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Halifax County Coyote Bounty Discontinued

“Suspended…lack of funds.” Bounties on coyotes are being discontinued in Halifax County after the board of supervisors decided Monday night they simply don’t have the funds to pay people to kill the pesky predators.

So far this year, supervisors have spent $2,500 for coyote kills – the amount budgeted for the bounties during the 2009-10 fiscal year.

“We have had a busy year since the bounties were reinstituted,” County Administrator George Nester told supervisors Monday night.

In order to continue paying bounties on coyotes, the board would have had to tapped additional funds from supplemental appropriations, Nester said.

“At this point I don’t think discontinuing this bounty is going to stop someone from shooting a coyote if they’re on their property and going after their cows or something. I’d like to discontinue it because simply we don’t have the money,” said Chairman William I. Fitzgerald.

Nester explained coyotes are considered predators so the hunting season is all year long.

Chief Animal Control Warden Todd Moser agreed that discontinuing the bounty on coyotes would not prevent someone from shooting a coyote.

Earlier before the bounty was reinstated, Moser said he knew of at least 40 more coyotes that people had called about.

“The coyote population is regularly growing,” Moser added. “We’ve done more this year in a short period of time than we did last year. In my opinion, it’s not going to stop it one way or the other.”

Moser pointed out the bounty only serves as an incentive for the hunters who trap coyotes.

“It’s a big incentive. The guys really take an initiative to trap them,” he added.

The county administrator pointed out the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries official state policy discourages the use of bounties.

“They’ve found that this has been a poor way to manage that issue,” Nester explained. “Hopefully the solution is if an animal is bothering your livestock, and you see them, you can take action or contact the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or animal control officer to see if by chance we might be able to have one come while the coyotes are there.

“Coyotes are very smart and very evasive, and they have a means of protecting when they are at risk, so they are very, very wily, no pun intended,” the county administrator added.

Moser added that more coyotes are killed during hunting season in the winter months.

“There are more coyotes killed between the months of October and January than it is any other time. During the summer, it’s very rare that we ever check any coyotes in. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t,” he said.

ED#7 Supervisor Lottie Nunn said she felt the money could be better spent in other areas.

“As tight as the money is now, personally I feel the money could be better spent somewhere else,” she said.

Moser agreed with Nunn.

Newly appointed ED#5 Supervisor K. R. Snead said he has never seen a coyote, “but I guarantee you if I ever saw one I’d shoot it.”

ED#4 Supervisor Doug Bowman concluded the discussion saying, “We will not appropriate any supplemental appropriation, so we’re out of the coyote bounty business for a while.”