How to Trap Beavers
Dealing with wild animals on your property can be a tricky and dangerous process, but one that is necessary to ensure the safety of both everyone who frequents your land as well as the beaver itself. Luckily, using the right tricks and tools, trapping beavers is a process that most people can do on their own if they take the proper precautions. If the idea of trapping and releasing wild animals stresses you out, there are professionals that you can hire to take care of the situation for you, but it’s not required. All you really need is a high-quality trap, a bit of know-how, and some patience, and you can solve your beaver problem all on your own. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to quickly and safely trap beavers.
Let’s start simple: what are beavers anyway? Beavers are large semi-aquatic rodents that are common in the Northern Hemisphere. They are the second biggest living rodents in the world and are likely to be the largest pests that you find yourself dealing with. They have large heads, stout bodies, webbed back feet, and, of course, the signature scaly tail. You are most likely to find these creatures in freshwater habitats like rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds; if you are dealing with a beaver problem, you most likely have one of these nearby. They eat tree bark, aquatic plants, grasses, and other vegetation, meaning a body of water doesn’t need to contain fish to house a family of beavers. One of the most common signs of a resident beaver in your area is a beaver dam or lodge, which beavers build using tree branches, rocks, mud, and other local plants. The difference between these two is that a beaver dam is made to affect the flow of water in an area, where a lodge is simply a place for the beavers to call home.
So, how do you deal with rodents as big and clever as beavers? The first step in your beaver trapping process is, of course, selecting the trap you are going to use. If you aren’t sure of the size of your beaver, go for an extra-large trap, or one that is at least 42 inches long and over 15 inches wide. This should be enough room for the beaver to fit comfortably inside without being crammed up against the sides of the trap. To make the process as smooth and painless as possible for both of you, choose a trap that has smooth internal edges and is made out of durable material. We recommend traps that use wire that is at least 2 mm thick and that is galvanized to stand up to wet environments.
Next, you want to find a good place to place your trap. Luckily, this is pretty easy to determine because beavers are predictable and create paths through their habitats that they use on a daily basis. If you can identify one of these paths, positioning your traps along it will give you the best chance to catch your beaver. There are two different types of beaver paths that you can find above water level: beaver slides, and dam crossovers. Beaver slides are the paths beavers use to travel between water and land. These mud paths are about 15-20 inches wide and run perpendicular to the shoreline; set up your trap along the side of these trails to take advantage of this high traffic area. Dam crossovers are paths that beavers use to cross from one side of the dam to the other. Because these are often underwater, you will want to be careful that no more than half of the trap is below water. You don’t want the beaver to drown once it’s caught.
When it comes to baiting the trap, you have a couple of different options to choose from. Beaver castor is one of the most popular and effective baits, but you can also use twigs and branches. If you go this route, look for poplar branches if possible. No matter what bait you use, make sure that you position it behind the metal trigger pan to make sure that the beaver is completely inside the trap before it shuts. If your trap is in the water, hang the bait from the top so that it stays dry and doesn’t float away. Make sure you place your trap in the evening, as beavers are nocturnal, and leave the open door facing the beaver’s home pond.
Once the trap is set, make sure you are checking it often; you don’t want the beaver to get anxious, hungry, or dehydrated. At the very least, take a look once per day, preferably in the morning. You want to release the beaver as soon as you can, and checking the trap often will make this possible, If you do find a beaver in the trap, make sure you put on thick, heavy gloves before you start to handle the trap. Try not to make contact with the beaver, as it is still a wild animal. Depending on the size of the beaver, you might want to enlist some help in lifting and transporting the trap to your vehicle.
Before you release your beaver back into the wild, make sure you check with your local wildlife authority or the DNR to see where the best place for it would be. You don’t want to let it go too close to a residential area, or someone else will have to go through the same process that you just did with the exact same beaver. Ten miles is a good minimum for the distance away from your home as well. Make sure that you release the beaver into another aquatic environment similar to the one you removed it from, and that this place is approved for beaver release by local laws.
With the right preparations and knowledge about the local environments around your property, trapping beavers and relocating them can be quick and painless. All you really need is a high-quality trap and the proper safety equipment, and you can easily rid your property of beavers now and in the future.