A bill is advancing in the Pennsylvania Legislature that would authorize the Pennsylvania Game Commission to set a bounty on coyotes.
Named the “coyote control incentive program,” the bill passed 111-78 in the House on Wednesday. It now heads to the Senate.
Under the bill, the Game Commission could pay $25 to any licensed hunter or furtaker for each coyote lawfully killed. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that it would be Pennsylvania's first such bounty on a wild animal in 50 years.
The Pocono Record reported last month that Mike Peifer has introduced legislation to allow the state game commission to offer the bounty.
"We're just trying to control this population a little bit," he told the paper.
State law already allows year-round coyote hunting, and Peifer says he wants to give hunters an incentive to bag the animals, which he said are preying on everything from house cats to deer, which have increasingly been moving out of the woods and into residents' backyards.
"I can't tell you how many people come up to me and say, 'It's about time somebody did something,'" he said.
He says the measure wouldn't require the commission to implement the bounty but would allow it to do so where the predatory animals are a problem.
Opponents say it could backfire while posing a risk to unleashed dogs and other animals.