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In certain circumstances, it is necessary to destroy an animal once it has become ‘nuisance wildlife’, rather then focusing on trapping and release methods. If you have decided that killing beavers is the right way to get rid of them for you, you should make sure you are taking legal and humane routes.
Poison is not one of those routes. It is actually illegal to use poison to kill wild creatures, such as beavers, in some states across North America, and it’s very dangerous too, potentially killing a wide range of creatures other than the one you’re actually trying to destroy. Poison can accidentally get into rivers, streams, and other waterways, killing fish and the local wildlife that uses that water to survive. In some cases, that contamination could even cause threat to life, and we're talking about humans as well as smaller wild animals.
This accidental poisoning situation is actually more likely to happen with beavers than it is with other wild creatures too. Beavers will use the materials they find to build the dam when they don’t eat it, so if they use that particular, poisoned piece of material for construction, rather than sustenance, there’s a very high chance that contamination could happen. That aside, beavers don’t always eat the food they come across right away. If you live in an area where waterways freeze up or the temperatures get very low, you’ll find that many beavers use underground lairs to store food, usually anchored to the bottom of the body of water using weeds and other aquatic plant life. Again, if that material is poisoned when it enters the water, the poison will contaminate that body of water.
Finally, if the beaver does happen to eat the poison and then die, it will more than likely die on the water. The carcass will rot and decompose, contaminating the water, once again, with poisoned biological matter, as well as whatever bother diseases it may have been carrying at the time. If another wild animal, such as a coyote, happens to eat that poisoned beaver, secondary poisoning could then occur. The coyote could become accidentally poisoned as a result of eating meat that contains poison.
Stepping away from poisoning beavers for a moment, which we advise you to do also, there’s the idea of trapping. Beaver trapping is actually quite a popular act in various parts of the States, but there are different regulations in different places that you will need to take into account. In some places, for example, you are only allowed to trap beavers at certain times of the year, otherwise you will need to get your hands on a special permit that allows you to trap or kill a beaver outside of those times. You will also generally find that you will only be given that special permission to trap or kill a beaver outside of the allocated trapping season when the dam or the animal is a certain threat to the local wildlife or land, in terms of flooding, property or agricultural destruction, etc.
The financial side of things can soon mount up when you have a beaver problem, and although trapping is considered one of the better ways to try and get rid of these creatures, you will need to take the cost into consideration. In many cases, it is actually cheaper to hire in a professional than it is to do the job yourself over the weekend. Beavers are world-class for avoiding traps, although a fully licensed and insured professional will know how to get the job done relatively quickly.
You could always try to shoot the beaver, but then you’d need to take local gun laws into account. You can't just go around shooting a gun, trying to cull some wild critter. Not only that, beavers spend almost all of their time in the water, when they're not preying on the trees or plant life growing on your land. You would need to stage a sit-out, waiting for the animal, and you know how those situations always go down. You sit and wait … and wait ... and wait … Nothing happens. The moment you turn your back to give up on your quest, however, and the creature pops up its little head, mocking you for your time wasted.
As well as saving money using a professional, you’ll also save yourself a lot of time!
One of the most obvious ways to kill a beaver is to use a lethal snap trap. These are similar to the kind of traps that you would put down to kill rodents, but on a larger scale, designed for a larger animal. You will need to look up the local laws regarding setting lethal traps, as many of them dictate that you can’t put the lives of other wild animals in danger by setting your traps. It is almost impossible to ensure that other creatures don’t go near the trap, especially if you have baited it with something super tasty.
The trick to getting lethal beaver traps right is to put them in exactly the right location. That will be along a main beaver walkway, and somewhere that other animals can’t or won't easily get to. You won't be getting rid of the beaver if you’re catching or killing everything else but that animal.
Read more about How to get rid of beavers
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:How To Guide: Who should I hire?
- What questions to ask, to look for, who NOT to hire.How To Guide: do it yourself!
- Advice on saving money by doing wildlife removal yourself.Guide: How much does wildlife removal cost?
- Analysis of wildlife control prices.