API Position: OPPOSE
Bill Description: If passed, this bill would allow anyone in the state to hunt coyotes and turn in their dead bodies to the state Department of Natural Resources in exchange for a bounty. This bill is founded on the assumption that coyotes pose a serious threat to livestock.
Action: Please write your Representative and urge him or her to oppose HB 444. Tell your Representative that there are many humane methods of addressing human-wildlife conflicts, but creating a program that places a bounty on the head of coyotes is not the answer. Such programs are costly, ineffective, indiscriminate and inhumane because they do not target offending animals individually. Instead, this bill only offers indiscriminate, broad-scale killing. In addition, it fails to recognize that coyotes play a vital ecological role in healthy ecosystems by reducing rodent populations and keeping meso-predators in check. Meso-predators, such as raccoons, skunks, and opossums, can have detrimental impacts on ground-nesting bird populations, so keeping coyotes around helps maintain a balance within the environment.
Update: Fortunately, this bill did not make it out of its assigned committee prior to the end of Session.
Note: The text and status of Ohio bills is also available at http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/search.cfm.