Beaver (Castor fiber)

The beaver population was wiped out in Estonia as a result of overhunting in the middle of the 19th century. Beavers repopulated Estonian lands during the second half of the 20th century, with the population currently exceeding 13,000 individuals.

The beaver is the largest rodent in Europe. It builds piled-up nests and dikes, and fells trees. Beavers can stay underwater for up to 15 minutes.

The rut for beavers is in February / March. Kits are born in June. The litter consists of parent animals and their kits from the current and previous years. A beaver’s skin is extremely durable. Bigger individuals can weigh over 30 kg. Beavers are prey for wolves and bears.

Beaver may be hunted using a fyke net, fencing mesh, a leghold trap or with an FCI Group 3 or 4 hunting dog (dachshund or terrier) from 1 August until 15 March. Beaver may be hunted with a hunting dog from 1 October until 28 (29) February. Beaver may be hunted from hides or stalked with a dachshund or terrier from 1 August until 15 April. Beaver hunting is permitted in case of damage caused by a beaver, by hunting from hides or stalking or catching using a dachshund or a terrier, with permission from the Environmental Board.

The main hunting methods are hunting from hides and with leghold traps. Beaver skulls are valued as hunting trophies. Beaver skins are used for making coats and winter hats.