DeSoto County considers beaver bounty

DeSoto County considers beaver bounty

(WMC-TV) - There is a beaver-human conflict brewing as DeSoto County tries to get control of the animal.

The county is tossing around the idea of a beaver bounty program. But beaver advocates warn it is a waste of time and money.

Beavers are mostly nocturnal, but DeSoto County officials claim the rodent's residual impact is keeping them up at night.

"It's kind of been ongoing for several years," said DeSoto Regional Utility Authority Board member Joe Frank Lauderdale.

Lauderdale said the beaver's dams have been a curse in the county.

"Doing damage damming up streams, uh, near the city and county roads, causing flooding problems, causing damage like that," he said.

It is to the point that the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors is considering a plan that would pay hunters to kill beavers. They could earn $5 or $10 per pelt. They are calling it a 'beaver bounty'.

But the idea gnaws at non-profit advocacy groups like upstate New York-based Beavers: Wetlands and Wildlife (BWW).

A video on its website asserts the beaver's importance to the wild. It says they play a pivotal role in creating and restoring freshwater wetlands.

BWW says paying for pelts has proven to be an ineffective policy and it spawns pelt fraud.

Almost all places have abandoned them," said Sharon Brown, BW2.

Brown says beavers are not easily removed from a habitat. She advocates for a more cost-effective solution.

"We can solve the individual problems like road flooding by putting in a simple device that doesn't allow the beavers to plug the culverts and that's close to 100 percent effective," she said.

County officials say the bounty is merely an idea up for discussion.

"What we're trying to control is the encroachment of the beavers on the habitat, in the developed areas," said Lauderdale.

But they are ready to go to work to fix the problem.

The board has not made a decision. County officials are reviewing the possibility and expect a full report on beaver bounties within a few weeks.

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