The program’s second year, which concluded June 30, ended with 7,041 coyotes turned in, down from 7,160 animals the previous year. The number of people collecting bounties rose by 4 percent to 1,055, according to a Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) report issued last week.
The state spent $140,000 to fund 14 coyote-removal contracts in the recent budget year, resulting in a net cost of $593 per animal. The year before, three hired guns were paid $45,000.
The Utah’s Predator Control Program Summary reports, “It may take several years of implementation of this program before improvements in fawn/doe ratios statewide may be observed and this effect may be more visible on a unit by unit basis.”
Utah, unlike other western states, is reporting an increase in mule deer numbers in recent years, although most of the credit is being given to expansive habitat-restoration efforts.
DWR reports an estimated 12,564 coyotes were killed during the second year of the act through public rewards (7,041), the contractors (236), general fur harvest/trapping (2,682) and the federal Wildlife Services Program (2,605).
The average number of coyotes reported killed before the act was 7,397, according to the report.
People collecting the bounty are required to submit a data form with the GPS coordinates of the kill and the scalp of the coyote with both ears attached and the lower jaw. The report shows that 67 percent of coyotes turned in were shot, 23 percent were trapped, and 5 percent were harvested by other means.
Six wildlife management units (Box Elder, West Desert, Southwest Desert, Fillmore, Beaver and Pine Valley) accounted for about half the statewide totals.
“The program likely increased the numbers of coyotes killed in Utah and provided government-supplied economic rewards to individuals and businesses throughout the state,” reads the report. “Based on two years of data collected, we estimate that 25,054 coyotes were killed. This is a 59 percent increase in the previous estimated annual harvest of 7,397 coyotes per year.”