It’s always important to discuss the responsibilities that come with land ownership and being a good steward of the land. This includes wildlife management. So, in this post, we’re going to be talking about beaver management: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The beaver (genus Castor), is a large, primarily nocturnal, semi-aquatic rodent. Worldwide, there are two types of species – the North American beaver and the Eurasian beaver.
The average size for a North American (Castor Canadensis) adult male beaver is 60 pounds. But in rare cases, some have reached up to 88 pounds. Beavers are mainly active at night and are excellent swimmers. They tend to stay in the water to avoid land predators and can remain submerged underwater for a total of 15 minutes.
Before the fur trading days, the beaver population was estimated to be between a whopping 100 to 200 million. But whenever the mountain men era (1806-1838) came around, the beaver was nearly brought to the brink of extinction. Today, however, the population is back up in the U.S. and is estimated to be between 10 to 15 million beavers.
As cute and cuddly as beavers may seem, they can create huge problems for landowners. They are not known to attack humans, but they can be extremely dangerous to your property.
Some of the most common problems beavers cause include flooding and tree damage. Felling and gnawing with their powerful jaws, they create massive structures from logs, branches, and mud that block water flow. These blockages can cause serious flooding in a property’s fields and forests.
Beavers also like to build their homes in swamps, around watersheds, on the banks of rivers and ponds, and sometimes under pond dams. Although the wetlands they create are important to the local ecosystem, beaver dams and lodges can disturb water sources.
Because they are herbivores, they also cause significant damage to trees. Their diet consists of tree bark and cambium, a soft tissue that grows under a tree’s bark. They also eat vegetation like tree roots and water plants. But their dinner can quickly wreak havoc on the timber on your property.
If you want to give beaver management a shot and get rid of beavers yourself, there are several things you can do. You can try trapping them with live or lethal traps. When it comes to traps, there are two main types – conibear-style body grip traps and cage-type clamshell traps. You can also avoid beaver problems on your property with active prevention. Some examples of prevention methods include building fences or using trunk guards.
If you plan to remove beavers yourself, make sure to follow federal and state regulations. And check with your local wildlife agencies.