Jackson County Pays Predator Bounties

Aug 25, 2014

 Jackson County, Ore., began paying bounties to predator hunters in April 1910, responding to complaints from farmers that the “varmints” were eating their livestock.

The county established a reward system based on how much livestock each predator could consume on a weekly basis. For instance, a wolf was expected to eat “at least two deer or calves a week.” Within a month the county clerk’s office reported “farmers, small boys and trappers” had killed 80 bobcats, 25 coyotes, and “three panthers and a mountain lion.”  Jackson County paid the hunters a total of $242.50 in bounties. While the policy was popular among farmers who had unlimited permission to protect their herds, some people said game wardens failed to fully participate in the hunt.  However, the Medford Mail Tribune estimated bounties only represented a month and a half’s pay for a game warden. The newspaper commented, “The game warden can’t put in his time hunting the beasts which destroy the game, but the mountaineer can put in a little time occasionally if there is an inducement.” The county eventually amended its policy after facing backlash from those who didn’t support the excessive slaughter of predators.  

  Source: "Hunters Slay Many Predatory Beasts." Medford Mail Tribune 17 Apr. 1910. Web. 15 July 2014.