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Strange. It looks like a seat on it and a long pole on the far side behind the "seat" for pushing it around in the water? Maybe it was built to get out in the water to set the beaver traps away from shore?
 

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well everyone knows those beavers are pretty talented engineerrrrsssss...
ive just ended a 2 month battle with the beavers on a culvurt on my woodlot road.... must say i won the war though... after removing the dam 3 times a week for that period, and waiting for them to come out never once saw one beaver... finally i put some engineering brains of myself to use and i cut down every alder i could anywheres close... no material no dam. They havent come close to that culvurt for 2 weeks now
 

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I'll take an educated guess here, looks like a floating musk rat trap. My dad used to trap with one of those, anchored to the bottom, the rats enter the feeding cage, then fall in to the submerged trap cage, unable to come back up (there is a one way hinged flap on the floor of the trap), they drown and the trap stays active. Pretty ingenious design if you ask me, a local trapper in Bathurst catches well over a thousand of those critters every year with such a contraption. Carrots and potato skins are great attractors for such a trap.

Hope this helps...
 
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