Frequently Asked Questions on Beaver
Q: Beavers are flooding my property. What do I do?
A: Review our Citizens Guide to Addressing Beaver Conflicts to understand the processes for obtaining permits and the actions that can be taken to resolve beaver and muskrat problems. Contact your local Board of Health (BOH) to assess the damage and advise you of your options. If the BOH determines that the damage is not deemed a threat to human health or safety, you can appeal their decision to the Department of Pubic Health (DPH). Contact your MassWildlife District office for if you have further questions.
Q: My yard is flooding, but the beavers are not located on my property. Is there anything that I can do to control the flooding?
A: Go to the property owner and explain your situation. In most cases permission is granted for certain alleviation techniques. Emergency Permits must be obtained from your local Board of Health before any action can be taken. The permit application will require a signature from the owner of the property on which the dam and beaver are located. A landowner consent form is also available on the website.
Q: What methods are available for the control of beavers?
A: There are a variety of lethal and non-lethal options available for the control of beaver damage. A hands-off approach may be used when beaver activity does not negatively affect the homeowner. Exclusion fencing can be used to prevent tree damage, and permits may be obtained for the breaching of dams and installation of water flow devices to control water levels. Trapping beavers is also an option. There is a legal trapping season from November 1-April 15 when any licensed trapper may trap beavers using only permissible traps. Beavers may also be trapped out of season under an Emergency Permit. Please refer to publications.
Q: Why do beavers cause flooding?
A: Beavers are a semi-aquatic species well adapted to life in the water.
They rely on aquatic habitats to provide access to food, protection
from terrestrial predators, and shelter in winter. Beavers are herbivorous
and feed on the bark, branches and leaves of trees as well as aquatic
vegetation. They use the indigestible parts of trees for dam and lodge
building. Beavers enhance their habitat by increasing the size of the
beaver pond. Inevitably, raising the water level may result in flooding
of roads, driveways, yards, and other areas used by people.
Q: How do I prevent beavers from chewing my trees?
A: Hardware cloth or heavy gauge wire fencing can be installed surrounding the bottom of trees. The wire should be a minimum of 4 feet tall and flush with the ground. Do not wrap the wire tightly around the tree as beavers may try to chew through it and it also may impact how the tree grows. Instead, leave a 6-inch space between the tree and the wire.
Q: I have never had beavers on my property before, why now?
A: Since the passage of the trapping referendum (Question 1) in 1996,
the beaver population has tripled in the state. Beavers have few natural
predators and therefore population control is minimal. Each year 3-5
young are born and stay with the adult pair for two years before dispersing
to find new territories of their own. As the population continues to
increase, beavers continue to find and create new wetland habitats.
Q: Do I need a permit during the trapping season to control beavers?
A: Any licensed trapper may trap beavers permissible traps (i.e. box
or cage-type traps) during the regular trapping season from November
1- April 15. To trap on property other than your own, you must register
your traps with MassWildlife. To obtain a trap registration number,
you must first attend a trapper education class. For information contact
the Hunter Education
Program of MassWildlife at (978) 772-0693.
Q: How much does it cost to hire a trapper to trap beavers on my property?
A: Many people are now charging a fee for their trapping services. Prices for trapping beavers may vary, so it behooves one to shop around. Either licensed trappers or licensed Problem Animal Control (PAC) Agents can provide this service.