How to deal with problem Beaver in Vermont

Beaver (North American beaver)


Beaver are common and abundant throughout the entire Northeast. They are an important keystone species in that their dam building activities create habitat for many fish, wildlife, and plant species. The beaver is the largest native rodent in North America with adults weighing 40 to 50 pounds or more. The most distinguishing feature is its large, flat black tail. It is primarily aquatic and can be found wherever water and trees are available. Beavers cut (chew) down a wide variety of trees, and especially prefer poplars, aspens and willows. They also girdle trees (chewing off the bark in a ring around the entire tree near the base), which almost always results in the death of the trees.

Beavers are the engineers of the animal world, building dams and lodges in streams and ponds using nearby trees. These dams create valuable wetland habitats but may also flood roads, destroy crops, damage septic systems, and kill trees in low-lying areas. In rare instances, beavers can contract rabies and may even attack people after being infected by the disease.

State specific info - Vermont - Beaver

Because beaver create such valuable wildlife habitat, the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife has a long-standing program to provide technical assistance to landowners and municipalities to help resolve beaver/human conflicts.  This assistance might include the installation of water control structures, protective fences, and advice on beaver population control if necessary.  Other organizations and individuals may offer the same types of assistance.  For more information see the VFWD publication "Best Management Practices for Resolving Human/Beaver Conflicts".   


Laws and regulations to be aware of

Regulations for Vermont

Furbearing animals doing damage

In Vermont, landowners can legally protect their property from damage caused by rabbits and furbearing animals through lethal means. Anyone receiving compensation for trapping furbearers doing damage must hold a valid Vermont trapping license.

Removing Beaver Dams

There are many rules and regulations surrounding wetlands, including beaver created wetlands. Landowners should contact VT Fish and Wildlife or the Department of Environmental Conservation before removing beaver dams older than two years. Beaver dams less than two years can be removed but should be removed slowly, lowering the water level no more than one foot per day. This work should be done by hand rather than machinery to better control the release of water. This helps reduce downstream erosion, sediment deposition and the potential for downstream property damage.

Possession of Wildlife

It is illegal to possess living, wild animals in Vermont. A furbearing animal can only be possessed when moving the animal to a more appropriate place for dispatch.

While we attempt to provide guidance about state and federal regulations pertaining to specific species and control techniques, we do not provide information about local jurisdictions (city, town, county, etc.) where regulations may be more restrictive, especially as it applies to discharge of firearms, transport of animals or use of trapping equipment. Contact your local city or county government to inquire further. No guarantee is made that information (or lack of information) associated with a species or control technique is completely accurate or current. You should become familiar with federal, state and local laws before beginning any wildlife control activities.