MONTEVIDEO -- Chippewa County will be the first to pay a bounty for coyotes in Minnesota since the state ended its program in 1965.
The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday to implement a coyote bounty effective Dec. 1. The county will pay $10 per coyote brought to the Sheriff's Office from Dec. 1 through April 1 each year.
Chippewa County had been the first to push for the legislation enacted in the last session that enables counties to administer their own bounty programs for coyotes. Two previous attempts to obtain the legislation had failed.
A coyote brought to the Sheriff's Office in Montevideo will have a hole punched in its ear to indicate that it had been presented for the bounty. Only coyotes trapped or shot in the county may be presented for the bounty. Those accepting the bounty will be required to indicate the section and township where each animal was taken.
The bounty recipient will retain the animal and is free to sell its pelt, which is currently worth about $15, according to the commissioners.
The county set no limit on how many animals can be brought in or the number of bounties the county will pay.
Although the first to act, the commissioners at their meeting Tuesday said they expect neighboring counties to adopt the same bounty program and reduce the likelihood of coyotes being brought in for bounties when harvested elsewhere. Commissioners from the counties of Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Kandiyohi, Swift and Yellow Medicine had met on Oct. 28 in Olivia and voiced support for implementing coyote bounties.
The Chippewa County commissioners said they have been hearing complaints from a variety of livestock producers -- both those raising cattle and sheep -- about growing predation by coyotes on young animals.
They said they've also heard many complaints by landowners and hunters who believe coyotes are preying on fawns and reducing the size of the deer herd.
The commissioners said it appears that coyote numbers are continuing to grow. Coyotes are currently unprotected in the state, and any one may harvest a coyote at any time of the year. Livestock producers are able to shoot or trap coyotes they believe are preying on their animals.
The commissioners said there are a limited number of people who trap or hunt coyotes in the area for the sport or commercial opportunity. They said Tuesday that they hope a coyote bounty will provide an incentive to encourage more people to harvest coyotes and reduce their numbers.
A coyote bounty has been opposed by many in the wildlife community as generally ineffective. Bill Berg, a retired state Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, has often been quoted on the issue as stating that years of record keeping showed that coyote harvest numbers remained consistent when a bounty was offered, suggesting that the practice had no impact on the overall numbers of the animals.
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