Utah Pays $380,000 In Bounty Money For Coyote Scalps In Effort To Reduce Mule Deer Fawn Mortality

In its first year, Utah's General Predator Control Program, a coyote-bounty program intended to decrease mule deer fawn mortality, issued $380,950 to hunters and collected 7,160 coyotes--almost 4,800 more coyotes than average.

In 2012, Utah legislators set aside $500,000 from the state's general fund to finance the program, which rewarded hunters about $50 for each coyote harvested. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) set up 19 stations statewide where hunters could collect payment after submitting a coyote scalp with two ears attached, the lower jaw and a simple datasheet documenting where the coyote was killed. Since the DWR began accepting coyotes for payment on September 3, 2012, 1,055 people participated, though most submitted low numbers of coyotes. Of that number, 60 participants (less than 6%) submitted 25 or more coyotes apiece.

A press release from the DWR says it's too early to know the impact of the program, but since mule deer fawns are especially vulnerable to predators, the agency was concerned only 13 percent of the coyotes killed were in summer ranges where deer have give birth to fawns.

In future years, the DWR will analyze data to determine if there is a correlation between the number of coyotes killed and the fawn-to-doe ratio, and also to determine if the state's average fawn-to-doe ratio increases while the program is in place.