Our Northwest

Idaho beaver tales amuse and frighten

Friday, October 23, 2015by  Jon Osterberg

Idaho state officials have found a long-lost 1950 film confirming old tales that beavers once were parachuted into Idaho’s wilderness to restore depleted populations.
     Boise State Public Radio’s website shared the Fish & Game Commission film showing livetrapping and transplanting of beavers, muscrats, and martens. Game wardens placed beavers inside wooden dropboxes that were loaded into small planes, attached to parachutes, and dropped into the wilderness near the Salmon River.
     Not far away, a menacing tale also involving beaver allegedly took place, as recounted by Teddy Roosevelt in his 1893 book The Wilderness Hunter.
     Roosevelt tells of two trappers hunting beaver along the remote Salmon River in the Bitterroot Mountains. One evening they returned to find their campsite torn apart, packs strewn about, and their lean-to smashed. They tidied up and noticed large tracks from what they presumed was a bear walking on its hind legs.
     During the night the men awoke to a loud noise, smelled the stench of a wild beast, and saw a large silhouette looming near their lean-to. They fired a rifle at it but apparently missed, for they heard snapping sounds as something thrashed off through the bushes and into the forest.
     The next day they ranged about and set new traps, then returned to camp to find it again ripped apart, with odd bipedal tracks everywhere. Spooked, they stoked a huge bonfire and sat on guard. Sinister moaning sounds pierced the dark from nearby all night. The next morning they decided to pack up and leave. Together they gathered their traps until separating around noon. One set off to pack up camp while the other retrieved three traps that had caught beaver, which he took some time to skin.
     When he finally reached camp he shouted for his partner but got no response. The campfire had burned out. Then he spotted his partner on the ground – dead, his neck broken, four fang marks in his throat, and the surrounding ground covered in fresh, large prints. The horrified trapper left everything but his rifle behind and rushed back to civilization.
     Modern-day paranormal buffs believe the beast in this story must have been a Sasquatch. Read an excerpt from Roosevelt’s book.

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