Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Demand for coyote pelts drops but hunt continues

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SPENCER, Ind. (AP) — Efforts to cull the coyote population in Indiana yielded 56 coyotes in January during an annual hunt. But hunters won’t get rich on their pelts.

A growing coyote population and increased interest from hunters has flooded the market for the pelts, which sold last year for $5 each. That’s down from $11.60 in 2007.

Gene Arnold, proprietor of Spencer Bait & Tackle, said hunters and trappers can’t get anything for a coyote pelt this year.

It’s legal in Indiana to hunt and trap coyotes from Oct. 15 through Feb. 15. Hunters can work year-round with permission from the landowner. Many farmers hire hunters to help control coyote populations that threaten their livestock.

Indiana’s coyote population has increased steadily since the 1970s, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Spokesman Phil Bloom says bow hunters counting wildlife reported seeing 28.2 coyotes per 1,000 hours of hunting in 2006, up from 24.3 coyotes in 2005.

“I try and thin them out for them,” said Terry Brault, who killed 21 coyotes and won an $80 prize in the January coyote round-up. “They call me every year. I could have got more than the 21. They are pretty thick in places.”

Brault said coyotes pose no threat to humans and that packs of dogs can do more harm to livestock. But coyotes often invade poultry houses and attack injured or feeble farm animals and even family pets.

Efforts like the round-up have sparked some criticism from animal rights groups, but Arnold said complaints have died down. “I guess people have accepted it,” he said.

He likens the annual hunt to a bass tournament. Participants pay a $20 entry fee and kill as many coyotes as they can in January. The carcasses are brought to his store, where he photographs them before the bodies are returned to the property where they were killed so that other animals can feed on them.

“It’s a lot of fun for the guys to get out there,” Arnold said. “Archery season ends in early January and there’s nothing left to hunt but the varmints.”

 

 

 Posted 2/16/2010

 

 

 

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