The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge will offer furbearer trapping rights on a sealed bid basis for the 2024 season.
Fifteen trapping units will be available. An individual may bid on one or more units, but only three units will be awarded to any bidder. The successful bidder must personally trap the unit; subleasing is prohibited. Bid invitations, maps, and other details are available by calling Matt Whitbeck, Wildlife Biologist, at 410-221-2034. Inspection of the units will be allowed from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., December 4-7 and December 11-14, 2023, with a scouting permit.
Bids must be received at the refuge office by 5:00 pm on December 14, 2023. Successful bidders will be notified by mail. The Refuge must receive full payment on or before December 29, 2023, for successful bidders to receive their permit.
Trapping for muskrat, raccoon, fox, skunk, and opossum will begin on January 1, 2024, and end on March 15, 2024, unless extensions have been made by both the state and the refuge.
Trapping on Blackwater NWR is a management activity designed to control the population levels of furbearers as well as provide an economic benefit to local trappers. Uncontrolled muskrat populations can seriously damage marsh vegetation, which is vital to waterfowl, other migratory birds, and the health of the Chesapeake Bay.