Look at the last picture in my first post. Enlarge it and there is a beaver house top center about 25' around at the base. Total of five active colonies in the contract. All the pictures were taken from the "road". They are doing a 50k road project in there and the beaver stopped them last fall. Hoe was in there tearing out dams on a Friday and they rebuilt them all by Monday. Job security!! You should see the flowage to the North of this one, but they say they can't afford that trapped this year. Bet they change that when the timber sale starts this fall.
Some of the "Engineers" from the office yesterday. The one on the far left came out of the pond where the dam is three feet higher than the road (third picture above). He is a big beaver. The picture doesn't do his tail justice, he's in the 60 lb class. The two belly up are alpha females out of two different colonies. Note the bulges in the bellies, they are full of pups. Good timing for removal. They will be having those pups in the next couple weeks. One little yearling to left of my chainsaw also, and there should be about ten more of those come out of here all said and done. Back there tomorrow. Need to do some digging tomorrow to see if I can get that culvert flowing again. Need to get the Orkin man out here, the tics are getting bad already. LOL
Seven beaver today and about twenty tics. Wouldn’t be too bad if they were just wood tics, but these are about half deer tics and tiny. Only one wood tic attached so far.
Found the culvert and got it open. It’s really two 12” pipes stacked with a wooden snowmobile bridge rotten and collapsed on top of the pipes. Cut up three dead trees below the pipes and cut up bridge timbers in the way. Hate cutting those timbers because they are spiked together with barn pole spikes! Kinda tough on chainsaw chains if I hit one, but lucked out today.
then dig out the top end of the pipes and dug a small notch in the dam to start draining the first pond. There are three ponds that will need to drain through here, and will work as the water control point on this portion of the contract. This dam will be the last to come out to avoid washing the road out, which I need to access the two ponds to the NE. Beautiful day.
I can and am skinning them until May 15 th, that's when legal beaver season ends. On May 16 th I have to leave them where I catch them. If you need tanned beaver for flies I have about 160 tanned now.
It's a good thing. I'd figured on taking (and bid) this contract for about 25 beaver. The one above makes 14 and it was caught coming into the lower end of the contract, from a small river this all empties into. I've been moving water for 5 days and the dams haven't been repaired at all. That means I've most likely caught what was here. One of the reasons I'm not likely to take that many beaver is it appears the area has been heavily predated by wolves. Look at the pictures and you'll see there are only three yearling beaver of the fourteen caught. There should be 4-9 yearlings for each adult female! The area has no deer tracks anywhere, wolf crap everywhere, and short steep banks around most of the ponds. The wolves have learned to lay on the tops of the hills adjacent to these type ponds, watch the beaver work popple on the sides of the banks, then catch them before they get back to the water. Young beaver don't stand a chance out running a wolf. Pretty easy pickings for a wolf. Good for me, because I bid per contract, not per head on this type contract. Usually the other way around, like a contract I bid last spring at @ 60 beaver and ended up at 87, with 47 dams to boot!
No explosives allowed on this contract, so this is how I tear them out. Start at the bottom by removing the sticks, then chop out the clay and allow just enough water over spillway to keep the clay chunks moving. Then tear out the spillway enough to clean the loose mud off the face of the dam. Stand in the spillway and rake/pry any additional chunks of clay out to the original depth of waterway. When I get to rock/sand I'm done.
This is what it should look like when I'm done. The large lumps out in the middle are large rocks. I'm standing on the main dam when I took the picture here, which is my next project, and will account for most of the water in this pond. I did the same to the lower dam of the other ponds today also but left my camera at my wheeler.
If you go back up and look at the picture of the first dam I'm using for a control next to the road/trail, the dam pictured in the background is the one I opened today. The control dam was not running at all when I got there this morning. Draining the second dam barely had any water going through the control dam when I left. The road is in good shape with no overflow, nor chance of washing it out. It's cheaper to hire me than have a hoe sitting here watching the water drain, and I can catch the beaver. LOL Put in bids on another 13 rice lake projects this morning on the way to this project. Should get word on them within a week.
fine thing when wolves are reduced to eating beaver.
you probably need to up your rates and hire a helper, but at this point the wolves are doing half your work. at the rate they been going they are gonna get it all,, then move on to chasing deer again [only in another packs territory] and the cycle goes on.
Note the size of the beaver taken from the pond Lamar. A big beaver can and does hold it's own against a wolf, even on ice or dry ground. The pups/yearlings not so much. This area has no deer sign at all, so the beaver are the other option. The tracks around indicate a pair, probably paired last spring, meaning no full pack yet, but should be pups coming along soon. This is not a packed area, poor wolf country especially in the summer months. Small jutting islands of Ash, and Poplar, bog all around them, and the beaver had it flooded. This pair, more than likely, were pushed here by larger packs around it. As the pack produces, it will enter into territorial disputes to expand or be killed/ limited to this small area and the physical condition of the female and food supply will dictate pack size. Poor conditions, poor production, long winters, all make for short life. Mn wolf population is at peak land holding capacity now for wolves. I have several friends in Cn. having a ball snaring wolves that disperse from here, meanwhile in Mn. we are going on 40 years "Studying" their habits. That should read big money in wolf studies.