is an active duty as a member of the United States armed forces or the United States merchant marine may hunt small game, fish, or trap during the open season without a license.

Nonresidents must possess the following licenses:

  • Bobcats, Mountain Lions, Fishers, River Otter - May not be taken by nonresidents.
  • Badger, Beaver, Mink, Muskrat, Raccoon, Weasel - May only be taken with traps or cable devices by nonresidents whose home state has a reciprocal trapping agreement with North Dakota.
    • Required licenses:
      • Nonresident Fishing, Hunting, and Furbearer Certificate
      • Nonresident Reciprocal Trapping License
  • Coyote, Fox (Red and Gray)
    • Required licenses:
      • Nonresident Fishing, Hunting, and Furbearer Certificate
      • Nonresident Furbearer and Nongame License (to hunt) or Nonresident Reciprocal Trapping License (to take with traps or cable devices)


Species Specific Regulations

Muskrat huts may be opened to insert traps or cable devices. However, huts must be restored to their approximate original condition to prevent freeze-up.

Traps – Beginning March 16, colony traps must be under at least 2 inches of water and trapping on the outside of any muskrat house or structure is prohibited; traps may be placed completely inside a muskrat house or structure of any size; except when used on float sets, foothold traps must be submerged under water at all times or have a protective covering; body-gripping traps used in a water set can have no more than 2 inches of the trap above water or a protective covering.

Beginning May 1, float sets must have a protective covering.

Cable devices – Mink and muskrat may be captured statewide using legal cable devices. Beginning March 16, using cable devices on the outside of any muskrat house or structure of any size is prohibited.

Firearms, archery equipment – Mink and muskrat may be hunted statewide with rimfire cartridges of .22 caliber or smaller, muzzleloaders of .45 caliber or smaller or archery equipment

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department, along with the North Dakota Fur Takers Association, recommends that all traps be visually inspected and all captured animals be removed at no greater than 48-hour intervals, and that rubber gloves be worn for skinning and handling of all furbearers.