How to Trap a Beaver: Actionable Guide & Best Traps

young beaver is eating leaves
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Castor Canadensis, the North American beaver, is the largest rodent on the continent, and it can be found across almost the entire territory of the US and Canada. Unfortunately, it can cause terrible damage and injure your pets and even family members! Read my article to learn useful beaver trapping tips and be ready to deal with infestations. Fortunately, there are several ways to do it humanely and effectively.

Beware the Beavers

Beavers are strong aquatic mammals that are known to be extremely aggressive and dangerous if they think that you are encroaching their property and territory. This unique aquatic animal is an owner of valuable pelts and powerful teeth that let it bulldoze forests and build dams.

The animal is incredibly clever and strong, but these traits make no good if beavers appear near humans or start flooding and damaging reserved sites. Your household or a pond nearby can also become a target. If you see beavers around, hurry up to learn how to trap a beaver and do it as fast as possible as potential consequences won’t gladden you at all.

They can also cause problems when you don’t touch them. Both European and North American species have been seen in multiple attacks on people. However, that never happens without reason. In many cases, people provoke animals to attack them in the act of protection. People either don’t know how dangerous these buddies are or just encounter them all of a sudden (rarely). For example, one man in Belarus was killed by a beaver in 2013 when he tried to take a photo with it!

The other half of attack cases occur when the beavers attack without any visible reasons. This happens because they frequently get infected with rabies or disoriented by daylight. In both situations, they attack the nearest target. It can be you, your children who play outside, or domestic animals. Even a medium beaver can easily kill a dog as its front teeth are long enough to make deep bleeding wounds.

Product
Best Humane Trap
Havahart 1045 Live Animal...
Best Deadly Trap
(6 Pack) No. 4 Long Spring...
Best Snare Traps
Redneck Convent Versatile...
Prime
-
Pros
100% secure trapping
Anchoring chain included
Humane floating lock
Best Humane Trap
Product
Havahart 1045 Live Animal...
Price
Prime
Pros
100% secure trapping
My review
Best Deadly Trap
Product
(6 Pack) No. 4 Long Spring...
Price
Prime
-
Pros
Anchoring chain included
My review
Best Snare Traps
Product
Redneck Convent Versatile...
Price
Prime
Pros
Humane floating lock
My review

Beaver Trapping Guide

Catching beavers is much more difficult than trapping mice or woodchucks as they are large, strong, and aggressive. The first thing you have to do is to learn the laws of your state as there can be limitations for lethal and non-lethal trapping methods. In most states with a beaver-trapping season, you can trap them from November/December to March/April. If you need their pelts, the best time to have it is during the winter season.

You should also be able to find the beavers’ habitat. That’s quite easy as they don’t try to hide their footprint. Follow felled trees with typical furrows that are impossible to confuse with a flat chainsaw cross-section, large piles of branches, paths, dams, and lodges. Choose the most convenient place and set a trap.

beaver in front of its dam

Always avoid places where pets roam and never touch the item with bare hands to avoid leaving human scent on it. Finally, you should check the trap every day to start transporting animals to safe areas before they start facing health problems and die of hunger and stress.

How to catch a beaver in a live trap

Now, let’s figure out how to set a beaver trap to catch it in the most humane way. Beaver traps have the same mechanism as average rodent cages with automatic doors. Choosing a place for the trap, you have to look for a secure location. I recommend you put them at the edge of the water, but no deeper than 1 inch to keep the catch from drowning. Besides, you have to ensure that the cage is attached to the ground and won’t slide deeper into the pond.

beaver standing at the edge of the water

Next, you have to set your cage following the and place a bait. You need the animal to get into the trap, so this step is important. I usually hang a small rug soaked in the liquid above the trigger plate to make beavers step onto the plate for sure. Castor scent produced by beavers to mark their territory will work well, and you can get it online without problems.

How to snare a beaver

Many people consider snaring the best way to trap a beaver as it’s cheap, highly effective, and rarely harms the animal. You have to place your snares at the edge of the water to catch beavers when they come out from the water. I recommend you to use 48″ snares with a relaxing lock so that rodents can step into the trap and tighten it well without feeling too much pressure.

This way, a trapped beaver won’t choke. To make the process faster, you can fence rodents to make them go in the right direction. Use these beaver snaring tips, and you’ll definitely succeed.

Set body grip traps

This type of trap is less humane but very easy to install and usually kills beavers instantly. Choosing the right place to set it, consider paths, water edges, and areas around dams or lodges. The trigger system is easy to activate, but you have to be careful and keep your hands away from the damage zone, which is called “the portal”.

Trap a beaver in a pond

Trapping a beaver in a pond, I recommend you to use foothold traps. As this is a non-lethal, but highly painful method, you’d want the animal to drown when trapped. Place it on spots where paths meet water. The depth must be around 10 inches to let the beaver step into the trap not just swim above it. Check the tap regularly and remove the carcasses as soon as possible, otherwise predators will eat them.

Best Beaver Traps: Field-Tested Models

Now, let’s take a look at the most effective products that I’ve tested over the last few years. I always take these 3 items when customers call me to solve their problems with beavers. You can take a look at products by other manufacturers too, but I cannot guarantee the quality if you do so.

Havahart 1045 Live Animal Two-Door Live Trap – Secure & Reusable

This stainless steel cage with 2 doors lets you catch a beaver without harming it at all. Both entrances are wide enough for the animal to walk in, while the sensitive trigger plate ensures 100% catch. When the job is done, you can easily transport the cage using the protected hold on the top.

The rodent won’t be able to injure you or itself as the metal mesh is sturdy enough to withstand bites of most animals. I recommend this trapping cage when you need to transport the animal to a safer site and to keep it alive.

Pros:Cons:
  • 100% secure trapping;
  • Easy to transport;
  • Large enough for beavers;
  • Easy to set up.
  • Non-foldable design.

Redneck Convent Versatile Snare Wire Trapping Supplies 12-Pack – Universal Kit for Catching Beavers

Redneck Convent offers a simple, secure, and convenient set of 12 snare wires. The length of one piece is 60 inches, so that you can easily adjust it to the needed size. The floating lock will ensure that the animal is held tight enough, but won’t lock to the end and cause too much pain. The snare is long enough to let you anchor it around anything and then take it off easily.

Pros:Cons:
  • Humane floating lock;
  • 60-inch wire;
  • Easy to anchor;
  • 12 pieces in the pack.
  • Not eco-friendly.

No. 4 Long Spring Trap 6″ Jaw Spread – Reliable Foothold Trap

This one’s an ultimately strong and simple foothold trap with powerful spring on both sides. It has a classic mechanism with a minimal number of parts, which makes the installation easy and sets you free from maintenance. Just clean it and reuse as many times as you need. The item comes with a sturdy 12” chain with a large ring on the end for convenient anchoring.

Pros:Cons:
  • Reliable classic design;
  • Easy to install;
  • Anchoring chain included;
  • Heavy base;
  • Thick jaws.
  • It’s rather painful for the victim.

FAQ

What do you bait a beaver trap with?

The best bait for a beaver trap is castor scent. This matter is produced by beavers and used for protecting their territory from other animals. It’s sold commercially, and you can easily order it online or find it in the local hunting store.

How often should you check a beaver trap?

You should check your traps at least once a day to prevent the animals from suffering if you are using live traps and to remove carcasses. Otherwise, predators will eat the bodies and damage pelts.

Where to set a beaver trap?

trapper is setting a beaver trap

In most cases, you have to set the trap on the water edge to catch beavers while they are walking out of the water. However, the depth should be different for particular trap types.

What trap size to use for beavers?

Here are the best sizes for each trap type:

  • Snare – I always use a 48″ snare with a special lock that doesn’t choke the trapped animal. You can also use 60″ models;
  • Foothold trap – the size doesn’t really matter, but it doesn’t have to be too big to cause as little damage as possible. A 6″ jaw is enough;
  • Body grip trap – the portal size has to be from 9″ to 12″.

No Beavers Anymore

Now you can get rid of these avid nature destroyers and make sure that they don’t attack your family members, neighbors, and pets. Besides, you will save the area from possible flooding and landslides. You shouldn’t expose yourself to risk, so place traps only when you are sure that the beavers sleep, or they are far enough to stay calm and neglect your presence.

Have you ever faced the problems of heaving to deal with beavers? How did it go and what you did to stop them? Share what you know in the comments to add up value and feel free to ask me questions on the topic. I usually reply quite soon. For more pest control tips and product reviews, stay tuned and subscribe to the newsletter.

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Nicholas Martin

About Nicholas Martin

I am Nicholas Martin, and I am an entomologist. I combine the insect survey work with the consultation for private pest control agencies. My narrow specializations are both urban pests and agricultural pests. I studied their control over the previous 25 years.

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