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Bounty on beavers: Newton County hopes to eliminate nuisance

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
March 12, 2001
DECATUR Officials and private landowners throughout Newton County are working together to cut down on an overabundant beaver population.
The board approved $5,000 for a beaver control program offered through the Newton County Soil and Water Conservation District.
The district's clerk, Becky Munn, said funds are matched by grants from the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission in Jackson.
He said beaver dams disturb the natural flow of water through road culverts. County employees must clean them out or roads could flood.
She said district officials verify that beavers come from the landowner's land by checking section, township and range. Landowners get $30 for each beaver tail they bring in. Beaver tails are marked so they can't be turned in more than once, and landowners are limited to 25 beavers, Munn said.
District conservationist Clark Scoggin said the pilot program is in its third year, but it's the first year there's a bounty on beavers in Newton County. He said several Mississippi counties have the program, and county officials determine how their programs work.
Previously, landowners in Newton County hired trappers or bought traps and trapped beavers themselves. Once landowners were satisfied the beaver population was under control, they came to the district office and were paid 75 percent of the first $500 they incurred in expenses, Scoggin said.
There are no regulations on the landowners as to what happens from the time the beaver is trapped until the tail is brought in. Scoggin said it's because state officials view them as nuisance animals.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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