Humane Society rep talks about beavers in Beaver Creek Park


August 6, 2019

People in the area gathered in Wolfer’s Diner in Havre Monday at a luncheon to hear Humane Society of the United States Senior Advisor Wildlife Responsor and Policy Dave Pauli talk about, managing beavers, and the ecosystem.

Local residents Lou Hagener and Steve Helmbrecht provided a drone video as a visual aid to illustrate of some the beaver problem areas down in Beaver Creek Park during the discussion.

Pauli said the park is a great asset for the area.

“First, being 17 miles long and being that kind of travel corridor, it just has amazing potential for so many species. It really is nice property and I’m really glad to see properties of this size managed on a local level,” Pauli said. “The name sake of Beaver Creek is kind of cool, too, that Beaver Creek is dealing with Beaver Creek issues.”

In Pauli’s everyday job, he said, he mainly deals with noncontroversial species such as feral cats, prairie dogs, wild horses, beavers and a few others.

His presentation covered beaver co-existence with humans, explaining the biology, ecosystem, contributions and controlling factors that help create successful deterrents and control programs.

“As any species, they usually get villainized for their bad behavior, but beavers are habitat destroyers and habitat creators, so it depends on who is looking at it,” Pauli said.

On his presentation, he listed the beaver as a unique creature with features such as a split toenail on their rear left foot to get the wood chips out. Beavers can mate for life with both parents raising their young. They are docile, but formidable, and can live between 16 and 20 years.

Pauli added that based on a sexual marker or territorial marker provided by the beaver, the rodent will make mounds on the dam for other beavers to know that that is their territory.

Pauli said one problem with beaver trapping is any live trap that is big enough to catch a large raccoon or dog.

People talked about finding ways to handle the ecology of beavers on the park.

“There is no one idea, no one fix for every problem in that park,” County Commissioner Mark Peterson said.

Park board member Renelle Braaten, who invited Pauli, said she wants to find ways to manage the animals on the park.

“We are here to find alternatives instead to just going out and trapping and nothing ever gets solved long term. I’m looking at things that don’t have to be lethal,” Braaten said.

Pauli said alternative methods of control to trapping have worked in some areas.

“Try some things, if what you are doing is working on some level, but is not necessarily sustainable, try some demonstration sites and see what you think,” Pauli said. “To do the same thing every year and expect a different outcome is not good management.”


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