CLINTON, N.C. — Federal officials apparently can't handle it, so the folks in Sampson County have decided that they'll try to reduce the beaver population themselves.
The Sampson County Beaver Committee was formed at the request of frustrated landowners after the county government spent more than $50,000 in eight years trying to reduce the number of beavers.
The county hired its own trapper. Roofer Ronnie Thompson is paid $1,500 a month to set traps in areas where landowners call for help.
The government program includes a joint state-federal management program, contracts with trappers, and a per-carcass bounty.
Beavers once were prized for their heavy fur and were hunted nearly to extinction by the late 1890s. In 1939, a state agency began restocking beaver and continued into the 1950s.
Beavers build dams that can flood and kill commercial timber and flood fields that hog farmers need to spray waste from hog lagoons.