Article Written by: Ben Adams
I went deer hunting this past weekend and the deer weren’t moving at all so I decided to get out of my ground blind and do some scouting for some new hunting spots. After I checked out one spot, I got in my truck and drove to another place I wanted to scout. When I got almost to where I can usually drive to, I noticed there was an unusual amount of water so I got out to do some inspecting.
I soon found the problem. BEAVERS!!!! They had 3 dams built in a drainage ditch, a pretty sizable hut built and 2 pipes completely clogged up. I’ll get to the adventure in a bit, but first here are some beaver facts.
- Mainly nocturnal
- 2nd largest rodent in the world
- Trees are their favorite food
- Can live up to 24 years
- Live in colonies
- Can swim up to 5 MPH
- Have oily fur that is waterproof
- Scientific name is castor cadadensis
- Peavine Scientific name for beavers is bucktoothius desctructus
- Can close their ears and nose
- Largest beaver dam in the world
So as you can tell, beavers are basically are giant rats with mud flapping tails and big buck teeth. They make water back up and destroy habit. They make a mess. They eat trees. They are a nuisance plain and simple.
The next morning I loaded up the truck and prepared for Operation Beaver Eradication. My tools consisted of: a shovel, a small metal rake, a 12 gauge, a .22 rifle, a .22 pistol and a bag of ammo. Everything you need to mess a beaver’s day up.
|Tools of the trade
I drove back to the same spot, unloaded the truck, and started my trek to the beaver hut. The beavers scored first as I fell in a beaver run that was undetectable due to the deep muddy water. I went in all the way up to my hips. So for the rest of my time spent at the farm that day, I had 2 boots full of water and wet clothes. Perfect start to the day.
|This used to be a tree about 20′ tall
|Another ambitious beaver project
I stopped at the beaver’s hut first. They build these huts but don’t actually live in the exposed part. Beavers live in tunnels under the hut where they eat trees, raise their beaver babies and plot against the human race. I started the day with a bang by emptying about 10 rounds from the shotgun into the hut and waited on them to come out in the adjoining ditch. They never did so I fired several more rounds just to make sure they knew I was there. Good morning evil beavers!
|The evil beaver’s lair
|Another shot of the beaver hut
After no luck getting them to come out to the surface, I made my way down to the first of 3 dams to start digging it out to get the water to drain. Beavers will usually find a place in a ditch and start building up their dam with mud, grass, sticks and whatever else they can pilfer. In all honesty, if the Highway Department could figure out how to pack a pothole as good as beavers pack mud, there would be no potholes. These dams were pretty small compared to some I have seen in the past. I remember one dam from when we used to farm that took 10 sticks of dynamite to blow. Yes, I said 10 sticks of dynamite.
|Beaver dam pre-Peavine
|Beaver dam post-Peavine
I finally got the 3 dams dug out (broke my metal rake in the process) and got the water flowing and made my way back out to dig the 2 pipes out. One pipe was a drainage pipe from an adjoining rice field. It was packed full of rice straw and mud. I got it cleaned out and got more water flowing into the ditch. The last pipe was a little more challenging. It drains a block of woods and any run off from another field. I could see the end of the pipe that wasn’t stopped up and started digging on the opposite side.
|A beaver trail
The beavers must have been really mad the day they clogged this pipe up. It had about 3 feet of mud, leaves and sticks crammed in it and on top of it. After I finally found the end of the pipe I got a small amount of water flowing through. I took one more big bite with the shovel and…snap. My shovel handle broke but I got the water flowing.
In the end I got about a foot of water to drop but I’m sure the beavers were back that night wreaking havoc again. But that’s ok, I have plenty of time and a trapper on the way.
Beaver facts taken from: National Geographic, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.