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Print
Illinois hunting and fishing

Grundy County coyote bounty money almost gone

February 25, 2011 at 10:52 PM

The State Journal-Register

In a little over a month, 56 coyotes have been turned in for the $15 bounty offered by Grundy County, nearly exhausting the initial pool of money available.

“It’s gone surprisingly well, so far,” says Grundy County administrator Dan Duffy.

The ordinance authorizing the bounty was born out of reports of coyotes taking family pets and occasionally livestock.

“We’re not trying to kill all of them,” Duffy says. “We’re just trying to thin out the coyote population and get rid of the troublemakers.”

Coyote season in Illinois is open year round, mostly to allow landowners to kill nuisance animals without having to get a special permit.

Most coyote hunting takes place during the late winter, following the close of deer hunting season.

The county collected $850 in donations to fund the bounty. No tax dollars were used.

Anyone wishing to claim the bounty had to bring in the evidence — in the form of the coyote’s ears — and sign a notarized affidavit documenting where the coyote was taken within the county.

Duffy says the distribution has been fairly even.

Bob Bluett, biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, says the offer of a bounty probably is legal, so long as state tax dollars are not used and hunting regulations are followed.

DNR’s legal department has not yet offered an opinion.

He said he has been researching bounties in Illinois and the most recent one he could find was a bounty on groundhogs that was repealed in the mid-1990s.
According to “Mammals of Illinois” by Donald Hoffmeister, the State of Illinois once offered bounties on wolves and coyotes, but interest and animals began to run out by the early 1850s.

In 1825, wolves brought $1 each — $2 if the county was willing to match the state’s contribution. By about 1860, wolves were mostly gone from the state.

Hoffmeister says the coyote was present in Illinois before Europeans arrived.

“It has profited by the removal of forests and woods and is more abundant now than ever,” he writes.

Coyotes have proven to be resilient.

“We’ve been trying to kill coyotes for 250 years,” Bluett says. “And we haven’t killed them all yet.”

An average of 7,000 coyotes are killed by hunters and trappers each year in Illinois.

Duffy says Grundy County is waiting for more donors to step forward, and the ordinance will be reviewed when the fiscal year ends Nov. 30.

Chris Young can be reached at (217) 788-1528.

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