By Matt Reese
In early 2020 coyotes were causing quite a stir in Columbus due to a proposal from the Division of Wildlife to align coyote hunting and trapping regulations with Ohio’s furbearers.
“The Division of Wildlife proposed some rule changes that would require anyone who traps or takes a coyote to have a fur taker permit. It also set up a season for coyotes that would be in line with other animals such as fox and so forth,” said Tony Seegers, Ohio Farm Bureau director of state policy. “The provision was really going to hamstring farmers with the creation of a season that would not be beneficial for lambing and calving on livestock farms. The Division, after much consideration and comments from many of our members, decided to withdraw those rules.”
Since then, HB 553 has been introduced to keep the open season for coyotes in place permanently.
“We appreciate the Division of Wildlife withdrawing those proposed rules earlier in the year but we also know agencies can bring rules back. HB 553 was introduced by Rep. Don Jones. He knows this is an issue for farmers around the state. The bill would allow coyotes to be taken or possessed year round. There can’t be a rule adopted to the contrary. The Division of Wildlife could not create a season for coyotes,” Seegers said. “Also, a fur taking permit would not be required for coyotes. It would keep the law as is. It sounds simple but it is a big issue for livestock farmers.”
Seegers said the specific provision in the bill that is of particular importance to Farm Bureau members is: “A person may take and possess a coyote year-round, and the chief of the Division of Wildlife shall not adopt any rule to the contrary.” Seegers said Farm Bureau also supports a provision in the bill amending ORC 1533.111: “((J) A fur taker permit is not required to hunt or trap coyotes.”
The bill is currently being considered in the Ohio House Energy and Natural Resources Committee.