Factors Affecting the Distribution and Harvest of River Otters in Louisiana

Data from a trapper survey in Louisiana for the 1980-81 season were used to estimate river otter (Lutra canadensis) harvest for each parish, and the data were compared in a step-wise regression procedure in 53 noncoastal parishes with independent variables thought to affect otter harvest. Of the factors tested, those most responsible for variation in the number of otters harvested were the amount of forested and nonforested wetlands, number of trapping licenses sold, and acreage of cotton in 1980. Otter occurrence was indexed in 6 parishes by otter latrine sites in transects along selected water bodies during summer 1981 and winter 1981-82. Latrine sites occurred along 18.9% and 20.3% of the survey lines during the summer and winter surveys, respectively. Most latrine sites were observed along streams with abundant fish activity and low human disturbance.

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