Coyote and Beaver Bounties

Provisions to allow bounties on coyotes and beavers were included in the Environment bill which passed during the special session in July 2011.

July, 2011- The Special Session Environment bill, which passed into law, allows a county or town board to offer a bounty for the taking of coyotes. Also under the new law, the road authority may kill or arrange to have killed a beaver associated with a problematic lodge. Previously, the statute only permitted the removal of beaver dams and lodges by road authorities.The local control program may include the offering of a bounty for the lawful taking of beaver. See Special Session Report here.

The problem with bounties

Bounties on coyotes are being proposed as a solution to the problem of depredation of livestock, and bounties on beavers are being proposed as a solution to the problem of beaver dam flooding. There are two interrelated problems with bounties: they have not been proven to solve the problem- bounties are not selective and the animal that is killed may or may not have been the offending animal; and bounties offer monetary reward, which may encourage abuses- animals may be killed and remitted to counties for reward, whether or not the animal has killed livestock or caused flooding.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

“Until 1965 coyotes had a price on their heads. The state paid about 1,400 coyote bounties each year. But bounties on coyotes, and all other predator species in Minnesota, were eliminated when Gov. Karl Rolvaag vetoed a bounty bill passed by the 1965 Minnesota legislature. Numerous studies proved them ineffective and prone to abuse. Before 1965 only certain counties paid a bounty on coyotes and carcasses were often remitted to counties that paid, rather than in the jurisdictions where the coyotes were killed. [emphasis added]… Despite more than 200 years of shooting, trapping, and poisoning by farmers, ranchers, and government trappers, coyotes have expanded their range to include most of North America.”

Robert L. Crabtree is a Wildlife Ecologist and the founder of Yellowstone Ecosystem Studies. He has conducted coyote research in Yellowstone for over 15 years. According to Crabtree,

“Most reduction programs, often referred to as control practices, are indiscriminate in nature, meaning the individuals removed (this usually always means “killed”) are probably not the offending individuals [emphasis added]. Although removal of offending individuals can temporarily alleviate predation rates on the protected species, the alleviation is usually short-term and likely has long-term side-effects that make control activities ineffective. It can not be overemphasized how powerfully coyote populations compensate for population reductions.”

The Wildlife Society Bulletin 2004, 32(4):1209–1218, suggests nonlethal depredation management may include a number of animal husbandry techniques, such as:

  • Using guard animals such as dogs, donkeys, and llamas (which have a natural dislike for canids)
  • Fences (including electric fencing)
  • Birthing in sheds
  • Keeping herders with livestock during the day
  • Bedding animals near people for the night
  • Removing or burying carcasses
  • Lighting corrals where stock are kept at night

According to Owen J. Brown, PhD, Material Science Engineering,, and Sharon T. Brown, MA Wildlife Biology at Beavers: Wetlands and Wildlife:

“Conflicts with beaver can be effectively reduced and even eliminated with humane flood beaver-deceiver flood control solutions.”

For more information, please see the following articles:

The Cunning Colonist, MN Department of Natural Resources

Simulations of Demographic Compensation in Coyote Populations, Journal of Wildlife Management

Coyote depredation management, USDA National Wildlife Research Center

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