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TALKIN' WITH DOKKEN: Is there any chance of a bounty on N.D. coyotes?

Q. After reading about the coyote control problem, has there been any talk of a bounty on coyotes again in North Dakota? When was the last time a bounty was used to control a species?...

Q. After reading about the coyote control problem, has there been any talk of a bounty on coyotes again in North Dakota? When was the last time a bounty was used to control a species?

A. Doug Leier, an outreach biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department who also writes a weekly column, touched on the history of bounties in the state in one of his previous columns. According to Leier, the Game and Fish Department participated in a bounty system until 1961, when the state Legislature decided to stop using state money to pay bounties. Dating back to the 1940s, North Dakota paid out more than $2 million in bounties not only for coyotes, but fox and other species, with little to show for it, Leier said.

Driven by the dramatic uptick in coyote numbers in the past decade, North Dakota lawmakers in 2011 considered -- and, ultimately, rejected -- a bill that would have offered a $100 bounty on coyotes until 2,000 were taken.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department opposed the bill and testified against it during legislative hearings. Their rationale: Spending $200,000 for coyotes that hunters or trappers probably would kill anyway would only cut into other department programs.

Roger Rostvet, who then was deputy director of the department, testified in January 2011 that 50 percent to 75 percent of the state's coyote population would have to be removed every year to make a difference.

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"It's been shown time and time again that bounties don't reduce predator populations," Rostvet said during the hearing.

There were no bills to re-establish a bounty during this year's session of the North Dakota Legislature.

Bounties in Minnesota were eliminated in 1965, when Gov. Karl Rolvaag vetoed a bill lawmakers had passed that legislative session, according to an article in the Department of Natural Resources' Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine.

If you have a question for Talkin' with Dokken, call (701) 780-1148 or send an email to bdokken@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: HUNTING
Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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