Eager beaver a problem at C-K golf course

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It appears a local golf course has something in common with the fictional Bushwood Country Club in the movie Caddyshack.

Where Bushwood had a problematic and comedic gopher, Maple City Country Club has an oh-so-Canadian issue: a beaver.

The highlights from the club’s January board meeting stated the country club has “been actively addressing an ongoing beaver concern along the bank of the 13th hole, which will result in the unfortunate loss of several trees in the area.”

Course management opted to hire a professional trapper in early December, but as of the time of issue of the meeting highlights, the “elusive beaver remains undiscovered.”

Greg Brown, head superintendent at Maple City, said the interloper has been a difficult catch. He holds out hope the animal gets the hint and moves on.

“We made the attempt before winter and missed him. Then the ice came. We aren’t sure where his home is,” he said. “We’re just waiting for the floodwaters to recede.”

The problem is the buck-toothed rodent is sampling trees along the river’s edge much like a Las Vegas buffet aficionado, rather than focusing on one.

“He’s gnawed on about 15 or 16 trees already. He hasn’t dropped any, but he’s been chewing on them,” Brown said. “Mostly he’s going after the sugar maples. It’s nice and tasty for them. It’s like he can’t make up his mind.”

The superintendent wishes the beaver would.

“If he only picked one or two trees, he could stay.”

Brown hopes the recent high water flooded the beaver out of his home and he decides to find a different spot to live. If the beaver does not paddle onward, Brown said the trapper will be called in once again, and the beaver will be lethally trapped.

“We called in a professional. He’ll do it the right way,” Brown said.

According to the provincial government, “as a last resort,” a property owner can “humanely kill or trap beavers that are damaging or about to damage” their property, or hire an agent to do the job.

Brigan Barlow, manager of drainage for the municipality confirmed catch and release is not really an option for beavers.

“You are allowed by law to move them up to one kilometre. They’ll just come right back,” he said. “The only way to do it is to lethally trap them.”

Brown said beaver sightings are pretty regular for him, as he’s seen about eight over the past three years.

“Most stay out in the river and do their own thing. This one wants to make a home here,” he said.

Greg Van Every, conservation services co-ordinator with the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Association (LTVCA), said it shouldn’t be surprising to spot a beaver in our part of the province.

“There are more beavers around than you know. (The Municipality of) Chatham-Kent drainage is constantly fighting with them,” he told The Chatham Voice. “For the past five years or so, they’ve been pretty regular.”

Van Every said the critters are great for the environment in general, but not when their actions butt up against humanity.

“These animals are keystone species that do a good job creating habitat, but alongside agriculture, they aren’t the most desirable,” he said.

 

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