The beaver strikes back

Enough time has passed for me to feel comfortable talking about a subject close to my heart which has irked me for sometime. Hopefully I will be able to do so without sounding to insensitive. In late May of 2013, a Belarus man (Belarus is a small European country between Poland and Russia) was mortally wounded after engaging a sentient being on the side of a road. The altercation was a singular event in a long series of disagreements, though it was the first of its kind to claim a human life.

The unnamed, 60-year-old Belarussian fisherman was driving with a chum on their way to fishing hot spot when they spied something along the side of the road and pulled over.

In the months leading up to the attack, there had been an increase in reports of similar invaders closing in on residential districts and acting in an ever more aggressive fashion. In order to combat the hostile intruders, crews equipped with powerful fire hoses had been lashing out at the would be assailants, vetting them with high-powered streams of water in an effort to turn back the tide of their advance. Most of the collateral from the fray had been reserved to property damage, but a few injuries had been reported prior to the month of May.



During the days of old, the Belarussians had taken the fight to their enemy, hunting the beaver to the brink of extinction. Unfortunately, in recent years, the Eastern European people have became lackadaisical in their sacred charge of keeping the threat of the beaver at bay. In time the Belarussians allowed compassion to cloud their judgement and – bowing to the whims of foolhardy environmentalists – permitted a resurgence in the beaver population.

The fishermen, unaware of the danger he was in, wanted to have his photograph taken with his people’s natural enemy. Bending down he attempted to pick up the buck-toothed rodent. That was when the beaver struck. Lashing out in a fit of rage it bit the man several times, striking the mortal blow which cut through a major artery in the fisherman’s leg. He was pronounced dead by the time he arrived at the hospital.

Beavers are a relatively commonplace sight in the hills of Chenango County. Under Article 11 of the New York State Environmental Conservation Law no person is permitted to ever disturb a beaver’s dame, house or den, without the permission of the Department of Conservation. The DEC strongly suggests tackling a beaver infestation by contracting a trapper during the open season. Other than that, landowners and humanity’s options are limited. As the beavers are a protected species it is unwise – and illegal – to engage them in combat, but should an individual find themselves in a compromised situation, such as the one the Belarussian fisherman faced, it’s possible the authorities may listen to an argument of self-defense. However, my suggestion of what to do when faced with a 65 pound, three foot tall, fur backed monstrosity?

Run.

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