Beavers are perfectly harmless creatures.

independentminded made these statements in the recent gun thread.

In my experience beavers are far from harmless when it comes to peoples properties. The damage from flooding due to beaver dams can cause thousands of dollars in damage, can ruin homes, contaminate wells and spread disease.

In my state, MA, you can’t legally just shoot them. You really have to jump through hoops to do anything about them. Damaging a beaver dam is a 2000 dollar fine and killing a beaver is a substantially higher fine. The only way to legally deal with beavers is to have a trapper licensed to trap beavers pull a permit to do so. Only kill traps are legal to use.

What are your thoughts on beavers? Menace to society or perfectly harmless?

I think the subject is debate worthy. Though I can see it finding its way to IMHO

Are there sound reasons for the ban or is it mainly sentimentality?

Aw, c’mon.

Beavers themselves are harmless (so long as they are undiseased), but men’s desire for them has affected the course of history.

Yet another terror attack on Clinton’s watch:

In 1999, Washington, D.C.'s annual Cherry Blossom Festival was plagued by a family of beavers who lived in the Tidal Basin. The offenders were caught and removed, but not before damaging 14 cherry trees, including some of the largest and oldest trees.

Those dam beavers can cause serious headaches for landowners.

Besides the flooding, they have the uncanny knack for chewing down every tree possible to build their lodges and dams. Menace to society is a bit harsh. Nuisance is a better word.

Doubt it. Cute fuzzy animals tend to trump peoples rights around me. A while ago they went to pretty strict anti-deer hunting laws as well. Now that people are realizing an uncontrolled deer population devastates any chance of having a beautiful garden people are starting to have a different outlook on Bambi.

They’re basically a big rat that can flood your property.

Beavers are perfectly harmless creatures.
The only truly harmless beaver is one that’s been stuffed

You will see how ‘harmless’ Beavers are on Thursday when they mercilessly stomp the Ducks into the Oregon mud.

Or perhaps you were speaking of the little furry animal that is single handedly responsible for the mass genocide of the western American native peoples, simply by virtue of having a good pelt to make felt for European hats? Or what BrainGlutton linked to above.

How are they for eating?

Like most rodents, if slow cooked, they are marginal table fare. I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat one again.

I’ve never understood the “shoot on sight” mentality that I’ve seen applied to certain species in my life. There are circumstances where I can see lethal action being reasonable, but I simply cannot swallow that it is always reasonable.

I have a very vivid memory of car-pooling home from school with the neighborhood kids (if you can call rural homesteads spread out across thousands of acres as a “neighborhood”) when one of the kids my age spotted a porcupine ambling along the side of the road. He eagerly turned to his adult cousin who was driving and asked if he could get out and shoot it. His cousin said no, but pulled one of the family revolvers out of the glove box and shot it himself. As my and my family’s usual reaction to seeing wildlife on the road was to enjoy it as a fleeting moment of rare awe, I was shocked and asked why they had taken the animal’s life. “They’re pests, and they ruin our fruit trees.” The fact that the animal was found miles away from their nearest property line made no difference.

I’ve taken the head off of a rattlesnake that was coiled up beneath my mother’s front steps with a shovel, but it was posing a threat to us, our pets and our livestock and it would have been dangerous for me to try and catch it and move it off to a more remote corner of our property. It was a hard decision to make and I felt bad, but I was alone at the time and if something had gone wrong with the capture attempt it could have gotten ugly.

These were two different circumstances that took place within a few miles of each other with many years in between, but I think most people would consider one of the killings as unnecessary and the other as warranted but unfortunate.

I’ve been eating the same beaver for 30 years and it’s exquisite.