Lynx Protection and Trap Restrictions

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Canada lynx are a federally listed Threatened Species. There is no open season for the trapping or hunting of lynx in Maine. The Department has delineated statewide and WMD specific regulations to protect lynx and to help Maine trappers avoid accidentally taking lynx.

Foothold Traps

  • Statewide: When set on dry land, trap must have at least three swiveling points (at the base of the trap, midway in the chain, and at the trap's anchoring point). Foothold traps cannot be set above ground or snow level. These restrictions do not apply to foothold traps that when set, placed, or tended are fully or partially covered by water, those that are set on a muskrat "float", or dog-proof traps also known as enclosed foothold traps.
  • WMDs 1-11, 14, 18, and 19: When set on dry land, the use of drags is prohibited and the catch circle must be cleared of woody vegetation, debris and man-made material that could cause entanglement of a trapped animal.
  • WMDs 1-6 and 8-11: No foothold trap may be used that has an inside jaw spread of more than 5⅜ inches unless when set, placed, and tended, the trap is completely underwater.

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Killer-type (Conibear) Traps

Killer-type (conibear) traps must be set within a lynx exclusion device when set on dry land, except that killer-type traps with an inside jaw spread of 5 inches or less may be set without an exclusion device if the trap is set so as to be partially covered by water at all times, set under an overhanging stream bank, or used at a blind set without the use of bait, lure or visible attractor. For more information on foothold and killer-type traps, see Regulations for Specific Types of Traps.

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What do I do if I Catch a Lynx?

A person who catches a lynx must call the lynx hotline at (207) 592-4734 or a local game warden as soon as possible and prior to removing the animal from the trap, unless a Department official cannot be reached in time to prevent injury to the lynx. Any lynx released under this provision must be reported to the Department within 24 hours from this time it was discovered.

The lynx hotline ((207) 592-4734) is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the trapping season. In most circumstances a biologist will chemically immobilize, examine, and release the lynx. For more information on lynx please call (207) 287-8000 or visit the lynx page.

If you catch a cat and are uncertain whether it is a bobcat or a lynx, please contact us immediately at (207) 592-4734.

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Canada Lynx Protection Zone for Trapping Restrictions

Canada Lynx Protection Zone Map

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Lynx vs. Bobcat: Know the Difference

Lynx and Bobcat

If you trap a bobcat that looks like a cross between a lynx and a bobcat, we would like to know about it. We have recovered several lynx-bobcat hybrids in north central Maine and are interested in documenting other specimens. Remember, if you are uncertain whether you have trapped a lynx or a bobcat please call a biologist or warden before dispatching the animal. If you have already dispatched the animal, and think it has unusual characteristics for a bobcat, we are still interested in seeing it.

Lynx Bobcat
Ear Tufts Generally greater than 1" Generally less than 1"
Facial Ruffs Larger facial ruffs with black banding at outer edges Smaller facial ruffs with less distinct banding on outer edge

Pelt Color

More uniform coat color. Generally grey pelt including the back of the hind legs. Belly fur greyish white with some black spots. Reddish brown pelt with distinctive dark brown fur along the back of the hind legs. Belly fur white with distinct black spots.
Tail Color Generally matches body color except the entire tip (about the last 1") is black Usually has dark bars and the tip of the tail is black on upper side but is white on underside


Large and snowshoe-like feet and hind legs are longer than the front, giving a "stooped" appearance Smaller feet (proportional to body) and hind legs are not as long as lynx
Track Size In dirt: up to 3 3/8" wide x 3 ¾" long
In snow: up to 5 ½"" wide x 5 ½" long
Stride: 11-18"
In dirt: up to 2 5/8" wide x 2 ½" long
In snow: up to 2 ½" wide x 2 ½" long
Stride: 6-14"