Bev Soychak: State won’t endorse a renowned beaver specialist who lives in Vermont

This commentary is by Bev Soychak, a resident of Monkton.

I’m not a biologist but I’m a born Vermonter from a family of hunters who consider it a privilege to be able to supply food for our family, not kill for sport. 

I am so disappointed in the commentary by Kim Royar. Vermont has lost its way with the privilege of hunting and trapping. There may not be a silver bullet to deal with beaver issues — and our underfunded Fish & Wildlife Department, which has a yearly budget of $5,000 to deal with beaver issues — may not be able to keep up with them, but that doesn’t mean we resort to killing. 

Individual towns have a right to be given other options when Fish & Wildlife devices fail. Our town was never given an option; the state’s response was call a trapper or you’re on your own. 

Yes, these devices are expensive but they work. We installed one on Monkton Pond three years ago, funded through Protect Our Wildlife and our homeowners and installed by Skip Lisle. We have had very little maintenance and have saved homeowners from literally hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damages and we don’t have an overabundance of beavers. We have a group of volunteers who pitch in when needed; minimal maintenance is required. 

In addition, Charlotte, Shelburne, Duxbury, Salisbury and many other towns are following our lead. I am sorry, but we have the world’s most respected famous beaver flow device specialist in our own state and Fish & Wildlife refused to endorse him. The department staff would rather kill a beaver than give out a phone number for Skip Lisle, who literally travels the world solving problems they can’t.

This needs to stop. Why is he not being used as a resource? Why are these places not working together? Why is our state justifying killing when we clearly have other options? These loose nuisance killing laws just lead to excessive cruel killing. 

We need to wake up and start respecting Mother Nature instead of taking the easy way out and recommending state-funded trappers who support Fish & Wildlife salaries. This department needs to be funded by neutral sources. And start defending our state’s mission statement and not putting money in its own pockets. 

When my family and friends kill an animal, they respect their kill and feed their family. A life taken respectfully. We don’t pose on Facebook, laughing with a dead animal on our couch. Where is the respect in that?

Our numbers are growing, our mission is spreading and our views are being supported and guess what? We are not out there threatening people for their beliefs. I understand it’s unrealistic to save every animal, nor would I try, and guess what? That makes me reasonable, not a fanatic. Stay tuned.


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