Utah Establishes Coyote Bounty Program

Utah Department of Wildlife Resources officials have established a bounty on coyotes as part of a new Predator Control Program open to the public in an effort to assist its mule deer population.

The Predator Control Program is part of the state’s Mule Deer Protection Act. The Utah Legislature passed the act during its 2012 session. Gov. Gary Herbert signed the bill into law on March 17, along with another bill adding a $5 fee on big game permits to help fund the predator program.

Hunters who successfully complete an online training form and registration may receive $50 for every coyote taken under the rules of the program.

The training and form will be available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/predators on July 1.

Targeting predators

According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the two bills related to mule deer and predators approved in spring require a joint effort of the DWR and state Department of Agriculture and Food.

The first bill, the Predator Control Funding (Senate Bill 87), adds a $5 fee to all Utah big game hunting permits. The money will pay for a program to control populations of predatory animals that endanger the health of Utah’s non-predatory wildlife.

The second bill, the Mule Deer Protection Act (Senate Bill 245), allocates general funding to the Utah DWR ($500,000) and the Utah DAF ($250,000). The legislation directs the agencies to work together — and with other government entities — to administer programs that reduce and control coyote populations, particularly in areas where predation of mule deer occurs.

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A “coyote removal zone” has been established to target predators in specific areas. The DWR information page on the program says: The recommended coyote removal zone is based on the boundaries of areas that are important to deer. Coyotes primarily kill fawns and can produce more than six pups per year. They have high reproductive potential and can be difficult to hunt. It will be impossible to remove all coyotes from Utah, even with a large effort by the public. Although any coyote taken in Utah can be submitted for compensation, the DWR is recommending specific areas and dates when coyote removal has the greatest potential for benefiting mule deer. A statewide map (382 KB PDF) identifies areas where control should be targeted to provide the most benefit to mule deer.

Best Months to Hunt

To help increase success rates, DWR mammals coordinator John Shivik says to wait until December to start taking coyotes.

Mule deer fawns are among the animals coyotes prey on. To give deer fawns the greatest protection, coyotes need to be taken during certain times of the year and in certain locations.

“December 1 until the end of June is the best time to remove coyotes,” Shivik said. “Coyotes mate during the winter. To have the greatest effect on the coyote population, coyotes need to be removed after pair bonds and territories have been established and before pups are raised.”

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Where coyotes are taken is also important.

“The best place to take coyotes is on or near areas where deer fawns are raised,” Shivik said. “Taking coyotes in these areas reduces the chance that fawns will be killed by coyotes.”

Online training, registration

Registration opens July 1 to participate in the Predator Control Program. However, compensation for coyotes taken in the state will not be issued until after Sept. 1.

Register for the program by completing some online training and a registration form. The training and the form will be available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/predators starting July 1.

For other information on the program, visit this link.

Source: Utah Department of Wildlife Resources

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