Wildlife

General Information about Beaver Trapping

Beaver Trapping and the Law

Several bills have been introduced in the 2011-2012 session that would either repeal the current trapping law completely (thereby removing restrictions leghold and conibear body-gripping traps to be used) or otherwise reduce the restrictions on these traps.

Trapping does not work to reduce human-beaver conflicts.  Beaver Solutions, which does trap beaver when the customer insists, found that 75 percent of the sites trapped were reoccupied within two years. Recreational trapping would be even less effective, since it takes place during the late fall and winter, while the majority of human-beaver conflicts occur during the spring and summer.

Flow devices are highly effective.  MassWildlife claims that flow devices to control flooding work less than 10 percent of the time, but this is directly contradicted by the hundreds of devices installed in Massachusetts by Beaver Solutions, an independent business located in Southampton. Their data indicates that flow devices work in 98 percent of all installations. Many Massachusetts cities and towns have installed these devices and can attest to their success, as well as their cost-effectiveness.

Flow devices save money.  Compared to the cost of daily labor and backhoe use for a highway department working to keep roadways clear or continual trapping, the cost of a one-time installation of a water flow device that will be effective for as long as 10 years is the best solution to resolving human-beaver conflicts.

Lethal traps, while restricted, are still allowed.  While the use of traps is reserved for situations involving genuine public safety and health issues, the devices put pets and other animals at risk.  People can also use these if humane methods of resolving the conflict do not work.

Beaver populations stabilize without trapping.
The findings from multiple scientific studies done at the Quabbin reservoir illustrate that beaver populations slowly increase, reach a peak, and then decline and ultimately stabilize.  

Science suggests that recreational trapping may actually stimulate the growth of the beaver population. MassWildlife promotes recreational trapping as the primary tool to manage the beaver population. Yet the scientific literature suggests that recreational trapping may actually create conditions in which beaver populations might never reach equilibrium by not allowing populations to go past peak growth. 

 

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