Maine's Furbearer Management Plan

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) initiated comprehensive species planning in 1968 and have refined and expanded the process with each planning update. In 2017, MDIFW completed a major update of its management plans for big game species (deer, bear, moose, and wild turkey). In 2019, MDIFW began updating management plans for furbearer species, a diverse group that includes coyote, red and gray fox, bobcat, fisher, marten, raccoon, skunk, short and long-tailed weasel, mink, otter, beaver, muskrat, and opossum.

In 2019, MDIFW contracted with Responsive Management, an internationally recognized public opinion research firm, to obtain public input regarding the management of furbearers in the state. The study’s objectives were to determine public knowledge of furbearers, attitudes toward trapping, and human-wildlife conflicts of Maine’s residents, hunters, trappers, and landowners. The project gathered input from thousands of Maine residents. Specifically, Responsive Management conducted a scientific survey of Maine residents, hunters, trappers, and landowners; focus group discussions with residents, hunters, trappers, and animal rights advocates; regional public meetings open to the public; and an online discussion forum that allowed for additional input from Maine residents and recreationalists. Check out the Human Dimensions of Furbearer Management in Maine summary report (PDF) or the complete report (PDF).  

The Furbearer Management Plan (PDF) includes the general introduction to the planning process, public survey results, and furbearer management considerations and strategies. The 16 furbearer species are organized into 6 groups with priorities for each. The first seven species chapters (beaver, river otter, American mink, muskrat, Eastern coyote, red and gray fox, and bobcat) are included in the plan, additional species chapters (marten, fisher, and other) will be added to the plan once they are completed and opportunities for public input will again be solicited. Once final, this plan will guide the management of Maine's 16 species of furbearers through 2030.

We're seeking public input on the final phase of the draft 2020–2030 Furbearer Management Plan

We’re seeking public input on Phase Three of the draft 2020–2030 Furbearer Management Plan through Friday, April 21 at 11:59pm.

Phase Three is the final phase of the draft plan and includes the following species chapters: marten, fisher, raccoon, striped skunk, Virginia opossum, short + long-tailed weasel, and red squirrel. Phase Two included Eastern coyote, red and gray fox, and bobcat. Phase One included beaver, river otter, American mink, and muskrat.

How to comment:

Step 1: Review the plan online by clicking here (PDF). Phase Three is pages 131-181.

Step 2: Complete this form to share your feedback. You may comment on any component of the plan. Please be as specific as possible and reference a page and section in your comments.

Steering Committee

MDIFW convened a steering committee to help guide the overall planning process and species subcommittees to provide recommendations for the management of furbearer species. Species have been grouped based on similar management strategies with the following timelines to develop a species plan: Beaver/Otter (2019/20), Mink/Muskrat (2019/20), Canids (2020/21), Bobcat (2020/21), Marten/Fisher (2021/22), and other furbearers (2021/22).

The steering committee is lead by small mammal biologist Shevenell Webb and wildlife special projects coordinator Bob Cordes.

Steering Committee Members (PDF)