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Author Topic: Beaver question  (Read 1522 times)

Offline Greyhound

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Beaver question
« on: February 10, 2020, 02:01:21 PM »
Iím new to trapping so I am curious about beaver habits. Two years ago my brother in law move to a new property. There is a large swamp and pond. There was a ton of beaver sign, channels, and dams. Now there is almost no sign of them. I trapped a couple but it couldnít have really put a dent in them. Even the beaver lodge looks abandoned. Thoughts?  What the heck happened.

Offline Humptulips

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2020, 03:08:38 PM »
Beaver move around more then people realize. A number of things could have happened.
The food supply could have been exhausted so they moved. They could have been frightened either by you or a predator and left. Beaver move on high and low waters all the time. Their den gets flooded and they go in search of another place to live or when the water goes down they will move in search of more water if they have lit in a place that dries up. Also I see places where a cougar moves in and kills all the beaver.
In big swamps like what i think you are describing I often would find only kits. The old beaver had moved on. Why, sometimes it is hard to tell.
Bruce Vandervort

Offline Loup Loup

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2020, 06:02:38 PM »
Good question Greyhound.
I would guess its either disease, or predation.
At times a disease will wipe out a colony, lake, drainage. When sickness strikes I beleive it is brought on by first, over population, which leads to the beavers eating most or all of the palatable/ nutritous plants in their habitat, which leads to disease. Which theoretically leads to regeneration of the plants/habitat that beaver need for a healthy population. And the cycle starts anew. This is the main reason we need to crop out furbearers and manage our traplines. To minimize the drastic ups and downs of the population. And the degradation of the habitat.
We had some disease go through Benton, Franklin, and parts of Grant, and Adams counties 4-5 years ago. Wiped the beaver out in many areas. Ya miss em when they're gone.
Predation. Beavers are the Herseys Kiss of the animal world. Every predator will go out of their way to get one. To wipe a colony out Id say Cougars or Bears in your country. Add Wolves to that list in other areas. Simple matter for a predator to specialize in beaver. They simply lye in wait along beaver channel, or trail the beaver are useing to get to where they're logging. And ambush the beaver one by one. The predator doesnt worry about leaving seed. In fact I was able to track a cougar through a beaver colony on a medium size creek in Okanogan county this winter. The cat skulked all through the beavers logging area up to the lodge. Layed near there for awhile then moved on down the creek. Although this lodge had sign and a feed pile it was vacant by this time.
Again, the more beavers eating in an area, the further they have to strike out in narrow dug channels, or trails, away from their only defence, deep water, in search of food.
Only thing we could do here, again is proactively harvest beaver from this colony. And spend more time Cougar and Bear hunting.
I hope they come back to you soon

Offline Born2late

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2020, 06:32:45 PM »
I trapped them all :chuckle:

Offline Loup Loup

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2020, 06:56:54 PM »
Foolish. Unless your tasked with a depredation situation.

Offline Greyhound

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2020, 07:03:58 PM »
Thanks for the input. It could definitely be depredation and food. Not a lot of food left as far as I can see and the bobcat situation here is crazy.  I trapped at the neighbors house last year and got 9. Maybe they moved over there. I put a game camera up where I put muskrat carcasses and got 60 pics of bobcat.

Offline Born2late

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2020, 08:24:21 PM »
Foolish. Unless your tasked with a depredation situation.
every persons house i trap at i ask them if they want me to leave some and not once have i had any say yes.
In our area i think greyhound and about two other guys trap that i know of. There is no shortage of beavers in our area because there is so many properties that we don't have access to that are breeding grounds for them.
I just got called for a spot in stanwood and caught one the first day. His neighbor doesn't want any trapped off his place and it is loaded so this guy will continually get the overflow and have to deal with constant flooding over his road.It's like this all over in our area, maybe not yours. If i was doing it in a spot that wasn't helping people that wanted them gone then i would leave some.
I have another spot in arlington i caught 13 in 8 days.Then the next year i caught 5,This year i'm at 5.at one house,This home owner has a total a positive view of trappers now and would probably vote for anything protrapping that ever came up given the chance. So I look at these opportunities to help these people out as a way to educate home owners on the advantages to having trapping legal and available,Not like in california. Hope that explains my foolishness :tup:

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2020, 04:59:05 AM »
Please leave some

Offline JakeLand

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2020, 08:17:29 AM »
If itís a nuisance job I will clear every one out
If Iím trapping a spot on my line I trap only a couple or just enough so I can trap in the future with that being said you will never completely get rid of them as more will show up

Offline Greyhound

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2020, 12:32:50 PM »
Thanks for all the info!

Offline Loup Loup

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2020, 03:26:37 PM »
Greyhound, Sounds like youve got a Bobcat problem in your area. I bet you don't see many Deer either. Id suggest cropping the cats as hard as you can, in your area. See if you see some improvement in 3-4 years.

Born2late, I think my two sentence answer to your management technigue as you expressed it is very clear. Im glad you explained yourself later.Now, please go back and slowly read my two sentence answer above, and think about what I said, again in answer to your flippant response. Im glad you are a positive example of trappers out in the field.
But, remember,any bad taste joke, any picture or video posted on this Internet is there for eternity. Anyone can take that material and twist your meaning to fit their agenda. Your flippant response could be in some anti's folder right now, til the day they want to smear us with our own words. (Even if taken out of context they dont care about the truth, they dont care that you explained yourself later and were just joking)

Offline JakeLand

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2020, 07:17:17 PM »
I donít know about  beaver numbers on the east side but on the wet side itís nearly impossible to over trap a area of beaver .

Offline Magnum_Willys

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2020, 08:45:00 PM »
Seen a lotta ponds with a beaver adult pair and kits or maybe two pair and kits at the most.   Depending on time of year 2 to 5 beaver per pond

Offline Humptulips

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2020, 09:24:47 PM »
Back in the early 70s there were a lot of trappers and  one beaver was worth a good days pay. We pursued them mercilessly. Every place beaver showed up someone was after them. Season was only three weeks and Grays harbor County had a harvest of several thousand.
Then in the season of 86,87 fur prices collapsed and they were only worth about $8. I would not trap beaver but chased the otter for the next four years exclusive of anything else. Still I caught beaver try as I could to avoid them. Early 90s the price came up a bit and I went back to trapping them but still concentrated on otter. Most other trappers had gave it up because of the price. You could not trap them out of an area as more just moved in because the hard to get to places went untouched and there was a constant outflow of beaver from these spots.
I did notice by 99 a decline in beaver numbers . I kind f blamed myself although that did not make sense. Remember what happened in 96, I-655.
Then we lost our traps in 2000 and I trapped Oregon for a number of years. There was nobody trapping my lines in Grays Harbor. Beaver numbers should have exploded but they went the other way. Beaver are virtually gone from my old traplines and have been gone for a while. Other places near civilization seem to have plenty.
With beaver now worth such a small amount I think trappers have little to no effect on their numbers. If you live in the sticks cougar will keep them at near extinction. If you live near a lot of people there will always be beaver you can't get to that will move into places you trap.
Bruce Vandervort

Offline Loup Loup

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2020, 09:29:46 AM »
Yea. It seems soon after hound hunting was outlawed the cougar population was at a reasonable, sustainable level. Our Mule deer population was very good. The bear population was similar to now. As I remember it, then ,when a beaver colony got wiped out in these smaller creeks it was bears who were the culprit. They could multitask by grazing on berries while prowling for beavers. Plus they would dig out bank dens. But the bears were limited, as they go into hibernation giving the beaver a break.
Now, our Mule deer in Chelan and Okanogan counties are an endangered species. Cougar numbers are mind boggling. These cats gotta eat. Here too our beaver are gone in many if not most smaller tributarys.
This winter in a canyon we were trapping Bobcats in, there were 3 yoy cougar traveling together, plus 2-3 different adults that would move through. I would go several trips without seeing a deer track. There are 4 beaver ponds there. All of them dead ponds. I saw where one 2 year old beaver was living in a bank den in between ponds in a 5 foot wide creek. Id bet its dead by now.

Offline Greyhound

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2020, 03:12:47 PM »
I think all of the above is true in my case here. Lots of cats, pic of a really good bear on the trail cam, not a lot of food left for the beavers, and I trapped a few. They were young. Now I have otter eating bass in my pond. Must have come up from the stilly. At least I think itís otter. I only find the heads?  We are going to try trapping cats this weekend. Three weeks ago I saw two walking up my driveway. Whatís the world coming to.

Offline Humptulips

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Re: Beaver question
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2020, 12:12:23 AM »
Story time:
Not sure if "Once upon a time" is good or "Back in the good old days" but here goes.
There is this drainage on the Wynoochee not far from the Ring of Fire bridge or where it once was that has no outlet to the river. It just sort of runs into the ground, although upstream it has year round water. When I first trapped up there there was old beaver sign but years old, nothing fresh. I assumed they had been trapped out. Then one year we had a monsoon with snow melt and there was water everywhere and lo and behold some beaver found there way up in there.
I decided I was going to farm this drainage and did not trap it for a couple years. Then I set a quota of one or two beaver a year and managed it that way for a couple years. Beaver numbers were increasing and they actually had expanded it to about four nice ponds. The next year I had decided I was going to start taking 4 or there abouts beaver every year.
I was so proud of myself for husbanding this place along. That winter I showed up to catch my four beaver and the beaver were gone but there was plenty of old cougar sign. Little mounds with a few remnant beaver bones in them.
There has never been a beaver there since. That was about 25 years ago.
Bruce Vandervort

 


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