Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Beaver Situation

Well, Sunday certainly was an interesting day around here. It started out normal enough. I got up drank my coffee, read the news, took my shower, got my clothes out for church, woke up the children and headed out to feed and milk. Everything out there appeared normal also, until I got to the second doe to be milked. From where she is on the milk stand I can see into Thunder's (horse) stall. So I am happily milking away enjoying my quiet time and the sounds of happy critters munching away when I see a dark shape in the back corner of Thunder's stall. It was a big dark shape and very difficult to tell what it was. For a split second I thought the neighbor's dog had gotten into the barn and in the stall with Thunder (very dangerous thing to do) and was really badly hurt. However, one of the chickens solved the mystery as she popped through the wall between the stalls and began to make her way happily around Thunder's feet (yes he tolerates the chickens) to scratch through his bedding. As the chicken scurried toward the big dark shape it growled and lunged at her. It was then that I knew what it was....a beaver. A really big beaver. For a moment I was shocked, so much so that I stopped milking and just sat and stared. What was a beaver doing in my barn so far from any lake or pond or stream or anything else. Our pond is swimming pool size, wide open, no trees, and fenced in. Not beaver habitat. My neighbors to the side and back of me (2 brothers) have about 4 very large lakes and several smaller lakes/ponds. I figured the beaver came from there. But here is the question. This beaver had to travel up the hill, through the woods, all the way around my goat fence, double back toward my house (and my LGD) to go into the front of my barn right next to the house with the cars parked in front. Why? This is not normal behavior for a beaver. So I got my husband and we pulled all the animals out of the barn and put them out back in the pasture. Thunder was not happy that he did not get to finish his breakfast. My husband and I left the barn to give it a chance to go away, put all the dogs in the house and got the gun. The beaver was right where we left it, it had no interest in leaving. Something was not right with this beaver. Beavers tend to avoid humans at all cost, at least that has been my experience. As a wildlife painter I spent many hours in the woods trying to get photos of beavers only to get the splash of their tail as they disappeared from sight. Even though I have never heard of a case of rabies in beavers this was my thought. So my husband shot the beaver leaving the head intact. We then with gloves double bagged the beaver, put it in a cooler on ice and checked the critters. Well, it had bitten Thunder so it definitely needed to be tested. By this time going to church is out the window because I need to know what to do with this beaver. So I call the state wildlife office (no answer, it is Sunday after all), the critter man (doesn't know what to do with it), my vet (no answer probably in church with the phone off), sheriff's department (don't know what to do with it) and on and on it went as I called every agency I could think of to call to see where I needed to take this beaver. Finally, my vet called me back. So yesterday morning I went and picked up a rabies booster for the horse, decapitated the beaver and took the head to the state lab in the city to be tested. I should know the results today. What a shame, that was some of the most beautiful meat I had ever seen not to mention the gorgeous pelt. And the fat, just think of the soap I could make from that beautiful 1/2" layer of fat just under the skin. So that has been my past couple of days, dealing with a wayward and possibly very sick beaver. I hope the animal tests negative, but at the same time I hate the thought that I killed an animal that perhaps just got very turned around and very scared when it found itself in a bad spot. However, with such odd behavior and its unwillingness to get out of my barn I really had no choice. I will never have any answers as to why this beaver wound up in my barn. I am just wondering if one of my neighbors hasn't destroyed a lodge and displaced a family. Cruel thing to do this time of year, even in a mild southern winter. This is the time of year that babies are getting ready to be born and mama wouldn't have time to build another lodge before hand. If people are going to live in wild places with wild things, then I wish they would at least learn the cycle of those things with which they live. I understand beavers can cause problems and need to be moved out, but if you destroy the lodge at least do it when they have time to rebuild before having babies and even then maybe it would be better to trap and eat the beavers before destroying the lodge. My grandfather never agreed with wasting any life that God created. He didn't believe in killing for the sake of killing and putting a pregnant beaver out of home in winter is killing for the sake of killing in my book. Of course, I am just jumping to conclusions on that one. It just as easily could be a sick or lost juvenile that mama put out to make room for the new little ones. Anyways it was a beautiful critter and I finally got up close and personal with a beaver that I had for so many years tried to capture on film. Blessings from the farm, Kat


Kelle said...

How strange I agree , for a beaver to act like that. Praying it isn't rabies. What did the vet say about Thunder if the test comes back positive?

I also agree with you on the aspect of killing just for the sake of killing. Since we live on the river when bird season opens( even though it is posted No Hunting or Tresspassing) we have to run off several hunters from our property each year. This year, one man was on our property shooting when I yelled at him to stop he was trespassing. He continued to shoot, then the war was on! I had Dd call the local police and I ran down to the river. He informed me that he has the right to shoot the ducks and geese, we don't own the river. I then set him straight, that no I indeed can't stop him from hunting, nor is the river my property, but..... the only way to get to where he was located was to trespass on our land. I then explained the we own( literally) to the high water mark and there is no way, unless he swam, to get to where he was unless he walked on our property, which is posted. He started to get mouthy when the local cop arrived. Although I didn't press charges I told him if I ever saw him on our property again I would. The really sad thing is that he had no intention of eating the ducks he'd killed, they went floating down the river. Makes me mad still to think that pairs were broken up all for the sport of it!*grrrrrr....*
Praying that the test is negative and Thunder will be okay.

Kate said...

I hope Thunder will be just fine for you all, it's an experience I cant say that i've had. A sad account of things that may or may not be. I appreciate your candor, and that of your poster, Kelle, which I can take and file away in my own mind for future use.

Kelly said...

The creek that runs behind our house is called Beaver Creek. I hear them often, but rarely see more than the ripple in the water created when it wacks it with its tail. We've never seen them on our proerpty even though it'd be easy for them to wander around thru the trees. My first thought was rabies too, please let us know what you learn.

Just today I was bit on the backside by a neighbor dog as I walked by to hike the trails behind our house. Owner barely even called the dog back. I was too upset at that point to say anything other than he needed to fix the hole in his fence and keep his dogs on his property. My pants weren't torn and I didn't feel any blood, so assumed my skin wasn't broken. When I got back I checked and it looks like a rug burn. DH is out of town tonight so we'll go over to determine rabies vaccination in the morning.

Is Thunder OK?