The number of complaints USDA Wildlife Services receives from livestock producers confirms the coyote abundance.      According to Phil Mastrangelo, director of USDA Wildlife Services in North Dakota, coyote complaints increased from 374 in 2007 to 498 last year. He said Wildlife Services has nine wildlife-control experts across the state, and coyotes account for the bulk of their workload.

     “These guys work a large area, a minimum of five counties apiece, and they’re stretched pretty thin,” he said.

    I guess the Senate Bill for this was shot down.  But the House Bill is still in play and I think something like this would be a fantastic idea.

    First, lets look at the opponent’s view on this.  Of course the North Dakota Game and Fish Department would be opposed to a bounty program because it would threaten their good deals. Meaning if a bounty program succeeds, then why fund inefficient programs in the NDGFD?  I compare this to the TSA and their opposition to private industry taking over their airport screening services.(notice how the TSA shot private industry down as well)  This is government versus private industry, or in this case, government versus private hunters.

     But if you read the quote above, they are only using nine USDA government hunters to cover 5 counties apiece! How can they possible put a dent in the coyote population there?  Let alone, if these guys are being paid by the feds, they are probably getting health care and everything else that government jobs entail.  Or they could be contractor hunters–who knows? What I do know is that the state must scale up the hunting of this animal if it want’s to reduce it’s numbers, and it is not enough to just depend upon the whims of recreational hunters to do the job or nine government hunters.

    I think a bounty program would work just fine, and it would be a way for the state to spread the work load and incentivize the process. It would also infuse money back into the local communities where jobs are scarce. Hell, if a hunter was able to bag three coyotes in a day, that would be 300 dollars. Not bad for a day’s work?

     If you want professional hunters to really get involved with the eradication of these animals, you need to make killing coyotes a viable occupation for them.  Hunters pay for their gun, bullets, a tank of gas, food, and maybe even lodging to go out and hunt recreationally. But there is no way a recreational hunter will be driven to expend this much time and treasure to continually do this, unless they have another profession or trust fund that can support this lifestyle. (and some do out there) Hell, I have to really plan and budget to make an effort to go out hunting once or twice a year.

    But if you want to ramp up interest in the task, then it must be incentivized and there must be good rules and management of the process in order for it to be effective. The end result of such an effort will be the desired outcome.  Hell, if commercialized hunting almost decimated the buffalo back in the wild west days, a coyote bounty system could equally be successful.

     Or we can continue to depend upon an inefficient and undermanned government system to do the job–and meanwhile the coyote problem continues to rise and threaten livestock and deer populations. –Matt

North Dakota takes aim with bounty on coyotes

Feb. 09, 2011


Not a day goes by, Gerald Berthold says, when he doesn’t hear coyotes howling nearby on his farm west of Arvilla, N.D.

“You can be out in the evening, and you can hear them just about in every direction howling,” Berthold said.

Coyotes have killed at least two of his calves in recent years, Berthold said. And last summer, he said two calves simply disappeared from a pasture near Emerado, N.D.

Berthold can’t say for sure it was coyotes, but he has his suspicions.

“I don’t know where else they would have went,” he said. “They were too young to take off on their own. They were still nursing. They were month-old calves.”

Coyotes have become an increasingly hot topic in North Dakota in recent years. As the population grows, so, too, have the reports of coyotes causing problems. Berthold said the increase in coyote numbers has been especially apparent the past 10 to 15 years.

“They’re definitely on the increase,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

Prompted largely by hunters who believe coyotes are hurting deer populations, a couple of bills have surfaced this winter in the North Dakota Legislature taking aim at reducing coyote numbers. House Bill 1454 and Senate Bill 2224 each would establish a $100 bounty on coyotes until 2,000 are taken.

Legislators haven’t yet acted on the bills.

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