Beavers and their dams can provide a lot of benefits to their surroundings. However, they also can be very destructive.

I remember years ago we woke up in the morning at our cabin on the lake and found several trees gnawed down on our property. The beavers had come up in a taken down a few poplar trees by the shoreline. One of them actually landed on our pontoon.

Later, we took a boat ride around the lake (with our dented pontoon), and found the beaver dam on the other side of the lake. Sure enough, there were a couple of beavers swimming back and forth to their beaver lodge. These furry little engineers built a damn where the lake turned into a creek.

Why do beavers build dams?

Why do these animals build these complex dams and lodges? When they dam up the water flow, it creates deep enough water where they can tunnel in and swim underwater to get into their lodge. It protects them from predators. Pretty smart, right? Wolves, coyotes, bears, and mountain lions can't get to them.

beaver in water leaning on a branch

How can I protect my property from beavers?

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers the following tips to deter beavers on your property.

  • Put hardware cloth (fine mesh wire) around the base of the tree going up at least 30 inches. Used energized fencing for larger areas.
  • Plant native trees that beavers don't like. The common juniper tree is a good example.
  • Landscape to create a buffer strip of native vegetation.
Beaver in the Tetons

Can I legally remove a beaver dam from my property?

Yes, you can remove a beaver dam from your property, but there are rules to be aware of. As always, it's advised that you contact your local DNR Conservation Officer to make sure you're within the law.

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You might need a permit.

There are factors to consider when removing a beaver dam. First, you can't remove it if it's in public waters. It's also important to determine if removing the dam will cause damage to a neighbor's property.

Related: Can I Shoot A Problem Bear In Minnesota?

Removing the dam won't be enough anyway.

Sadly, removing the dam won't do much good anyway, unless you remove the beavers. The beavers will rebuild the dam very quickly. The only way to prevent the damage is to trap or kill the beavers.

When can you trap a beaver in Minnesota without a permit?

Minnesota Statute 97B.655 states the following:

  • The landowner must have beaver damage to their property
  • The landowner must authorize the removal
  • The beaver must be on the landowner's property where it is causing damage at the time it is shot or trapped.
  • The person who took the beavers must notify the DNR within 24 hours.

Animals You Can Hunt Year Round In Minnesota

Gallery Credit: Ken Hayes

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