One of the premier members of this forum affectionately refers to me as a "rodent trapper. While marten are actually a member of the weasel family, this time of year "rodent trapper" accurately describes some of my activites.
We can begin using traps for beaver sept. 15, and I like to get a few for trapping bait for other species later in the season. Of course I save the furs and either sell or use them.
This time of year beaver are finishing up their winter residence. Building up their feedpile, enlarging the dam, and building up the lodge. They are very territorial and actively defend their pond from intruders(other beavs). This works to a trappers advantage.
Beaver will repair any hole in their dam, and one way to bring them around is to open a spot in the dam. You can set a leghold or conibear in the hole and often catch them. Here's a pic of a couple snares I set, and a coni in the background where I opened a hole in the dam.
In addition to the hole in the dam, I rubbed a beaver castor on some of the willows near the snares. The homeboys will smell the castor and think another beaver has invaded their home and swim around looking for the intruder.
Beaver will dig new channels sometimes, in an effort to access more feed. Often, these channels are not much wider than the beaver. A few sticks to fence off the channel and a well supported conibear will catch any beav swimming thru the channel. Here's a pic of the set.
While the dam keeps the water in, it doesn't stop the beaver. If you look over the dam carefully, you will see places the beaver regularly use to go over the dam and head down the stream. These are also good places for a set. Here's a pic of a successful catch in just such a spot;
The clarity of the pic is not too good, but the trap was between the 2 willows and beyond it, across the water I made a mudpie. Beaver scoop mud from the bottom and deposit it around the edges of their pond. They squirt the juice of their castor on the mud as a marking spot for their territory. A trapper can mimic these mudpies and put some castor on it to entice the beaver. The beaver in the pic was caught in an RBG, a round body grip trap. Same as a conibear, but round. They are designed to kill quickly.
Later in the year the beaver meat wil help entice fox, wolverine, and lynx into my sets. I'm just about ready for snow!