SPRINGFIELD (AP) -- At least 500 otters have been caught so far in Illinois' first river otter trapping season since 1929.
Bob Bluett of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says that total comes with the season less than half over. Illinois' season began in November, and it closes statewide March 31.
The prime weeks are still ahead and it's a bit early to tell how the season is going overall.
Carroll Williams of the Illinois Trappers Association says he's talked to several trappers who are having a successful season, including one who'd caught five otters -- which is the season limit.
Otters were scarce in Illinois until their reintroduction in the mid-1990s. Their population has since boomed -- growing to an estimated 11,000 by 2009.