Short Summary of the Beaver's Demise & Return to New Hampshire
This information is drawn from the book by Helenette Silver entitled A History of New Hampshire Game and Furbearers, originally printed in 1957 and reprinted as a second edition in 1974. The summarization is drawn from pages 248-251.
By the end of the 18th century beaver were very rare in New Hampshire such that they were given total protection in 1905. Shortly thereafter it was assumed that beaver were extirpated from the state. In 1912 Conservation Officer Harry Hurlburt located a colony of from 10-12 beaver near the headwaters of the Swift Diamond River. By 1926 the population of beaver in Coos County had peaked and most available habitat was being utilized. Conservation Officers were finding dead beaver most likely due to fighting because of insufficient space. In that same year the first beaver were trapped for relocation. By 1940 it is estimated the beaver population had risen to approximately 7000 statewide, and the first season in over thirty years was opened from March 15 to April 1 exclusively in Coos County. Fifty-seven trappers took 369 beaver through the ice during the two-week period. The following season saw a catch at 1023 beaver for the two-week period. By 1943 the entire state was open to beaver trapping. All the pelts were sealed by Conservation Officers at a cost to the trapper of $2/ beaver until 1955 when it was reduced to $.75/ beaver.
We have photocopies of Receipts for Beaver Stamps during the years 1957-1960 which were in the records of Hall of Fame Trapper Francis Burnham and provided by his son, Roger Burnham. Perhaps others have additional documents such as these, which they may share.
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