Mostly Trapping

County establishes beaver bounty
Jan 8, 2020 11:56 ET
PRIMGHAR—O’Brien County is leaving it to beaver trappers to take care of cutting down the large furry rodent’s numbers.

On Tuesday, Dec. 10, in Primghar, the board of supervisors established a new countywide beaver bounty policy effective with the beginning of beaver trapping season through one week after the end of the season.

The policy immediately took effect for the beaver trapping season that started on Nov. 2 and runs through April 15.

A bounty of $35 will be paid per beaver until a maximum of $5,000 from the county’s rural services fund for the season has been paid out.

There is no set limit to the number of beavers turned in per trapper.

“The price doesn’t change based on the age of the beaver,” said board chair Sherri Bootsma.

Beavers will be accepted 8-11 a.m. Mondays at O’Brien County Conservation’s shop building at Mill Creek Park in Paullina.

Trappers will need to note where in the county they caught the beavers.

“They’re going to have to indicate where the beaver was harvested,” Bootsma said. “It is kind of an honor system, but they do have to map out where it came from.”

She noted trappers have to verify they received permission from county landowners — including the county conservation board — to catch beavers on their property.

According to the county’s beaver bounty policy:

Beavers must have been caught lawfully in the county during beaver trapping season.
A beaver trapper must have a valid Iowa fur bearer’s license.
Tails must be attached to the beavers when they are presented for bounties.
Bootsma explained why beavers presented for bounties must have their tails attached.

“You could go to a fur bearer collection guy and just take tails off him and turn them in,” she said. “That way, they have to take the whole part of the beaver and then you can notch the tail and you can still receive payment as well for the beaver.”

Conservation staff members will make sure beavers are not being stockpiled for months by trappers.

“If they grab it and fur’s coming out, they know that’s an old beaver,” Bootsma said. “They’re not going to pay for that.

“They do have the little disclaimer: It’s at their discretion whether you receive payment or not,” she said.

Board members have been discussing a beaver bounty policy for the past few months because of complaints about the dam-building animals causing damage throughout the county.

“The theory is, it’ll start a decrease in their population,” said supervisor Dan Friedrichsen. “Then they get harder to trap and their population is where maybe it needs to be.”

He noted he does not want to see the county’s beaver population totally wiped out.

“If it’s a lake, they deserve to be there; they should be there,” Friedrichsen said. “Certain systems — they need to be there.”

He mentioned his family traps beavers from time to time on their rural Sutherland property in the southeast corner of the county.

“We have a pond that has a family of beavers there,” Friedrichsen said. “We like to take two a year out of that family, and then that keeps the damage low. It keeps them from spreading.”