Beaver dams should not be removed prior to trapping beaver if you are to remove the dam yourself. Water levels are important in beaver trapping so I control the water level for the duration of the trapping program. I restore the flow of water once the beaver are removed by opening up the center of the beaver dam. The sides of the dam are usually left in tact but lowered to direct water flow down the main channel of the waterway. Culverts plugged by beaver or the debris left from muskrat can be cleared entirely. Heavy muskrat populations can also be the culprit in blocked drainage pipes. Sometimes muskrat will block drain pipes with the tops of cattails almost like a beaver. The debris pulled from beaver dams or plugged culverts is not removed from the site.
Often times these dams are put together with sticks and mud in such a way that it would be nearly impossible to destroy the dam with anything but a machine or explosives. Dangers come with both and every option should be thought thru entirely before attempting such a task. Lest start with a little history to why beavers build dams in the first place, then we can go a little further into what is involved in tearing a beaver dam down in the correct manner. Click on our additional pages to find more information on beaver trapping in our beaver section of this website.
Beavers will build dams in order to make them a new “pond”. Beavers can make several different places to live in one stream. Often times you will see a hut or large stick covered mound in or near the water around the dam. This is where the beavers live. I will post a photo of a general layout of a beaver”pond”. This is not meant to be a exact replication of your situation, but a general design to the way beavers construct their living habitat about 90 percent of the time. A Beavers three purposes of existence is to flood property, make wetlands and store food. Everything that a beaver does revolves around these three items. The first thing that a beaver will do when it finds a new area that it feels suitable would make a great place to live, is flood the place. This gives the beaver a nice deep “pond” that it can start to make the other things needed to survive, a hut and food cache. A homeowner will start to notice smaller trees disappearing from their property, often times finding them laying in the stream bed as a foundation for a beaver dam. These are often time expensive trees such as Bradford Pear, Japanese Maple trees and other exotic trees that homeowners love to have on their property.
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