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Beavers are some of the most innovative and clever animals. They are tough animals that live in colonies. Beavers have a good sense of smell and hearing and will detect vibrations in the water if you step in the water or heavily on the land. In this article, we discuss how to hunt beavers by highlighting some of the major hunting points to help beaver hunters be successful.
Table of Contents
How To Hunt Beavers
When you want to hunt beavers, you have to study an area to verify that beavers are in that area. One way to find out if beavers are in an area when you scout it is to look for structures they build called dams and lodges. The lodges are usually in the same area where the dams are.
The lodges look like a heap of sticks from the exterior appearance but have a complex interior architecture. The structures will be cluttered with clay and debris. This cluttering is one way to distinguish an active inhabited lodge from a deserted and uninhabited lodge. Additionally, look for fallen trees and tree stumps that show teeth marks from beavers.
2. Territorial Rights
Beavers are very territorial. They invest a lot of energy and resources in building lodges and dams for their colonies. Hence, they protect their territories very aggressively. Beavers use a substance called Castoreum from special glands to mark their territories.
Beavers practice a behavioral strategy called “dear enemy effect” in which scents of close neighbors will be more familiar than that of a foreign beaver. This behavioral pattern can be helpful for a hunter to determine which beaver he is dealing with as you don’t want to hunt one particular aggressively.
3. Wind Direction
As you do hunting most animals, you want to hunt downwind of the beavers. Hunt with the wind blowing in your face. Beavers have a good sense of smell and if they pick up your scent, they will leave the land for water quickly.
4. Scent Control
Scent control is very important for almost any type of hunting. Take all precautions to control your scent before you go beaver hunting. Bathe with scent-free soap, keep your hunting clothes in scent-free storage bags, make sure your hunting boots and weapons are scent-free, avoid smoking if you do, etc.
5. High-Quality Optics
Beavers are mostly nocturnal and extremely attentive animals. You will need high-quality optics that are designed to work well in poorly lit situations. Most of the time you will be hunting for beavers during dawn and dusk. You will need quality binoculars and rifle scopes to clearly see beavers in dark environments and take good shots. We reviewed the best hunting binoculars and the best hunting riflescopes that you can read from these links.
6. State Laws
Before hunting beavers in your area, read your state’s laws to determine if it is legal to hunt beavers during certain hours of the day. You can find your state’s hunting laws on this website.
Beavers are tough animals that can still reach water and submerge even if it was fatally shot. If a fatally wounded beaver submerges in water, the chances of you finding it is slim as it will most likely die underwater and sink to the bottom and remain there. The best strategy is to wait for it to be on land and use a powerful caliber and bullets like a .22 rifle or shotgun.
8. Set Up Location
From your scouting trips, look for feeding areas that can be on land or close to land. When you have located possible feeding spots, find an area within the shooting range to set up. Your best shot will be taken with the beaver on land. Don’t shoot the beaver when it is swimming in water. You have a slim chance of hitting it or delivering a fatal blow as beavers are always moving their heads.
Additionally, a wounded beaver will go underwater and try to swim for the entrance of its lodge. It may die in the water and sink to the bottom or die trying to reach the entry of its lodge. Either way, you may never retrieve it.
Beaver Hunting Equipment
1. Water Resistant Boots
Quality water-resistant boots are essential to hunting beavers as you will be hunting them around water sources. Water-resistant boots that will keep you warm and comfortable is important for beaver hunting. You can read a review of the best hunting boots from this link.
Hunting beavers are often done late in the evening or at night as beavers are nocturnal animals. You will need high-quality optics to clearly see beavers in dark and low-light environments.
High-quality riflescopes are also a good option for optics when hunting beavers as they are most active at night or late during the evening.
4. Boat/Water Vessel
You may want to hunt beavers on water and a water vessel or a boat will be needed.
Skinning A Beaver
When you are handling or skinning a beaver you want to pay special attention to its special gland called castor sacs. This gland emits a very smelly substance called Castoreum which beavers use to mark their territory.
When skinning a beaver, you don’t want to damage this gland as the scent from Castoreum is very difficult to remove from anything it comes in contact with. Be very careful and take every precaution when skinning a beaver.
Beaver Hunting Tips
1. Beavers live in family groups called beaver colonies.
2. Beavers can remain submerged in water for up to 15 minutes and will go to the depths at the slightest sign of intruders.
3. The beaver uses its paddle to warn other beavers of danger by striking the surface of the water.
4. Beavers are very territorial. They use a very smelly substance called Castoreum from special glands called castor sacs to mark their territory.
5. Beavers are a keystone species within the ecosystem as it has a profound effect on their surrounding natural habitat and the species within it. This implies that hunters must practice prudent wildlife management strategies when hunting beavers so the ecosystem cannot be disrupted.
6. When scouting an area for signs of beaver activities, look for structures they build called lodges and dams.
7. Beavers have poor eyesight; therefore you really don’t need camouflaged clothing when hunting beavers.
8. Beavers have a good sense of smell. Always hunt downwind of the beavers.
9. Beavers don’t like to travel far on land as they are more vulnerable to predators when on land.
10. Beavers are mostly nocturnal and attentive animals.
11. Beavers are tough animals. A beaver that is fatally shot can still reach water and submerge. Most of the time if a wounded beaver reaches and submerges in water, you will not find it.
12. Don’t shoot a beaver when it is swimming in water. Your chances of a good hit are very slim. Additionally, even if you made a direct hit, the beaver will submerge and try to swim for the entrance of its lodge. You may never retrieve it as it may die and sink to the bottom or may die in its lodge.
13. Beavers can pick up vibrations on the shore. Therefore; be very careful and walk lightly as you walk along the shore looking for beavers.
14. Beavers have a good sense of hearing. They can pick up vibrations from land, therefore walk lightly.
15. Avoid stepping in the water along the banks as they will pick up the vibration and disappear.
16. Sadly, one way to lure beavers out is to partially damage their dams and lodges. When they discover the damage, they will work to quickly repair it. You can set up and wait until they have completed the repair and come on land to feed. This is when you want to take a shot at beavers.
The Bottom Line
Beavers are some of the toughest animals. Beavers are challenging to hunt with their good sense of smell and hearing. They are innovative, clever, and innovative animals. In this article, we shared information and knowledge to help hunters be successful in hunting beavers. If you are interested in hunting groundhogs, you can read how to hunt groundhogs.