Sunday, July 17, 2011



The "discovery" of beavers munching on expensive saplings near the costly condos of Queen's Quay is just the start of the story.
Since beavers can wipe out a grove in a week if given the chance, there will be those people who will want to relocate the animal buzzsaws - which have to gnaw or they grow crazy -  the people who will marvel at getting so close to "wildlife", and a few with the balls enough to say publicly that they should be turned into a nice winter coat.
Count me with the enemies of beaver. They have harmed me more than I have harmed them.  The cultural saint Margaret Atwood has said that our country is built on the back of dead beavers, and I see no reason we should stop now.
There was another "wildlife" fuss recently when a neighbour squealed on a man dispatching a young raccoon to animal Valhalla with an implement usually used in his garden.
The silent majority of Ontario, which is too cowardly to openly say how much they hate raccoon pests, will sit back and let the would-be raccoon killer be sentenced to 20 years by the politically correct judicial system.
After all, in Ontario today, our "wildlife" - which is really not so wild - have been given an exalted status as if animals were thinking individuals that are fellow members at the top of the evolution pyamid.
There are estimates that more deer inhabit Southern Ontario - and indeed my cottage road - than before the white man came and the Indians, who are supposedly in tune with nature ( when they aren't fishing out of season) slaughtered them all, including doe and fawn.
My brother-in-law bought a crossbow to cull the deer cutting up his crops. He didn't want a gunshot attracting a game warden. My brother-in-law has passed on, and so, it seems, have most game wardens, but we now have so many deer around that one will wander down University Ave. and cause massive effort to save it when it should have been shot for the food bank.
There is a lovely leafy neighbourhood in central Etobicoke where cardinals sing and even pileated woodpeckers call at the bird feeders. One man who cares so much about birds that he has the housekeeper stock his feeder when he is playing golf in Florida confided that the chap over the hedge has got rid of dozens of squirrels.
No doubt if the squirrel killer was unmasked by some mouthy activist, he would be given time.
A cormorant colony has ruined a corner of wilderness just off the Eastern Gap of Toronto Habour. Any measures to deal with that colony have been stopped by City Hall, which has also in the past, particularly under David Miller as mayor, stopped any measures to cull the flying manure spreaders known as Canada geese.
The last time I cruised by to go salmon fishing, two companions said how awful it was that the foul mess was allowed to exist. Since one had been a police chief and the other had been a cabinet minister (and once head of the humane society), I found their views troubling.  They had been charter members of the same Establishment that allows a few activists to dictate to the rest of us about how we should handle our "wildlife."
Years ago, beaver were cutting down trees in Marie Curtis Park at the mouth of the Etobicoke Creek. My friend, Ray Biggart, was head of the Metro parks system at the time, and lamented to me (privately) how much he hated those blasted beavers and would like to blow them all away. But he had to answer to councillors, and they don't attack "wildlife" because they don't want heat from the animal lovers.
I realize that mine are supposedly not popular views - although I bet I would win a secret vote - but I have battle scars.
I was still flat on my back in hospital when son Brett reported in from opening the cottage. He said that the beaver had munched a few shrubs, which always happens, but also had cut down a lovely evergreen that son Mark and I had planted 15 years ago. The tree was dropped but barely chewed.
This makes a baker's dozen of mature trees that the current beavers and their awful ancestors have destroyed on my cottage property. I lost three beautiful silver birches in a clump that added hundreds of dollars to the value if I ever sold.
The latest beaver swim across the Trent River from a lodge on Nappan Island, which is not developed and covered with trees and shrubs, to munch on my trees.. Each fall I place wire cages and other protective wrappings around trunks but the beaver perservere.
Last year, in the ultimate insult, they tried to set up light housekeeping in my boathouse. I almost stepped on a large male when I was investigating the stench in one corner. It grumbled and waddled off to the water. The next day the smaller female was there but it managed to get to the water before I got to my gun safe. Too bad because they returned this summer. When a 40-year-old guest almost stepped on the big male in the boathouse, Gord confessed "I screamed like a girl." He took the picture of the beaver in the boathouse where it seems to sleep most nights. I guess I now own a version of a Travel Lodge.
One night I awoke to hear a really dumb beaver gnawing just outside my window at a giant poplar that is 19' in circumference. I yelled and it escaped to the water but didn't swim far as if taunting me. I didn't shoot it because I was afraid that if I missed, I would hit a nocturnal fisherman.
Then there was the skunk which tried to live in my garage in the city after digging up the front lawn, the squirrels that gnawed into my roof on two sides of my home to make nests, the raccoons that strew my garbage around if we're careless with lids, the raccoons that not only empty the bird feeders most nights at the cottage but then destroy them, and the porcupine that gnawed my cottage until I shot it.
Just look at how we fail in handling Canada geese. I love looking at a few of them, but not when dozens come up on my cottage lawn to shit on every inch. They're a filthy nuisance in any city park that has water. Margaret Wente of the Globe suggested years ago that we kill flocks and send the meat to food banks. I thought that was a great idea and printed recipes from a native cook book I bought in Midland.
Yet there are regular stories of protests in any city that dares try to reduce the flocks that seem to explode in size when given the slightest opportunity. One costly solution is collect a plane load and fly them into the wilderness. Why don't we just oil the eggs and turn the parents into food?
But there are those mouthy animal supporters - and backers of that dismal, rich PETA organization - who seem to feel guilty for just existing on the planet and say that the animals have been around longer than we have.  Don't eat fish or cows or pigs, and it's just possible an ear of corn has feelings too.
I prefer my "wildlife" to be out in the wilds, thank you very much, and I don't feel guilty one bit for saying I'm superior to them in the pyramid of life.

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