Reporting the Accidental Catch of Lynx in Traps

Although Maine’s trapping regulations have been modified to reduce the chance that a lynx will be caught in a trap, accidental catches still occur.

Trapper’s that are setting traps during Maine’s regulated trapping season for upland furbearers are required to report accidental catches of lynx to IFW.

Call 207-592-4734 Phone monitored: 24 hrs a day and 7 days a week during the trapping season.

Captured lynx must be reported to a game warden or biologist of the Department 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 the time it was discovered.

  • IFW staff are available to help you release the animal
  • IFW staff can help you assess the animal for injury
  • You can also contact your local MDIFW office or State Police Barracks to report a lynx capture

IFW Response to Lynx In Traps

When a lynx is caught, IFW Wildlife Biologists and Game Wardens work closely to:

  1. Enforce Maine trapping regulations
  2. Investigate all accidental catches of lynx in traps
  3. Assist trappers with the release of lynx from traps
  4. Assess lynx for injuries based on written criteria developed with a veterinarian
  5. Determine when a lynx needs veterinarian care and seek treatment
  6. Document take of lynx and provide report to US Fish and Wildlife Service

When a lynx is caught, IFW Wildlife Biologists and Game Wardens document how the animal was captured, assess the lynx for any injuries that it may have incurred, assist with releasing the lynx, and check compliance with state trapping regulations.

Trapping Regulations to Reduce Lynx in Traps

Summary (see trapping regulations for complete description)

Current Foothold trapping regulations           

  • Traps can be set for 10 weeks (15 October to December 31)
  • Traps must be checked each day
  • Trappers required to report lynx catches
  • Bait cannot be visible during the early coyote/fox season
  • Foothold traps in WMDs 1-6 and 8-11 set on dry ground can NOT have an inside jaw spread greater than 5 3/8 inches and must have at least one swivel.

Current Upland Conibear Trapping Regulations

  • Traps can be set for 8 weeks each fall (November and December)
  • In organized towns, traps must be checked once a day
  • In unorganized towns, traps must be checked at least once every 5 days
  • Bait must be covered to withstand
  • In WMDs 1-11, 14, 18, and 19, killer-type (conibear) traps with an inside jaw spread of 5 inches or less may be set on the ground if set without bait, lure, or visible attractors.
  • In WMDs 1-11, 14, 18, and 19, killer-type (conibear) traps with an inside jaw spread of up to 8 inches can be set on land, if set
  • 4 feet above ground or snow level,
  • 4 feet away from any bank, objects greater than 4 inches wide, and trees or poles slanted less than 45° between the ground & the height of the trap.
  • on a tree or pole that is no greater than 4 inches wide at 4 feet above the ground and
  • at an angle of 45° or greater the entire distance from the ground to the trap.
  • A pole must be a natural section of tree that has not been planed or sawed to create a flat surface.
  • In WMDs 7, 14, 18 and 19 killer-type traps (conibears) with 7 1/2 inch or less jaw spread (#220) can be set on the ground with a lynx exclusion device. A federal court settlement decree prevents the use of lynx exclusion devices in WMD 1-11. However, these devices may be allowed if the USFWS issues an incidental take permit.

Lynx Exclusion Device designed by Maine Trapper's Association and tested by IFW


  • Stake foothold traps with chains less than 9 1/2 inches long
  • Set foothold traps where the potential for entanglement in vegetation/debris is low
  • Attach the chains on foothold traps at the center of the trap frame

For More Detailed Information on minimizing the accidental catch of lynx in traps:

See also: Lynx information