SALEM, Ohio — Less than a month after the Ohio Department of Natural Resources postponed a proposal to change coyote trapping and hunting rules, an Ohio state legislator has introduced a bill in response to criticism of the proposal.
The new bill would specify there are no limitation on seasons for hunting or trapping and no permits required to take coyotes. State Rep. Don Jones (R-Freeport) introduced it, March 16.
The ODNR’s proposal came in response to a rule review that revealed a conflict in the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Administrative Code. The revised code defines coyotes as a fur-bearing animal, which means that people need a fur takers permit to hunt or trap them.
The administrative code, however, provides an exemption for coyotes. The proposal would have essentially removed that exemption, limiting the trapping season for coyotes and requiring fur taker permits for coyote hunters and trappers, to match the revised code.
The bill Jones introduced would make changes to the revised code. A fur taker permit would not be necessary for trapping and hunting coyotes. It would also add that coyotes can be taken year-round.
Jones proposed the bill after hearing concerns from residents in his district — which includes Carroll, Harrison and Noble counties, and parts of Washington and Belmont counties — about the ODNR’s proposal.
Farmers and agricultural groups, including the Ohio Farm Bureau, were concerned the ODNR’s proposal could cause issues for livestock farmers.
Roger High, the Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of livestock, noted in February that hunting coyotes can be difficult, so trapping is important for farmers who need to keep their coyote population under control. The Ohio Farm Bureau told Farm and Dairy, March 26, it is aware of Jones’ bill and appreciates the attention to the issue.
“The coyote is a predatory animal on livestock,” Jones told Farm and Dairy, March 25. He added that while he appreciates wildlife, he does not believe that coyotes are useful animals, and thinks it is important to keep coyote populations down.
Jones was an agricultural education teacher and FFA adviser for 23 years and comes from a farming family background.
Jones is anticipating push-back, both from animal enthusiasts and from trappers in Ohio, who worry some coyote trappers may be inadvertently catching other animals besides coyotes.
He noted that getting the bill passed will take support from other representatives in other parts of the state and encouraged Ohio residents to call their state representatives if they feel strongly about the bill.
Jones introduced the bill to try to help farmers.
“With prices being low already … the last thing we need to be worried about is farmers losing livestock due to an animal because someone wanted to sell a fur taker permit,” he said.
In addition to farmers’ concerns about the safety of their livestock, some citizens complained about the additional costs getting a fur taker permit would have involved.
“It’s expensive to hunt,” Jones said. “We’re just making it harder on people that are hunting … by charging more fees.”
Jones noted that coyotes are one of the highest-selling hides on the market right now, and people don’t currently have to pay for a fur taker permit. Fur taker permits cost $8 for youth and $15 for adults.
At the Ohio State Trappers Association’s auctions in January, February and March this year, coyote pelts were the second-highest selling item.
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