For the last three hunting seasons I have desperately been trying to get my first beaver, I have came close and had the cross-hairs on them but just never had the opportunity to pull the trigger.
A good friend of mine, Jon-Anders who has already shot several beaver invited me up to his parents cabin in Finnskogen with the hope of trying to get me my first beaver. We drove up on the Friday morning and with the intention to do some scouting early afternoon and then hunt in the evening. For the scouting we headed straight to an area where the beavers had previously built a dam, upon arrival the damage to the trees was unbelievable, they were literally destroying the place with birch trees laying in all directions.
Scouting trip over we decided to return to this area and post overlooking the beaver dam close to some chewed branches from the beaver, unfortunately that evening was a no show and we didn't see any activity. We returned to the cabin and over a couple of beers decided to do a long scouting trip the following day and walk the whole stretch of river we were permitted to hunt.
Awoken early the next day and after a hearty breakfast we got ready and made our way to the lower end of the river, immediately we saw beaver sign but unfortunately nothing fresh, after countless more sign and a few kilometres we eventually located a great area with some very fresh chewing and lots of tree damage. We marked the area and continued up the river to the very limit of the terrain, although still lots of beaver sign there was nothing fresh. We both knew the place we identified earlier was the hot spot so headed back and marked the spot and the entrance from the road to make finding it easier later in the evening. Excited for the evening hunt we headed home to a fantastic moose steak dinner, the perfect fuel for an evening beaver hunt :-)
That evening we headed out about 18:30 and arrived at the area about 18:45, carefully and quietly we stalked into the river making sure not to potentially scare any beaver which may already be there, nothing was seen so we unpacked and got everything ready for the hunt. We had been sitting there barely half an hour when Jon Anders spotted something coming down in the rapids on the left hand side of the river, at first we were both convinced it was a log but then it suddenly made an erratic movement to the right and we could see it was a beaver. I immediately went prone and rested my rifle on some small birch trees felled by the beaver, I watched the beaver in my scope and waited for it to present a good shot, slowly it began swimming towards the area where we spotted the freshly chewed branches but then as it seemed it was going to climb out the water, it stopped and turned round and looked back towards myself and Jon Anders, we were both totally silent and the wind was perfect so there was no way it could have detected us. After what seemed like a lifetime, the beaver made its way to the rivers edge and slowly started to climb out, I waited for it to get clear out of the water and then placed the cross-hairs right behind the shoulder and took the shot. The beaver flopped forward to the shot and then lay motionless, my first beaver lay dead 40 meters away with a perfectly placed shot from my Tikka T3 Varmint in 6.5x55. Gun made safe we both ran over to recover the beaver and upon arrival found it dead at the waters edge with a perfect shot tucked right behind the leg and to the center of the chest, I lifted it from the waters edge and placed it on a large rock for some photo's.
And now a little surprise, some footage from my Contour Roam action camera, unfortunately there is no zoom so there is no close ups but I've tried the best I can to zoom in using some editing software.
For the beaver hunt I was using my 6.5x55 Tikka T3 Varmint with home rolled Sierra 85 grain Varmint bullets and a velocity of 1000m/s, these do not exit the beaver and ensure the pelt is good for tanning.
The beaver was a young animal probably about 2 years old and weighed 15-16KG. I have skinned the beaver and this will be sent off for tanning and turned into a nice rug, the skull will be boiled out, bleached and mounted, I will post some pics when it is finished.