Nobody needs a beaver
On the streams and small rivers of the forest and forest-steppe zones of the European part of our country, one can often see traces of the beavers’ activity: bites, fallen trees, burrows, huts, dams. The latter can be both very modest buildings and true masterpieces of “animal architecture.”
Weapons and self-guided hunting for this beast occupy many pages of topics on specialized Internet forums. Practically in all regions where the beaver lives, it is of some interest for the hunting part of the population, but there are exceptions. The Rostov region is currently located on the southern border of the beaver’s habitat, but in its northern and northeastern regions in recent years this beast has become very noticeable.
And occasional traces of his presence can be seen in other parts of the region. Like many other hunting animals, by the beginning of the 20th century, the river beaver had disappeared from the territory of the Region of the Don Army. Apparently, this was due primarily to unrestricted fishing, coupled with the then high demand for the corresponding fur products. Subsequent generations of Don hunters have completely lost the experience of beaver fishing.
However, some time later, people began to try to correct the past mistakes of “waste of resources”. In the 1970s, mass events were held in our country to resettle the beaver to restore its historic habitat. Not bypassed this process and the Rostov region. True, it is reliably known about the release of a very modest number (less than 50 individuals) in the territory of only two regions of the region. But, in addition to the artificial settlement, the beaver penetrated here and naturally – from the neighboring territories. Three northern “neighbors” could become natural “donors”: Lugansk (more precisely, at that time Voroshilovgrad) region of the Ukrainian SSR, as well as Voronezh and Volgograd regions of the RSFSR. Since the beaver is now concentrated in the region both in the basin of the Seversky Donets River and along the Chir River with tributaries, both the north-west and north-east variants of its penetration seem quite probable.For a long time, there were no complete data on the number of this rodent in the region, and “expertly” its population from 2000 to 2010 was estimated at 400-600 individuals. Official mining was not made. And in 2016, in the local mass media, there was a news that the regional authorities initiated a scientific work to determine the number of beaver and assess the harm it supposedly caused to the environment. As a result of the study, the number of these rodents was determined in 1900-2400 individuals (and they did not reveal any particular harm to the ecosystem and the human economy). That is, either over the five-year period, the number increased 3-3.5 times (which is doubtful), or the experts were somewhat mistaken. The most interesting thing is that in hunting circles this news did not cause any revival at all. The beaver was not as interesting to the mass hunter of the Rostov region, and remained in this status. And indeed, the beaver’s skin is now a poorly liquid product, the meat has a specific taste and not everyone likes it, and all sorts of exotic products of traditional medicine from the derivatives of this animal are also good, as they say, “for an amateur”. For a long time, I myself did not think about beaver hunting in my native region, although I had some scant information about the state of affairs with this animal. From conversations with hunters and workers of the hunting economy, the following picture was formed: someone somewhere (or accidentally) shot, specific meat, there was nowhere to hide, no one was engaged in hunting, no mining permits were issued.
However, while traveling around the region, observing here and there the traces of the “river builders” dwelling, I gradually became interested in this unusual game. Over time, after meeting with the hunters who are actively mining beavers in other regions of Russia, the desire to “discover” this hunt for themselves, and it was done on the territory of the Rostov region, only strengthened. And by virtue of my exceptional law-abidingness, this meant no less than taking the first permission to catch this animal in the region. Not to say that it was easy, the idea was “hatched” for a total of a couple of years, but the very scientific research reported by the media ultimately ensured the success of the enterprise.
So, having collected in advance a small “baggage” of theoretical knowledge and having obtained the necessary papers, I began to search in the chosen land for a specific place to hunt. The search was complicated by the fact that the necessary hunting ground was located at a distance of almost 200 km from the house – you cannot find any intelligence for that. However, after long inquiries of local hunters and a small phase of independent reconnaissance, the required place was found. A narrow, not more than 3 meters wide, stream flowed from a pond located near a small farm in one of the northern districts of the region. The banks of the creek are densely overgrown with shrubs and willows.