Coyote lottery plans advance

WOODSTOCK — A private lottery in which prizes will be awarded for killing coyotes in Shenandoah County took another step forward on Saturday.

Local Shenandoah County hunters and landowners attended a town hall meeting Saturday at the  municipal building to discuss forming the lottery.

Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors members Cindy Bailey and Marsha Shruntz organized the meeting along with Fort Valley resident Larry Snyder.

Ed Crebbs, general organizer with the Virginia Trapper’s Association, was also in attendance to discuss the notion of using traps in conjunction with the lottery system.

Bailey noted that she and Shruntz intend to help establish the coyote lottery, with the goal of attracting sponsors.

“We will work with businesses and send them to the proper contacts, once it is put together,” Bailey said.

Current laws surrounding bounties state that individual counties can institute bounties. There is no law governing coyote lotteries in Virginia.

Bounty programs have been debated in Shenandoah County, but supervisors have not pursued a county-sanctioned bounty. An independent, privately funded coyote lottery would be the first of its kind in Shenandoah County.

The rules for a lottery  have yet to be been determined, but Shruntz and Bailey noted that Eugene Del Gallo of G & S Outfitters has agreed to be the check-in station for the lottery.

Although Del Gallo was unable to attend the meeting, they explained that any Shenandoah County resident who has killed a coyote would take it to the check-in station.

From there, the resident’s name would be entered in a drawing for prizes, and that would take place at the end of the lottery season.

Shruntz and Bailey provided a rough outline of rules based on the coyote lottery program in Bedford County, Virginia.

The Bedford coyote lottery season runs from the beginning of November to the middle of March. This year, the top cash prize — chosen from a random drawing — will be $2,000.

According to the county’s website, there is no limit per person on the number of entries in the lottery.

This was another idea that Shruntz and Bailey expressed as a possibility for the program during the meeting, along with a rule that all Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries rules must be followed.

The Bedford program requires that coyotes considered for the lottery must be killed within the county limits, on property either owned by the resident or land that the resident has permission to hunt or trap on.

At the meeting, Crebbs  told attendees that the Virginia Trapper’s Association “conducts training sessions every year around the state … we can teach you to trap.”

Although Crebbs noted that eliminating the coyote population is not possible, he said, “If you get enough people involved, you can have an impact on the coyote population.”

Maurertown resident Gerald “Jerry” Talley — one of the owners of High Valley gnat, snake and tick farm — volunteered to have his land used as a location for trapping training.

Talley said that part of the reason he offered up his land is that he used to trap as a kid and is interested in taking the course.

He said some people “are going to think that this is awful,” but he said that he personally wants “to kill as many coyotes as possible.”

“The fundamental idea of taking the coyote population down is a good idea,” Talley said.

Following the meeting, Bailey said that they received contact information of 46 residents.

“I’m going to set up a meeting this week … to work out the details of using [G & S Outfitters] for the check-in station,” Bailey said.

Bailey said that the next steps for herself, Shruntz and Snyder will include working on the lottery’s application for residents as well as securing sponsors from local businesses and agencies.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com