Beaver carcasses found on Rayhill trail spur investigation by state DEC
NEW HARTFORD — The discovery of several beaver carcasses on the Rayhill Memorial Trail in the Town of New Hartford is the focus of an investigation by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The DEC is looking into who killed and skinned the beavers and whether or not they had permission to do so on the public walking trail.
According to officials at the Woodhaven Wildlife Center in Chadwicks, a passerby on the Rayhill nature trail spotted at least five beaver carcasses off the trail in mid-February. Center officials said the bodies had been skinned, the feet had been cut off and one beaver was missing a tail. The carcasses were then left off the side of the trail, in full view of anyone passing by, officials said.
DEC officials said their environmental conservation police officers are working with the Bureau of Wildlife to investigate the circumstances surrounding the beavers’ death.
Beaver trapping season runs from Nov. 10 through April 7.
A person would either need a trapping license to trap beavers during the open trapping season or be issued a permit to trap beavers when the trapping season is closed, DEC officials said. Permits are obtained by contacting the DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife and are issued when beavers are causing damage to a person’s property.
Officials said there are no current permits issued for the area where the beavers were found.
Licensed trappers are permitted to trap beavers on property they do not own, but only with the permission of that landowner, officials said. A trapping license does not authorize trespassing. The DEC said their investigation into any trapper and any permissions is ongoing.
Woodhaven Wildlife Center President Judy Cusworth said she is also investigating the incident, which she said also involved the destruction of a protected beaver lodge.
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