House OKs Bill To Allow Bounty On Coyotes
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A bill that would authorize the Pennsylvania Game Commission to set a bounty on coyotes is advancing in the Legislature after winning the approval of the state House of Representatives.
Named the “coyote control incentive program,” the bill would allow the game commission to pay $25 to any licensed hunter or furtaker for each coyote lawfully killed. Democrats largely opposed the measure, which passed 111-78 on Wednesday, while Republicans largely supported it in the Republican controlled chamber. The bill was sent to the Senate, which does not return to Harrisburg until Jan. 7.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that it would be Pennsylvania’s first such bounty on a wild animal in 50 years.
State law already allows year-round coyote hunting, and the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Michael Peifer, R-Pike County, said he wants to give hunters an extra incentive to reduce the growing numbers of coyotes.
The game commission estimates that twice as many coyotes were killed by hunters last year, or about 40,000, as the number of coyotes in Pennsylvania a decade ago.
Complaints about coyotes and confirmed cases of pets and livestock killed by them have fluctuated, between a low of 304 in 2001 to a high of 603 in 2004, the Inquirer reported. Most complaints were related to a general fear of the animals, not because of a threat, the game commission told the Inquirer.
Opponent of the bill say more killing of coyotes could backfire and cause their numbers to spike as they counter by breeding at younger ages and producing larger litters to fill the void. Plus, the bounty would pose a threat to unleashed dogs or outdoor cats that are mistaken for coyotes, opponents say.