CHEROKEE(AP) — The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians in western North Carolina is offering bounty payments of $25 for each coyote carcass that is turned into the tribe.
The Tribal Council is offering the money to try to protect white-tailed deer on the reservation, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported. Money will only be paid for coyotes that have been shot, not trapped.
Tribal fisheries and wildlife manager Robert Blankenship says coyotes are the main predator for deer fawn and other wildlife in the area.
“We realize you’ll never get rid of them completely, but our goal is to thin them out and hopefully increase the fawn survival rate,” Blankenship said.
The tribe began a white-tailed deer reintroduction program two years ago, he said. Land was planted with winter peas, clover, turnips and other plants where the animals could forage.
The deer population in the area had been declining previously, Blankenship said.
“Historically, white-tailed deer are very significant to the Cherokee people,” Blankenship said. “That dates back over 10,000 years. Every archaeological dig that’s been completed, they find deer bones in those digs.
“We want to make sure they are there for future generations,” he said.
Bounties have not been particularly effective in dealing with coyote populations, said Mike Carraway, a biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
“A bounty can help to reduce the coyote population in specific areas,” he said. “Overall, it is not going to have any significant effect on the population as a whole.
Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com