ZEKE WILSON: Coyote bounty makes no sense
December 31, 2013 10:35 AM

On the ride home yesterday from an Arkansas waterfowl hunt, I couldn’t help but tabulate the potential gas money for upcoming out of state trips.

Coyotes lying dead along the road soon would be money in the tank with a $25 coyote bounty looming. Pennsylvania lawmakers, not the Pennsylvania Game Commission, look to offer a bounty for the coyote here in the keystone state in the name of saving deer.

The last statement is so absurd that my column could end right there. However, many possess little knowledge on the subject yet clamor to their representatives that the coyote are wiping out the deer.

As a trapper, I have always admired the coyote and in a few instances caught one. The first step of preparing a coyote for market is skinning it, and if it’s not done within an hour of death, it is next to impossible.

After that, the meat and gristle must be shaved from the leather of the hide using a draw knife and specially designed beam. If the hide is bloody and/or soiled, washing is then necessary.

Once you have spent well over two hours, it is time to stretch the pelt so that it may dry. Unfortunately you must first stretch the pelt leather out, and depending on humidity and temperature, the time can vary from 6 to 24 hours.

If left to dry too long, the leather will become brittle and not allow reversing the pelt. Fur out is how coyote is marketed, which means each flaw and defect is readily noticeable.

After drying fur out for one to three weeks — once again depending on conditions — one can finally sell the product.

Current market prices range from $10 to well over a $100 for goods from the northern Rockies up into Saskatchewan. A prime early November coyote from our area could demand $40, possibly $50 if it is pale, which few are.

Those shot several times with rifle rounds designed for big game are virtually worthless to the fur industry.

Although there is little money in it, Pennsylvania trappers and predator callers send thousands of coyote pelts to market each year. Despite it being a fur bearer, the PGC does not classify the coyote as such.

For more than 20 years, the Mosquito Creek Sportsmen’s club and other organizations have made good money off cash prize coyote hunts. These hunts began during the initial distribution of the eastern coyote in the name of saving deer.

The possibility of selling an additional 2,000 furtaker licences would yield $40,000 in revenue. For reasons unknown to me, one must only possess a general license to pursue the Wiley coyote.

During these hunts that offer the chance to win $10,000, only a few hundred coyotes are killed. Offering a $25 bounty will do nothing but encourage deceit and the importation of rabies. Coyote populations began to increase in response to man’s actions.

As roads improved, automobiles began to travel faster, thus killing more deer. During this same timeframe it became widely accepted to have an outdoor cat. With dinner on the table all winter long, why wouldn’t coyotes move east?

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