BECKLEY, W.Va. -- Agriculture Commissioner Walt Helmick believes he has the solution to West Virginia's coyote problem.
Helmick is looking at establishing a bounty to encourage hunters to kill the critters.
He said coyotes are the state's biggest predator problem. They are in all 55 counties and pose a threat to both farm animals and domestic pets.
"More of them are being born than we're removing. They're winning the battle," Helmick told The Register-Herald (http://bit.ly/Xkcdfv ).
"We spend a significant amount of money on predator control. About half a million dollars. The feds helped us out a few years ago but aren't doing anything at all now. We've lost the federal support."
Under Helmick's plan, coyotes would be trapped and their ears would be marked with an identifying number. They would then be released in a different area. Hunters who kill a coyote marked with a number would receive a bounty.
"Hunters will be out there all the time, looking for this type of opportunity, and will probably kill another 25 trying to get to that one, or maybe even kill 100 of them," he said.
Details of the plan, such as the bounty amount, are still being worked out.