Date of this Version
Landowner perceptions of damage caused by beavers (Castor canadensis) and of beaver control programs in Arkansas were determined by mail survey. Beavers were present on lands owned by 36% of the 1,716 respondents. Girdled timber, blocked culverts and flooded timber were the first, second and third most common damages reported, respectively. Thirty-two percent of all respondents and 90% of those with beavers reported at least one form of damage. Four percent of land owned by respondents was flooded by beavers. Of landowners with beavers, 50% described damage as substantial or severe, and 46% perceived damage as unreasonable. At least one benefit was reported by 27% of landowners with beavers; aesthetic enjoyment was the benefit most often cited (14%). Of those with beavers, 64% felt beavers were a nuisance, 17% said they could enjoy a few beavers but worried about potential damage and 10% said they enjoyed beavers. Decreased beaver populations were desired by 74% of landowners with beavers, but only 47% had tried beaver removal and only 25% said they would pay for removal. Of all respondents, 26% were aware that government agencies offered beaver control programs but only 15% knew that the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission offered the control program in Arkansas. Ninety percent of respondents felt government agencies should provide assistance. Landowners most often requested information on controlling beavers (44%) and demonstration of control techniques (40%) . Coordinating assistance programs among several agencies, emphasizing education and demonstration, and loaning traps might improve landowner assistance programs in Arkansas.