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  Monday January 26th, 2015    

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Beaver dams, damage evident this time of year (11/26/2003)
As local producers remove the last of their crops from the fields, it quickly becomes apparent if there has been any wildlife damage. While there are usually few incidences of beaver damage, this year could be an exception.

Damage caused by beavers appears to be slightly higher this year, possibly due to drier conditions, according to Jeremy Holtz, assistant area wildlife manager at Slayton. "Although beavers can be positive contributors to wildlife management, for example by constructing dams that can form small wetlands that provide resting areas for migrating waterfowl, they can also cause problems," Holtz noted.

Beavers cut down trees (or even sometimes cornstalks) to construct dams and the restriction of water flow can cause drainage problems for upstream landowners, Holt explained. To deal with problem beavers, the DNR offers the following advice and information.

To protect trees in your yard, purchase _" hardware mesh and construct a 30" cylinder around the base of the trunk. Energized fencing may be necessary to protect larger areas, such as cornfields. This fencing may be available through a cooperative agreement with the DNR (contact the DNR wildlife office in Slayton or the office nearest you for details.)

If a beaver pond on your property is desirable, but the water levels are too high for comfort, a Clemson Beaver Pond Leveler (a device that allows water to drain through a beaver dam) can be helpful. If you want to remove the dam entirely, it is usually necessary to remove the beaver first; otherwise, the dam will be quickly rebuilt.

Live trapping and relocation of beavers is not recommended, and the use of poison is prohibited. However, if the damage is occurring on your own land you may shoot or trap the beaver without a permit or license although you are required to contact your local Conservation Officer within 24 hours. If the beavers are on someone else's land, you need permission from the landowner and a free permit from a DNR Conservation Officer. (Check to make sure that discharging firearms or trapping will not violate local ordinances.)

Taking beaver during the open furbearer trapping season (November 1, 2003 through May 15, 2004) is encouraged. Trappers are often available for hire to remove nuisance animals. Contact your local DNR office for a list of trappers in your area. Also, experienced trappers interested in supplying services can supply their names to a local DNR office or Conservation Officer.

While the State of Minnesota does not reimburse producers for wildlife damage, the DNR does work with farmers and landowners to reduce the incidence of further damage through the Wildlife Damage Abatement Program. This program provides technical guidance and materials may also be provided to the landowner at a reduced cost. For details, please contact a DNR wildlife office. 


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