This was a long, trying winter. One would have thought Gnawedagen would want to get the heck out of his garage pen and be free. But, no, it took me almost two weeks of cajoling, enticing and herding to convince him to enter a crate so that he could be carried down to the compound by the beaver pond.
We believed that Dewy, the beaver I raised up over the previous winter, had been taken by wolves right at freeze up. There had been no early evidence this spring that a beaver had spent the winter in the pond. However, just before I had started Gnawedagen’s eviction plans, Bruce pointed out a beaver swimming around the beaver house and diving into the runway to the house. Could Dewy have just moved downstream for the winter and was back to check out his old digs…hmmmm, I wonder. But it didn’t stick around long and moved off.
But my hope was that Gnawedagen would stay in the compound until he acclimatized to outside living and got used to the smells and dangers of the outside world. He had obviously spent enough time with his real family to develop his wild side. He never warmed up to me, and never trusted me so I felt that he would adapt quickly.
In the past, beavers I had overwintered would readily seek out the dark safety of a crate and transporting them down the hill to the pond was a breeze. Ha! Not this time! I left the crate in his fencing for several days to get him used to it. He initially avoided it, cowering in a corner away from this new threat. I would put his stuffies and his yams in there and wait…and wait…and give up, only to come back a few minutes later to see he had quickly ‘rescued’ them. When he finally realized the crate wasn’t going anywhere, he started to pile his sullied straw and peeled aspen against it, pushing it far from his bed. Each morning I would have to clear it away, in hopes that I would be able to catch him inside and close the door on him.
After a week, no more Missus Nice, I had to get the garage back to normal and the beaver moved. I set about removing all his ‘stuff’…bedding, favorite sticks, stuffies, dishes, etc. The pen now only held the crate and the beaver…an angry beaver…who didn’t like me much. I had to dodge a few toothy lunges, but managed to corral him in a manner that he had to go into the crate or get squished…hard to squish a muscular 40 lb beaver…kinda like pinning a rock…but I succeeded, unscathed.
With Bruce’s help, we carted him down to the pen. The pen he would be in has successfully held over 8 beavers in past years, Dewy being the last one. Dewy had dug himself an entrance, and would come and go from the pen to the pond, especially when the wild pond beaver attacked him. Once Dewy had moved out completely, I filled in all the holes and reinforced the fencing. Good to hold another beaver…I thought.
Gnawedegen studied his new digs with a critical, calculating eye, it seemed.
I left him to ponder his situation and went about my work. As evening fell, I could hear a lot of gnawing…good, I thought, he’s eating the aspen logs I put in for him…
Well, as it turns out, wooden pen supports and aspen logs sound the same when being gnawed…as when I went to walk the dogs at 6 a.m., this is what I saw.
And no, it’s not the wild beaver…Gnawedegen went through that pen, a pen that held so many beavers before, at least for a few weeks, like a hot knife through butter in only a few hours.
He only comes out in late evening and morning, saw him this morning sitting on the dam. He has hauled a few of his favorite aspen limbs away from the pen to chew on, but avoids me. The regular beaver trapping season ended today. Hopefully, he can live out a normal healthy beaver life. Can’t say he showed any signs of missing me, and that’s a good thing!