The Time Idaho Dealt With Its Surplus Of Beavers By Parachuting Them Into Its Backcountry

In 1948, the state of Idaho solved two problems in one go: a beaver nuisance, and a surplus of parachutes left over from World War II.

Shortly after the war, people began to move nearer to Payette Lake, McCall, Idaho. The resident beavers, which had been there for decades or even centuries, were soon declared a nuisance by the Idaho Fish and Game Department, who decided to rehome them 314 kilometers (195 miles) away in the Chamberlain Basin.

The relocation of beavers was no simple task. At the time, the practice was to approach them in the wilderness and load them up on mules and horses. They were then transported to the trapper’s truck, where they would be moved (in hot and dusty conditions) closer to their new location, and loaded onto horses or mules once more, to be taken to their new home.

The whole time they would be handled by the trappers, as they needed to be constantly cooled and watered. Older beavers became quite cantankerous, while beavers of all ages often refused to eat.

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