Archive for the ‘Who’s Killing Beavers Now?’ Category

‘Inane justice’

Posted by heidi08 On June - 22 - 2016Comments Off on ‘Inane justice’

“It’s a beaver. Or it might be an otter. I can’t quite tell,” Boone says.

Is there a more fitting quote to capture the scrupulous care involved in beaver trapping? I sure never saw one. Here’s some more beaver ignorance from Illinois, which has never seen a furbearer it couldn’t shoot.

At war with the beavers

LODA — Wearing rubber boots and armed with a hand-held cultivator tool, Jon Boone ventures out into a heavily forested area just south of the township road that the locals call the Loda Slab. The 63-year-old, tall, gray-bearded man leads the way through 6-foot-high prairie grass, using his tool to create a path for a trailing reporter.

“When you come out here, this is not a hike through a park,” Boone warns. “This is what Illinois looks like at its best.”

“There he is!” Boone says, pointing to an animal that had just popped its head out of the 4-foot-deep water in front of him, part of the meandering Spring Creek.

“It’s a beaver. Or it might be an otter. I can’t quite tell,” Boone says.

He makes regular visits to the spot in Spring Creek just west of Loda where the large dam is located. He usually visits first during the daytime, using hand tools like cultivators, rakes or picks to break up a few spots in the dam to create a flow of rushing water. As long as his nuisance permit is valid, he then returns to the scene that night, armed with a shotgun, ready to shoot any beavers he sees.

“The sound of the rushing water makes them want to fix the dam,” Boone says. “Sometimes, I’ve been out here for hours and never seen a thing. Those are the boring nights. The last time I was out here, the only thing I saw was a shooting star, and I sat here for an hour or two.”

In the past three months, Boone shot two beavers, and three more were trapped. But the beavers — which could number more than 10, he says — remain, and so does the big dam, along with another smaller dam just downstream.

Beavers, otters, toddlers…  who really can tell the difference? What I see – I shoot and just to be on the careful side I only shoot if its in the water or on the dam. (Or within striking distance.) I’m a responsible man you know.  A trustee. They write articles about me.

Boone says he recently tried to buy some dynamite to blow up the beaver dams, but an area store refused to sell it to him. He said there is a person in the area who is licensed to use dynamite, and it remains a possibility that the village could use that person’s services, but Boone says “we probably will never do that.”

Who knew that dynamite regulations were stronger than those for assault rifles? We’ll ,he’s at least getting solid advice from the very top;

“The conservation guy (at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources) goes, ‘You know, as much as they’ve spent paying you to come out here and do this, you should hire a professional trapper,'” Boone recalls. “I said, ‘Well, first of all, they’re not paying me anything, because I’m a trustee.'”

Aww you men you kill furbearers for nothing in your spare time? That’s mighty white of you, really. Loved this quote

“I have an inane  [sic] sense of direction,” says Boone, whose great-great-great-great-great-grandfather was the brother of Daniel Boone, an American pioneer, explorer, woodsman and frontiersman. “I never get lost.

“I get confused a lot, but I always find my way back.”

Is this reporter really really stupid or really really smart? “INANE” means silly or stupid. The noble trustee was really trying to say “INNATE” to convey that his unique ancestral heritage gave him this ability. Now did the man get it wrong and Will the reporter didn’t know the difference so just wrote it down? Or did Will just mistype or auto-correct his way into trouble? Or (and this makes me the happiest to think of) did Will hear the mistake, and just think that it was a fitting description for this old loon and leave it in?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Yesterday we finished the 150th and last pendant necklace. They are all lovingly tucked into individual bags and arranged by ‘letter’ to be ready for the beaver festival. Jon wanted to know how all this kind of thing got done when we were both working?

finished pendntsabout tiles corrected

I made the Gessner otter for our friends at ROEP and mildly asked when the ‘otter festival’ is coming? They said they might plan something for their 5th year, and Cindy Margulis on facebook suggested that they could get the Oakland Zoo TO HOST IT for them.

That seems fair. Martinez can slog away while they descend to earth on a fluffy cloud. Because otters live a charmed life. It’s true.

Konrad Gesner Woodcutting: 1558

Konrad Gesner Woodcutting: 1558

Inching Towards Reasonable

Posted by heidi08 On June - 11 - 2016Comments Off on Inching Towards Reasonable

I guess before things get better anywhere they start by getting very slightly less bad. Nova Scotia isn’t famous for their progressive views on beaver, or their deep understanding of flow devices, but at least one property owner didn’t want them trapped – and that’s something.

Beaver killing over home flooding prompts complaint

Neighbours in a small Annapolis Valley community are at odds over the provincial government killing a beaver.

The beaver had built a dam that, for six weeks, caused one homeowner’s well water to be undrinkable, and blocked the drain pipe, making it impossible to use water without flooding the basement.

“It’s nice to see the wildlife, but they’ve really hindered my lifestyle by interfering with my water supply, my septic drainage and my sink drainage,” Brenda Potter said Thursday.

Her neighbour Karen Enright says she owns the land surrounding a brook, in which a beaver had built a dam. Enright says she explicitly forbid the Department of Natural Resources to set foot on her land.

A man with permits from the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources set traps earlier this week to kill the beaver — and it worked.

“We were so angry, on many different levels, mostly that we had given explicit instructions that they did not have our consent to cross our property,” Enright told CBC’s Maritime Noon.

“They did not have our consent to set kill traps — and they did it anyway.”

Tuesday morning, her husband found the beaver dead in a trap in their marsh, she said. Enright said she’s been disappointed by the government’s responses to her complaints — despite being clear with her wishes.

“We understand there was an issue with the beaver building a dam. It was causing some property damage to the road and whatnot, but we asked for other solutions,” Enright said.

According to a staffer at the local DNR office, the couple could pay to relocate the animal live, she said, but he indicated it could be difficult due to a surplus of beavers. Enright said he could not provide a report showing the over population.

“Live trapping is a difficult, time-consuming and costly process,” a department website on beaver control says. “Due to high beaver populations and limited free habitat into which trapped animals may be released, it is seldom justified in Nova Scotia.”

The site also suggests culvert guards, protectors and cleaners, and pipes and electric fences to control water levels against beaver dam damage.

Well, I’m going to describe this as an “at least” article.

At least there was single woman in a particularly grim region of a 100,000 that didn’t want beavers killed. And ‘at least‘ the Ministry of “earth things we can exploit” mentioned flow devices  when she asked for solutions. I’m sure the information they sent her wasn’t cutting edge by any means, and I’m sure it made them sound highly unlikely to succeed, but at least, (and I’m using ‘least’ in the literal sense here), that’s something. Maybe someday soon there will be a handful of people who don’t want beavers killed, and maybe Nova Scotia will install an actual flow Device that works. And maybe people will notice that beaver dams actually make things better.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

Meeting tomorrow for Beaver Festival IX. And we’re starting to get most of our ducks in the stadium, if not yet  ‘in a row’. We have made about 5 each of every tile and had this sign made so folks could choose which one they wanted. I think along with the kids tshirts and the silent auction we should be able to generate some funds for the mural, don’t you? Click twice on the descriptions to enlarge.

about tiles corrected

I actually love them all so much I think I want to make a quilt.

every tile


East side West side, all around the town

Posted by heidi08 On June - 4 - 2016Comments Off on East side West side, all around the town

It’s election season, and amidst all the dramatic vote-wooing, winning and stealing, one contest stands out as a true gripping question for the American people.

Mendon residents to vote on beaver trapping, killing

MENDON – Residents at Special Town Meeting this month will vote on whether to approve trapping and votekilling of beavers on Lake Nipmuc to reduce high water levels.

The proposed article would allocate $1,500 from land bank money to pay a licensed professional to trap beavers which are building a dam which is causing Lake Nipmuc to rise and flood the yards of waterfront homes.

“A beaver dam seems to be the culprit,” said Land Use Committee Chairwoman Anne Mazar.Parks and Recreation Director Dan Byer said that rising water may also be eroding the town beach.

Mazar said she does not know if residents are widely aware of the problem and does not know if the Town Meeting article will have any opposition.

“That’s one reason it’s good that it’s going to Town Meeting so people can talk about it,” she said.

The article goes on to say they ruled out the use of a flow device because it requires an ‘an elevation drop to work’. Does that make some kind of sense that I’m not getting? For the life of me I can’t imagine why any beaver in the world would build a dam WITHOUT an elevation drop? I mean if its not holding back more water than there is on the other side what’s the point? Anyway, I wrote Ms. Mazar today and contacted Mike Callahan, who’s a whopping 70 miles away, and we’ll see what happens. I’m hopeful she’s interested in alternatives because the article quotes her as saying,

“Mazar said she wishes another option existed because beavers are “really important in the environment.”

Mean while PRI covered the story of the newly famous urban beavers at the Olympic village in Vancouver. It’s a nice report and you should listen it. The article has some of the best ‘urban beaver’ photos around. I give it 9.9 from the German judge.

Vancouver’s former Olympic Village is now home to urban beavers

lodge and apartments

Beaver wanderings

Posted by heidi08 On March - 25 - 2016Comments Off on Beaver wanderings

Yesterday was the Pinole Rotary event. They gave us a tasty lunch at Pear Street Bistro while I talked Martinez beavers to them and tried to prepare them for the inevitable beaver visit coming their way. They were very positive and receptive, so I’m hopeful that solutions will cross their minds when beavers tentatively set their paws in Pinole Creek. One cheerful listener even sang the beaver fight song from his alma mater.

pinoleThen I came home and found out that Queequeg wears a beaver hat!

Allow me to explain. My youthful self did lots of reading things like Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky, but I never got around to reading more American classics like that famous impossible quest tale of Moby Dick.  Probably because whaling was ‘icky’ or some other such reason.

Just by chance on facebook the other day I noticed that they had just finished the complete audio of Melvil’s seminal work, with every chapter read in its entirety by people like Stephen Fry and Tilda Swinton, so I thought, that would be a fun way to fill the gap, and tried it out.

I’m up to chapter for when the narrator unwillingly finds himself sharing a bed at the Spouter Inn with a terrifying painted ‘savage’ who turns out to be not so scary. This is Queequeg, a Mowry kind of tattoed harpoonist who has earned enough at sea to have a few prized civilized possessions. Chief among them is his BEAVER HAT which in the morning he puts on first, long before his actual pants, to show he is fully committed to American life.

Now Moby Dick was written in 1851, when the fur trade had begun to tank. The beaver hat was out of fashion in Europe, and the silk hat was becoming all the rage. Perfect timing because they had killed all the beavers everywhere in Europe centuries ago, and now even Canada and America (including California, the last hold out). Silk ascended, or was adopted, just in time. The same way in which you pretend you like something better when you know you’re never getting the original back. Queequeg proudly wears his top hat in the same way that we might proudly display a rotary phone or one of those a deep square TV sets. Progress has moved on. Even when he catches on he’s already behind.
CaptureIn case you want to enjoy your own rediscovery, the chapters are here:


Beaver trapping wins Oscar

Posted by heidi08 On February - 29 - 2016Comments Off on Beaver trapping wins Oscar

Last night, Leonardo accepted an academy award to a standing ovation for his apparently unforgettable role as Hugh Glass, a member of the Andrew Henry fur brigade filling the coffers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. When they weren’t busy abandoning one of their crew to a grizzly bear, the brigade trapped all the beavers on the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers. They even worked with the unfortunately named “Beaver Dick” out of Idaho. When they were no beaver left to trap, the enterprising Mr. Henry went into lead mining and bullet manufacture.

Because honestly, after you killed all the members of one species, why not try to eliminate the other?

When I try to imagine the ruthless arms race of the beaver industry, I am shocked until I remember the similar mad pursuit of gold in California, or coal in West Virginia, or oil and titanium everywhere. The American way is to use up all you can of a resource with no thought for your children or grandchildren.  The only warning is to do it FAST before your fellow man gets it instead of you. The “explorers” of early America were basically children on a grand Easter egg hunt. I don’t believe that most had any grand curiosity or wish to map the west. The only reason they looked over that vale or up that river was because the ones closer to them were all trapped out.

I’m not sure anyone really believed it was possible to eliminate the beaver, even though their ancestors had already done it in Europe and England.  Obviously, the idea that you could wipe out an entire species never mattered to the fur trade – and never mattered to America in general. It’s not like we were taught as children to find the Easter eggs as quickly as possible but not to make sure and leave two behind so they could grow up and foster the race of eggs for next year.

We were taught to get all the eggs, because there will always be more eggs, more trees, more water, more natural gas, more beavers. It’s the American Way. And when the last Grizzly was killed in California and the last Passenger pigeon was shot out of the sky no one really believed it was the last. Until ample time passed and people realized they could see no more. And by then – so much time had passed – that  no one really believed they had ever existed in the first place.

It’s the American Way.

“Immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been [fish] scales”

Posted by heidi08 On January - 17 - 2016Comments Off on “Immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been [fish] scales”

Trout & BeaverBelieve it or not, this is actually good news out of Minnesota -even though it’s still bad news. The fact that their draconian plan is getting some in state opposition is a fine reason to celebrate. I would quote the good bits of the article, but the reporter has asked me not too. Follow this link to go read it for yourself.

Dam debate on the Knife River

In ten years of reporting on the nonsense in Minnesota I have never read an article that describes the slightest hint of a whiff of controversy about their crazy science-resistant plan. I as happy as I can possibly be. This is  day for the history books.

Hmm. The 2016 Lake Superior Fish Management  update is a long way from finished but they will take public comment and you can read the 2006 version here. It’s not too early to send some pearls of wisdom. I’m especially interested in the author of this article, Sam Cook, because he’s starting to read the writing on the wall. In the mean time let’s just bask in a moment that doesn’t come along every day. And remember what Gandhi said:

First they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight with you.
Then you win.

Oh and we’ve settled on the art project for this years beaver festival. A child painted lodge. Here’s the basic idea. Isn’t the one on the left an awesome example?

beaver lodge


How common were urban beaver issues in 2015?

Posted by heidi08 On January - 1 - 2016Comments Off on How common were urban beaver issues in 2015?

This common:

2015 urban beaver figI updated the tallies this morning to reflect activity since November. We added New Mexico, Louisiana and Kentucky. Bringing our state total to 39. This means only 11 states in the country managed to avoid having beaver issues in urban areas last year. And one of them was Hawaii.

That makes our urban beaver chapter pretty relevant. Don’t you think?

I have a beautiful gift to start the new year right, a quirky treat from the ages, and a lovely welcome to the annum from Napa. I’ll start with the schadenfreude because that’s just the kind of woman I am. This stories so good it needed a soundtrack.

Damaging dams nets fines

Three North Bay men have been fined a total of $3,000 for damaging beaver dams in the North RBay, Powassan and Mattawa areas using all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

Court heard that ministry conservation officers received information about online videos and rich beaverphotographs showing individuals using their ATVs to damage beaver dams. With the assistance of the ministry’s intelligence unit, the videos were located and the ATV riders were identified. The videos showed the ATV riders driving on the beaver dams and spinning their tires. This caused the dams to open up, which allowed large volumes of fast-flowing water to flood and wash out the trails and surrounding area.

Each man was fined $1,000.

Did you get that? A three thousand dollar fine for riding those horrible atv’s over a beaver dam, which caused a washout and flooded some homes. I’m sure this maple leaf of  justice couldn’t happen to a nicer trio. Honestly, that photo really did appear with the article. (I just added a few finishing touches.)

The public is reminded that it is an offence to damage or destroy a beaver dam without the ministry’s authorization. Destroying a beaver dam can cause flooding, property damage, public safety concerns and fish and wildlife habitat damage. The ministry encourages the public to use public lands respectfully and responsibly so that they are preserved for future generations.

Oh Canada!

Now for some follow-up to the beaver flinging story, which you will remember because every single person you ever met probably sent you the article. Seems a man who consigned one of those beavers to his fate heard the article and wanted to reminisce.

One Man Remembers Meeting Some Of Idaho’s Parachuting Beavers

Finally some Napa goodness that won’t impair your judgment or lighten your wallet. Robin Ellison filmed this last night at the Tulocay Beaver pond when she was payed a visit by one of their six month old kits. Remember the most adorable birth defect ever? Check out that curling tail.