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Chippewa Co. will pay bounty for coyotes

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Chippewa County will be the first in Minnesota to offer a bounty for coyotes since a state program allowing pay for killing the animals was dropped more than four decades ago.

      The county board voted Tuesday to pay $10 for every coyote trapped or shot in the western Minnesota county and brought to the sheriff's department from Dec. 1 through April 1 each year. Those that kill a coyote will be able to sell its pelt, worth about $15. Commissioners set no limit on how many bounties the county will pay.

      Cattle and sheep producers in the county have complained about the growing number of coyotes preying on their young animals, while hunters have told county officials they believe coyotes are preying on fawns and reducing the size of the deer herd, the West Central Tribune reported.

      Many wildlife experts have argued that bounties are generally ineffective in reducing coyote depredation, which is one reason why the state eliminated them in 1965. Chippewa County took advantage of a change in state law championed by several rural lawmakers this year that enables counties to administer their own coyote bounty programs. Commissioners said they expect neighboring counties will do the same.

      Coyotes are unprotected in Minnesota and may be shot or trapped at any time. No license or permit is required. About 4,000 coyotes are taken in Minnesota annually, according to the Department of Natural Resources. The department says more of the animals are being seen in southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities.

        (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)