Beaver control has become a major issue throughout many areas of the U.S. As fur prices have dropped, and antis (animal rights protest industry) continue their war against wildlife utilization, many are discovering that something must be done to control beaver damage. This page will help you sort through the options.
Please read it carefully. A word of warning. There is no magic in the animal damage control industry. Despite what people say, there are few situations where the solution is something easy like a spray.
Before you ask your question please visit our questions page.
Beaver Damage Control Booklet Learn the techniques professionals use to trap and control nuisance beavers.
Conibear Beaver Trapping in Open Water : Master Beaver Trapping Techniques
Sometimes people are seeking information to reduce beaver damage. They don't need total damage elimination, they only need a reduction in the severity. We have listed some strategies here for your perusal.
To protect valued trees from beaver teeth, install hardware cloth around the tree trunk. The mesh should be at least half inch diameter and installed around the tree trunk at least 4 inches away from the trunk. In other words, you are building a fence around the tree to protect it from the beaver. The fences should protect exposed roots and be at least 4 feet high. The fence should be braced by posts to prevent beaver from knocking it down.
We have found that you can even wrap wire fence tight against the tree and still have adequate protection. Also, we have never had a beaver dig under a fence...perhaps we have just been lucky, but we have wrapped over 2000 trees and have over 1 mile of protective fencing."
Used with permission.
This was a new one to me. But some people think that if you flash lights at beaver or around their lodge they will go away. I asked other professionals what they thought of it. And their answer was it doesn't work because of the problem of habituation. Animals get used to things. Although beaver like their surroundings quiet and disturbance free, this method would probably only work when beaver are just beginning to consider moving in. By the time you notice they have already decided to stay.
Most times, the problem can only properly be controlled by lethal means. While some may consider this a tragedy, it can also be seen as a blessed opportunity to utilize this valuable resource. We would encourage the harvest of beavers in season so that their pelts etc. may be used to their fullest extent.
This can be done from a boat or on the bank or on the dam. Try to keep out of the beaver's sight. If you have permission (ie. permits) break the dam so that water level drops rapidly. Do this around dusk. Then wait for the beavers to arrive (to repair the dam). Shotguns would be safer to use then rifles due to the danger of richochet off the water. Of course, all firearm safety and legal precautions should be taken.
Drawback to this method include, beaver can become very wary and difficult to shoot if you don't get them all quickly. Beaver become educated very quickly. You may also have difficulty retrieving the body once the beaver is shot. Make sure you have a boat handy.
This method is by far the most effective and practical. With a little training, beaver can be caught by almost anyone. The difficulty arises when you have educated the beaver, ie. failed to capture him with your set. Beaver can become trap wise. At this point, you will need to consult with us or a professional trapper to help you out. We can also recommend a variety of books that would help you become an effective beaver trapper.
Hancock Beaver Trap: ORDER ON-LINE
On a side note, we received one e-mail which stated that they didn't want to trap because of the danger to pets and children. This fear has little to no basis in reality. While it is a theoretical possibility, (then again so is getting killed by a falling tree branch) it is a remote one. Properly set footholds and conibears (when set for beaver) are not dangerous to the public. We challenge any animal rights group to prove this statement wrong. If you decide to use the Bailey and Hancock traps for beaver then these traps would pose a real threat to children and pets. (I doubt the anti's will agree).
Snares are also a very effective safe and humane trapping method for beaver. Unfortunately, many states haven't legalized snaring and animal rights protest industry advocates don't want this sort of information getting into public hands. However, if you want to learn about beaver snaring let us know. We can recommend some books for you.
One viewer wondered if introducing alligators to a particular area would reduce his beaver problem. While such a scheme may indeed work, WDC is not aware of it ever being tried. There are, however, a number of problems with such a technique. 1. It is probably illegal to introduce new species to an area without special permission. 2. Introducing a new species to an area can wreck the ecological stasis of the area causing more problems than it solves. 3. It is unnecessary as beaver are a valuable resource and trappers can be found to trap them or workers can be trained (see our Store for training information) 4. According to Arlo Kane, a Florida biologists, "Beavers and alligators coexist just fine. Some of the best alligator habitats are beaver ponds. The biggest problem with using alligators to control beavers is that you create a bigger problem than you started with. An alligator big enough to handle a beaver would be big enough to be a danger to the public. Because beavers are generally able to avoid be eaten by an alligator you now have two nuisance problems instead of one. Arlo H. Kane Wildlife Technical Services Biologist Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission. Used with permission. A study on this subject is entitled "Practicality of Reducing a Beaver Population Through the Release of Alligators" pp. 1799ff. published in The Worldwide Furbearer Conference Proceedings August 3-11, 1980 Frostburg, MD Ed. by Joseph Chapman and Duane Pursley.
Melvin Wilson, one of our visitors says the following on "Predator Introduction." "Your article on beaver control was most helpful. I would like to emphasize that using alligators to control beavers is utter nonsense. We live on a river/creek/canal (water three sides). It is a virtual swamp with alligators and beavers as best buddies! They do everything but baby-sit each others kids. PLEASE emphasize that any combination of the two does NOT work. It is illegal for us to trap or kill either animal, so we are open to any and all ideas, but NOT that one! We have tried fencing around trees, Louisiana Hot Sauce, human hair, lights, musical Christmas lights on trees (even in July), lights with rap music, country music, hard rock, and James Brown music (we can now sleep through "I Feel Good"). The infestation is so great that none have worked. 5/18/00.
Disclaimer: WDC seeks to provide accurate, effective and responsible information on resolving human/wildlife conflicts. We welcome suggestions, criticisms to help us achieve this goal. The information provided is for informational purposes only and users of the information use it at their own risk. The reader must consult state/federal officials to determine the legality of any technique in the reader's locale. Some techniques are dangerous to the user and to others. WDC encourages readers to obtain appropriate training (see our informational literature at our Store ), and understand that proper animal damage control involves patience, understanding that not every technique/method works for every situation or even 100% of the time. Your use of this information is governed by this understanding. We welcome potential users of the information and photos to simply ask for permission via e-mail. Finally, WDC welcomes e-mail but understand that all e-mails become property of Wildlife Damage Control.