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Beaver Hunting, Help!

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Axel Larson, Aug 28, 2014.

  1. Axel Larson

    Axel Larson Well-Known Member

    Long story short, I have been asked to shoot a couple of beavers that have made a dam which is causing erosion and threatening to damage a culvert along 108 a road in Northwestern Vermont by the Watershed group I interned for over the summer. .
    My question is what is the best way to go about doing this. I have a hunting license and Fish and Wildlife has been contacted and talked with and we have the go ahead.
    The two rifles I have are a Remington model 34 and a Savage Axis in 223.
    So what is the best way to go about shooting these pests?
    I do not have a trapping license, so hunting is the only option really.
  2. curtste

    curtste Member

    Set up a portable tree stand downwind if you can, if not, maybe use a blind. Put one person with a rifle in the stand. An hour later, have a second person use a pick or shovel to damage the dam to the point where the water starts to drain. Then, the person with the pick leaves. Wait for the beaver to come out to inspect the damage. Boom.

    This is how we have done it on our hunting land.
  3. JohnM

    JohnM Well-Known Member

    Lotsa luck, shooting beavers is a PIA.
    Go out to the dam during the day, tear out some of it in the middle.
    Come back well before twilight and wait, and wait, and wait.
    If there's many beavers they'll soon show up to do repairs, don't miss a shot!
    And even if you get a good kill on every one that shows up in a couple days you'll sit there all night waiting for a shot.
    A good trapper is the only way.
  4. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    +1. What's it take to get a trapping license? If they have active slides it's easy to trap them.
  5. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    This. I have shot many beaver but they were all taken just after daybreak. Breaking their dam WILL get them moving but you will never know when so be prepared to (as JohnM put it so well)wait and wait. ETA. head shots and use the .22, it's all you need.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
  6. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    The first 2 or 3, yes. The rest wise up pretty quick.
  7. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

  8. jrdolall

    jrdolall Well-Known Member

    Most of our beaver are nocturnal. They are what we call "bank beavers" in that they don't necessarily build a lodge but live in holes in the bank of the creeks. Trapping is really the only option for me because they might not visit a particular dam for several days. On one creek last year they had seven dams in a 1/2 mile stretch. Since the creek winds its way through a hardwood bottom it is impossible to see more than 20 yards or so from any one spot. Good luck waiting out a beaver in that situation.
    I catch more coons than I do beaver which is a good thing too. Occasional snapping turtles and one coyote. On that one creek I trapped 7 beaver last year. Six of them were little ones.
  9. Stony

    Stony Well-Known Member

    I had a state trapper work over several ponds for me to eliminate beavers. He hung out by the slides and used a shotgun with #4 buck in it. He said he finds small shot in the hides all the time that wouldn't penetrate enough to kill them. He managed to kill the buggers off and all I found after that was some empty 3" hulls laying around. Hitting them at night can be a little tricky with a rifle since you can't see the sights well in the dark, and a beaver's head is a pretty small target.
  10. Axel Larson

    Axel Larson Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the links I have read through the full 30 page version. At this point the landowner is only interested in getting rid of the dam which needs to be done.
    Thanks for the information it seems like I need to find a trapper :).
  11. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    I'd check to see if a trapping license is needed if you don't intend to sell the hides. That's the usual reason for that regulation: Control of sales.

    If 108 is a county or state road, they should be willing to provide a backhoe and operator to destroy part or all of the dam. It's a justifiable expense for them, and for little more than a few hours of work. (I've worked a Case 580 backhoe for over thirty years. :))

    Afterthought: After draining the pond, bundle about four sticks of dynamite, shove it into the entrance hole to the den and let 'er rip! Net result? End of den, dam and beavers.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
  12. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    Something about seeing cousin Bob folded in half gets to them? :)
  13. ironworkerwill

    ironworkerwill Well-Known Member

    I know some "guys" that use this method. They.. say it works. Check local laws.
  14. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    That's about the size of it. Beaver aren't dumb, they learn what a trap is very quickly. Once a beaver sees a few relatives in a body grip trap you'll have to switch to foot holds or snares and vary types of sets. You will not remove all the beaver doing the best you can do regardless of the method. Beaver are prolific and will repopulate an area in short order. Nature abhors a vacuum and more beaver will move into a vacated area within a year or two.
  15. hovercat

    hovercat Well-Known Member

    A good beaver lure with castor will bring them to the bank. I have luck with backbreaker by Dobbins lures.
    Make a mud pie on the bank. Dip a pencil sized stick in the lure and stick it in the mud pie. Just like a fire hydrant to a dog, the beaver will come, tear it up and put their own scent on it.
    Was fun to show the kids some beaver while night bank catfishing.
    Also, a shot beaver will sink.
  16. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    I use the dam damage method. I usually break open the dam during the day, a few hours before dusk, go get dinner, come back and wait. The water drains down and the beaver(s) take notice...if they are in the current pool. Beaver will travel up and down a given water way, often times, and may be out on a given night, but will return, especially if they have a dam.

    I also like to look for untopped but gnawed trees. These are trees that they will return to in order to finish them. A beaver out of the water at the base of a tree is a nice target.
  17. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

  18. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Well-Known Member

    I feel for you! Since buying our 80 acres complete with 9 acre pond and one heck of a beaver issue I know what you're either going or going to go through. I've whacked 27 of them so far in a combination of shooting and traps.

    They're not that hard to shoot, but they are a smart and adaptive foe. Usually best time for shooting is early am or dusk. At dusk they seem to have this habit of surfacing from their den, then going on "patrol" around the pond perimeter to check things out. Excellent time to ambush them. Try to get straight on shots as compared to broadside, way more room for error. IF possible, let them exit water as it's a much larger target. I use a HV .223 varmint bullet that will fragment when it hits water unlike .22LR that will ricochet. For a rifle I use a REM 700 XCR compact tactical with a Leupold 6.5-20X MK4 with illuminated reticle. Little bit of overkill, but I'm constantly whacking muskrats too. Once you whack a couple beavers, they'll shift times on you or go completely nocturnal. Then I switch to a shotgun #1 or #4 buck with a tac light.

    Trapping is far and above the best, most efficient way to get them. I use 330 conibears on runs and dens, but prefer leg holds with drowning slides. I normally set a daisy chain of a couple leg holds per set "protecting" my drain tube. Then a few others in runs where I can see they're feeding or moving through during their "patrols".

    Also looks up a thing called "Beaver Deceiver".


    It's a fence system for around the drain tube that confuses them somewhat, and allows water flow even if they dam up the cage.

    Scent mounds do work pretty well throughout the year as the little buggers are territorial. They can get them to investigate into your set just to insure a new beaver hasn't moved in.

    The other solution that finally worked for us was to remove all of the unwanted vegetation (trees) from our pond banks and protect the ones we wanted to keep with cages. No food = no beavers. I also got permission to hunt/trap the pond up stream, which we nicknamed "Cambodia" cause they were using it as a staging area into our place. Between the two, we've been beaver free for a couple years now...

    Good luck!

  19. swiftak

    swiftak Well-Known Member

    They will usually start swimming around a pond just before dark. I've had them swim within a couple of feet of me. You need to be quick because any slight movement will send them back under water.

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