Beaver or Muskrat Management

Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game (DFG)

Image of a Beaver swimming. For information on Beaver management when they cause high water levels.

The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife has assigned local Boards of Health the responsibility of investigating nuisance beaver or muskrat complaints and issuing emergency removal permits in Massachusetts.

High Water Consequences

High waters caused by beaver activity may be infiltrating your septic system, threatening your well water or flooding your dwelling. In these instances, the Board of Health can issue a permit allowing a trapper to remove nuisance beavers. This permit is required only outside of the legal trapping season. The next legal trapping season runs from November 1, 2023 through April 15, 2024.

If you are experiencing high waters caused by beaver activity on your property, please complete the Beaver or Muskrat Complaint Data Sheet (PDF) and return to the Health Department. Once a determination has been made, it is the property owner's responsibility to complete and submit the Beaver or Muskrat Permit Application (PDF) for Board of Health review, and if approved, arrange for the trapper at the property owner's expense. If the nuisance beaver is not located on your own property, you must obtain permission of the owner on a Land Owner Consent Form (PDF) allowing the trapper to enter the premises.

Board of Health Assistance

The Board of Health can permit the removal of the nuisance animals only. 

Conservation Commission Assistance

The Board of Health cannot give permission to breach (break up) or remove a beaver dam, as this involves wetlands regulations. Please contact the Shrewsbury Conservation Commission for permission to breach a beaver dam or call 508-841-8502.

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