Coyote Bounties Don’t Work, Wildlife Expert Says |
BERRYVILLE – A state wildlife official would not recommend that Clarke County establish a bounty for coyotes to prevent them from killing livestock.
“It’s no use. It’s just wasting money, ”said Fred Frenzel, a biologist with the Virginia Department of Wildlife, at a Clarke County board meeting Tuesday night.
About 20 years ago, state legislation allowing counties to establish bounties for coyotes was passed. Yet only 17 of Virginia’s 95 counties have since established bonuses. Of these, only 10 counties finance the premiums themselves.
Warren County, which borders Clarke, set a bounty of $ 50 per coyote. In fiscal 2020, the county paid $ 2,650 in bounties for 53 coyotes killed, according to a report from the Northern Virginia Daily.
But the nation’s coyote population is larger than it has ever been, despite setting bounties in various locations, Frenzel said.
“This, to me, proves that it doesn’t work,” he said.
Not all coyotes feel the need to attack cattle, according to Frenzel.
If someone kills a coyote that doesn’t bother pets, it just leaves room for a predatory coyote to enter an area, he said.
Coyotes “largely self-regulate,” Frenzel continued, establishing roaming territories that they protect.
Because of the way they reproduce, he said, “when you reduce their populations… boom, they come back in a year.”
The bounties typically result in the death of less than 1% of the coyotes in any given area, Frenzel said. When less than 60% are killed, the population recovers every year, he said.
“There is not a single documented case of bounties reducing the number of coyotes for a significant period,” he said.
It shows “that they are here and that they are not leaving,” he said.
Frenzel urged landowners having problems with coyotes to contact Chad Fox, a wildlife biologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture office in Christiansburg, at 540-381-7387 for assistance.
Frenzel also presented to the Board of Directors a report he prepared on the effects of pollution on fish in the Shenandoah River and its tributary, Opequon Creek. However, he did not publicly discuss the report due to time constraints.
Although fish health problems do arise “from time to time,” he wrote, “the fish population numbers in the Shenandoah River are stable.”
The river system is a great place to catch both small and largemouth bass as well as sunfish, catfish, muskellunge and walleye, according to the report.
Diffuse source pollution is the river’s greatest environmental threat, Frenzel wrote. For example, sediment from bank erosion can smother fish eggs and aquatic insects.
Excessive amounts of fertilizer used on land can also be a problem as it causes algal blooms and problems with submerged aquatic vegetation, Frenzel wrote.
He mentioned reports that people and pets fell ill during the summer after coming into contact with algae along the north fork of the river.
“Aquatic plants are always preferred over algae,” Frenzel wrote. “But too many can cause dissolved oxygen subsidence at night when plants breathe.”
In the process, the chemicals that enter the river can wreak havoc on the hormone levels of the fish, disrupting their endocrine systems and compromising their immune systems, he continued.
“Everything is very serious,” he wrote. “But there is an easy solution (to the problems), and that is to restore our riparian buffers and carefully manage our activities on land.”
Opequon Creek is “by no means a sport fishery, but (it is) a diverse resource that deserves our protection,” Frenzel added.
Because it is a hot water stream, it is home to species of minnows, darts, and suckers, as well as sunfish, bullheads, American eels and a few bass, he said. he mentioned.
He has memories of catching fish in a cove much like Opequon growing up.
Based on his experiences, “a little worm or breadball on a hook in Opequon Creek wouldn’t stand a chance,” he wrote.