March 2021 - 34

Jerry Altermatt, Wyoming Game and Fish Department terrestrial habitat biologist, observes a beaver temporarily housed in the trailer he built. Altermatt uses the trailer to keep nuisance beavers
before relocating them to other areas in the Cody Region. (Photo by Chris Martin/WGFD)

J

erry Altermatt has several responsibilities as a
terrestrial habitat biologist for the Wyoming Game
and Fish Department, but keeping families together
wasn't something he thought would come with the
job. But now, when he gets a call about a colony causing
trouble, he responds in a way that helps everyone involved.
These offenders aren't humans, though, but broods
of beavers. Landowners in the Cody Region contact
Altermatt when a group of these industrious mammals
cause problems on their property, and he relocates the
toothy troublemakers to areas where they will do good.
Most nuisance beavers calls come from private
landowners who notice beavers plugging culverts and
irrigation structures and gnawing down valuable trees.
But when in the right location, beavers can be a
benefit. When beavers erect dams along streams they
store water, improve water quality, reduce erosion,
increase late season flows and create habitat for a wide
range of wildlife.
A lot goes into the process of trapping and relocating beavers, and Altermatt has tried over the years
to refine that process.

34 | March 2021	

FAMILY FIRST
In most cases, efforts are made to relocate an entire
beaver colony from a specific location. A colony consists of male, female and between two and five kits.
The young stay with the family for two years, so kits
from more than one litter are in the group. The average
size of a beaver colony is six.
" Beaver are familial and social animals. Take one
from the family and put it in a strange place, the
first thing it will likely do is look for its family. It is
unlikely it will stay where you relocate it, " Altermatt
said. " If you transport entire beaver colonies, chances
are better they will stay in the new location. "
The challenge is housing beavers before putting
them in a new area. To solve this dilemma, Game



March 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March 2021

Cover
From the Director
In this issue
A couple pennies
Mailbag
Opening shot
News
Ask Game and Fish
Project profiles
Case files
In the field
Tracking the rarest carnivores
Seeking the slam
A family matter
Getting kids outside
Wild country dispatch
Backpage
March 2021 - Cover
March 2021 - From the Director
March 2021 - In this issue
March 2021 - A couple pennies
March 2021 - Mailbag
March 2021 - Opening shot
March 2021 - 7
March 2021 - News
March 2021 - 9
March 2021 - 10
March 2021 - 11
March 2021 - Ask Game and Fish
March 2021 - Project profiles
March 2021 - Case files
March 2021 - 15
March 2021 - In the field
March 2021 - 17
March 2021 - Tracking the rarest carnivores
March 2021 - 19
March 2021 - 20
March 2021 - 21
March 2021 - 22
March 2021 - 23
March 2021 - 24
March 2021 - 25
March 2021 - Seeking the slam
March 2021 - 27
March 2021 - 28
March 2021 - 29
March 2021 - 30
March 2021 - 31
March 2021 - A family matter
March 2021 - 33
March 2021 - 34
March 2021 - 35
March 2021 - 36
March 2021 - 37
March 2021 - Getting kids outside
March 2021 - 39
March 2021 - 40
March 2021 - 41
March 2021 - 42
March 2021 - 43
March 2021 - 44
March 2021 - 45
March 2021 - Wild country dispatch
March 2021 - 47
March 2021 - Backpage
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