Tuesday June 18, 2024

Oregon Capital Chronicle

Oregon’s state animal has for years been classified as a “predator” by the state fish and wildlife agency, and that’s meant that the North American Beaver has lived largely unprotected from private landowners who can kill them at will. 

That will change July 1 when new rules go into effect under House Bill 3464, the “beaver bill.” The bill passed the state Legislature in 2023, and the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, which crafts regulations for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, approved new rules June 14 to reclassify and protect beavers from being killed at will by private landowners.

The beavers will now be classified solely as “furbearers,” an animal whose fur has commercial value, and no longer be classified as “predators.” 

With this change, landowners can’t kill a beaver for being a nuisance, or because they’re worried the animal will gnaw through plants or crops. To kill a beaver, the landowner must go through a permitting process with the Fish and Wildlife Department, which will require the landowner to undertake non-lethal mitigation strategies first. These include placing fences and barriers around trees, repellent on trees and choosing different types of plants, according to Michelle Dennehy, a spokesperson for the agency. 

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