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Bounty Hunters Busy as Beavers

Posted March 12, 2008

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— Sampson County is undergoing a building boom that local officials are paying to see go bust.

Hundreds of beavers have built scores of dams on creeks and streams throughout the county, causing flooding and drainage problems for nearby residents.

"About every small creek in Sampson County is dammed up somewhere," said Ronnie Thompson, one of three professional trappers whom county officials have hired to eradicate the beaver problem.

The county had a bounty program for several years, paying anyone $12 for a beaver tail. Last year, the county ended the program and budgeted $14,000 to hire professionals.

Assistant County Manager Susan Holder said officials couldn't prove that the pelts being turned in by the public were actually coming from local beavers.

"The beaver problem seems to grow despite our best efforts," Holder said. "The professional trappers go deep into the heart of the problem, and they're able to, hopefully, break up dams and solve the root of the problem."

From December through February, Thompson and the other two trappers netted 558 beavers.

“It’s certainly working,” said Kent Wooten, Sampson County's director of the state Cooperative Extension Service.

During the three-month trapping season, property owners can call the county and have trappers remove beaver dams for free. Outside the season, trappers charge for the service.

Thompson, who has trapped beavers for 40 years, paddles and plods deep into the swamps to get the job done. Beavers can wreak havoc in the county if left unchecked, he said.

"You got to keep the water moving for the drainage. If they keep building beaver dams, they're going to have water running everywhere but in the creek," he said. "The water will be so high, it runs across the road. We got farms where the water is running all through the people's fields."

One pair of beavers breeds two to seven babies year, he said.

"If they're not caught, next year that crowd will raise some more," he said.

The carcasses of the trapped beavers are sent to Barbour Fur Co. in Smithfield, where they’re used to make dog food and fur products. “No part is wasted,” Thompson said.

37 Comments

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  • Travised Mar 13, 2008

    If you have a problem on your property with rodents (beavers/woodchucks) my solution than tends to work well is a .22 long. As long as you are outside of the 'burbs you'll have no objections. The property NeXT to me usually catches (well, gets rid of) over 20 a year to protect the horses. If this stupid city didn't have measures against firearms (and ARCHERY!) I'd bring up the 22 to drop them.

    Don't get em wrong, I love animals. It's safety and the destruction of our gardens that gets me upset.

  • batcave Mar 13, 2008

    ya better cut it out beaver or mom and dad are gonna yell at ya

  • daMoFo Mar 13, 2008

    First off beavers do not have "rights". Second, which one of you wants to pay the cost of trapping and relocating them which will be far far more then what is being done now? And since they animals were here first, how about if you stop killing insects in your house as well as mice and rats in your neighborhood. Got a black widow in your living room? make friends with it.

  • 1crazygirl Mar 13, 2008

    Im all for trapping the beavers and letting them go else where but what they are talking about on here is just cruel and inhumane.

  • beaverlodgelocal1504 Mar 13, 2008

    help beaverlodge local 1504 crown the 2008 beaver queen. be at the duke park meadow in durham, nc on june 7th. rain or shine. (we prefer rain) this year's theme is hair. dress for the summer of love.

    http://www.beaverlodgelocal1504.org/

    peace, love, beaver

  • lehudson14 Mar 13, 2008

    The beaver were brought to Sampson County.. So actually the humans were there first!!! They didn't come till about 10 or so years!! There were brough by Ducks Unlimited if I remember correctly!!! So Yeah if you want them come and get them.. But not, they will be killed sooner or later!!

  • Panther Mar 13, 2008

    Yellowtail, you cannot relocate beavers. Their very territorially animals. If you relocate them the others in that area will kill it. Depending on the water flow, some measures can be put into place that will stop the beavers from building dams. However they must eat and if you have a birch tree in your yard it’s like ringing the diner bell.

  • Travised Mar 13, 2008

    We had a beaver work it's way through a tree (GOOD SIZED) making it splash down in the evening. I have a problem with an animal related to them, the woodchuck. Those guys like to tear up your gardens and dig holes for horses. Their underground tunnel maze is amazing.

    I think one of the oddest stories I read about a family of beavers blocked a creek before a nuke causing slight flooding and other issues. Lets just say that grouping wasn't around very long

  • BLOCKHEAD SQUARED Mar 13, 2008

    RE :Don't you just hate it when nature gets in the way of our precious little lives? Beavers are not a new "problem"... humans are the ones who decided to live in Beaver country not the other way around.

    SALUTE !!!!

  • doodad Mar 13, 2008

    I am a 42 year old Sampson County native and up until about 10 years ago, beavers were not a problem. They were RELOCATED HERE!

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