Claim:   Photograph shows hunters posing with a large cache of killed wolves.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, March 2012]

Look at these 2 xxxxing bastards. Killing the great wolves. Spread this pic all the world people. This slaughter has got to stop.

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Origins:   Although the specific origins of this photograph are still unknown to us (the location is often identified as being Newfoundland), the animals pictured here appears to be coyotes rather than wolves. In many parts of the United States and Canada, coyote hunting is completely legal:

The status of coyotes varies depending on state and local laws. In some states, including most western states, coyotes are classified as predators and can be taken throughout the year whether or not they are causing damage to livestock. In other states, coyotes may be taken only during specific seasons and often only by specific methods, such as trapping. Night shooting with a spotlight is usually illegal. Some state laws allow only state or federal agents to use certain methods (such as snares) to take coyotes. Some states have a provision for allowing the taking of protected coyotes (usually by special permit) when it has been documented that they are preying on livestock. In some instances producers can apply control methods, and in others, control must be managed by a federal or state agent. Some eastern states consider the coyote a game animal, a furbearer, or a protected species.

In some areas coyote hunting is actively encouraged as a means of culling the animals to control overpopulation and keep them from preying on livestock (and other native animals, such as deer), with some locations offering bounties to coyote hunters. Chippewa County, Minnesota, for example, enacted such a bounty in 2011:

The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to enact a $10 bounty on coyotes from Dec. 1 through April 1 of each year.

The commissioners explained that cattle and sheep producers had been complaining about coyotes attacking their younger livestock. They also said hunters had expressed concern that a coyote overpopulation was causing a decrease in deer population, because the coyotes were preying on fawns.

To claim the bounty on a coyote, it must be killed through legal means through trapping or shooting in Chippewa County and brought to the Sheriff’s Office in Montevideo. A hole will be punched in the animal’s ear to indicate that a bounty has been paid, and then the hunter may sell the pelt, which the commissioners estimated to be worth around $15. Hunters must also report where in the county the coyote was killed.

No limit was set on the amount of coyotes a person can collect a bounty on.

David Trauba, Depart­ment of Natural Resources Wildlife Area supervisor at the Lac Qui Parle Wildlife Management Area expressed concerns over the bounty.

“They’re unprotected — you can hunt them all year,” Trauba said. “There are plenty of coyote hunters, this isn’t going to bring in more, but now we’re going to be paying for them.”

Utah also has such a bounty system in place and in 2012 has been considering increasing its payment to coyote hunters:

Coyotes could wind up with a price on their head, with one lawmaker looking to pay $50 for each pair of ears from animals that have been shot or trapped, a plan that could encourage hunters to kill more than 20,000 of the animals.

Sen. Ralph Okerlund says coyotes are jeopardizing Utah deer herds and doing extensive damage to sheep and cattle herds and is proposing raising the bounty.

“We’ve got a lot more coyotes than we’ve got livestock and wildlife now and we need to do something about that,” the Monroe Republican said. “What we’re hoping is this will encourage a lot more people to go out and hunt these animals.”

There already is a smaller bounty program in place. Currently, hunters or trappers in certain counties that turn in a pair of coyote ears can be paid $20: $10 from the county, matched by $10 from the state.

But Okerlund said when gas and supplies are taken into account $20 isn’t enough incentive to exterminate this member of the dog family. His SB245 seeks to raise the bounty, using the revenue from a $5 increase in fees for hunting licenses and additional funds from the state.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources also does coyote control and has spent $3.4 million over the past six years hiring trappers and aerial hunters to kill the predators, focusing efforts during the breeding season.

Okerlund said he decided to sponsor the bill after a constituent reported losing $30,000 worth of lambs to coyotes after he moved to a new lambing range.

“This program is really targeted more toward the livestock-men than the sportsmen,” he said.

Sterling Brown of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation said the group supports the bill because coyote populations have increased and are claiming up to 15 percent of newborn lambs.

Some hunting-related businesses also offer commercial coyote hunting services.

Last updated:   2 March 2012


    Gehrke, Robert.   “Utah Bill Seeks to Exterminate Up to 20,000 Coyotes.”

    The Salt Lake Tribune.   9 February 2012.

    Jones, Jeremy.   “Chippewa County Coyote Bounty Raises Concerns.”

    Montevideo American-News.   24 November 2011.