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Published May 05, 2011, 05:31 PM

Muskrats Destroy Some Walsh County Roads

It's open season for muskrats in Walsh County
The county is seeing its fair share of water this Spring, and that water has brought along many unwanted critters.

"I have never ever seen so many muskrats in my life," said Perth Township resident Richard Vasichek.

Near Perth, Shepherd and Sauter Townships in southwestern Walsh County, residents are having some trouble with their new neighbors.

"Like I said, this road here is pretty stable, but you get to areas like where is a lot of cat tails, they absolutely devour it," said Vasichek.

Muskrats are starting to make their homes under township roads, causing shoulders to narrow and some to roads to collapse.

"They like to burrow around culverts. So, you think you have a problem with your culvert but it's really not, it's a problem with the roadway and the way they burrow under them," Walsh County highway superintendent Sheron Lipsh said.

Walsh County is extending its muskrat season to the end of the year to stop this menace from getting out of hand.

"The permit itself is good for snaring, trapping or shooting the muskrats. Now, for shooting the muskrats, you can only use a .22 caliber rifle, a .45 or smaller caliber muzzle loader or a shotgun," said Lipsh.

But for farmers in these townships, it's going to be a tight squeeze for their equipment.

"There are areas in the country we know the people who are going to haul grain, they can't because the roads are undermined," said Vasichek.

So far, nearly 30 people have signed up for the extension license, many of them from different counties.