Biological Samples

trapping laws book cover

Trappers are required by law to submit a fully intact lower canine tooth, (preferably in the form of a lower jaw) from any fisher, marten, and otter that is trapped. The Department also asks that for bobcat, a small tissue sample be collected, along with either the lower jaw, or an intact lower lateral incisor tooth (if keeping the skull is desired). These four species receive most of the management related attention from both fur harvesters and biologists. These samples will provide us with the age and sex of the harvest, which will provide needed information related to the management of these species. While this is an extra burden on the fur harvesting community, the information gained will benefit these species for all Maine citizens.

Marking Samples

For each sample, trappers need to fill out a tag that is provided by the Department and attach it to that sample. Since location, age, and sex are used together in the analysis, it is very important that the information on the tag reflects the sample it's attached to.

Submitting Samples

It is the responsibility of the trapper to provide the above described sample free of skin and excess flesh, and with a filled out tag for every bobcat, fisher, marten, and otter that is harvested. These samples should be presented to the tagging agent when any fur/animal is tagged. The agent will get the samples to the Department for analysis.

Sample Collection Instructions

For Fisher, Marten, and Otter:

  1. Remove a lower canine in the form of an intact canine tooth or a lower jaw. (If removing the lower jaw, it is not necessary to provide the entire jaw, just the front portion with both of the lower canines.)
  2. Fill out tag and attach to jaw.
  3. If providing only a canine, place canine and filled out tag into a sealable plastic bag.

For Bobcat:

  1. Collect tissue sample. This can be taken from any part of the muscle. One of the easiest places is to cut off a 1/2 inch portion of the tongue.
  2. Place tissue sample in sealable plastic bag.
  3. Fill out tag and place in bag.
  4. Remove lower jaw with both canines, see (Figure 1 - complete and partial jaw) below, or pull a lateral incisor tooth, see (Figure 2) below.
    • Please ensure that the entire incisor tooth is removed. If the root is broken, we will not be able to age the animal.
    • If removing the lower incisor, it is easiest to do this after having soaked the skull in almost boiling water, and pull tooth with needle nose pliers, or use a razor blade to slide down along each side of the tooth then use a pair of needle nose pliers and pull straight up to remove tooth; this should only be done with a fresh/completely thawed skull.

Figure 1 and Figure 2

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