Things are changing in Penn's Woods again.
There was a time — 20 years ago — when the state had few, if any, coyotes. But when they moved in and ultimately spread all across the state, sportsmen's clubs were quick to take advantage. They began organizing coyote hunts on which hunters paid an entrance fee and competed for thousands of dollars in prize money, often for the biggest or most animals.
But that caught on too well. So many hunts popped up that the competition grew intense.
Clubs are trying new things now.
Some, like Tubmill Trout Club and Sinnemahoning Sportsmen's Association, are holding multi-state contests. Hunters can enter not only animals from Pennsylvania, but also New York, Ohio, Maryland and West Virginia. The idea is to draw more hunters and more entry fees.
Tubmill is taking things a step further by awarding $10,500 in prize money not to those who have taken the biggest coyote but to six hunters, chosen in a random drawing, from among those who checked in a coyote.
There still will be prize money for the heaviest male and female coyotes, but the move gives everyone a chance to win.
That's the direction the Charleroi Sportsmen's Association, Pennsylvania State Hunters Organization and others are moving. They're going to split their prize money equally among every hunter who brings in one or more coyotes.
Cresson Sportsmen's Association, meanwhile, is offering a mix of prizes. There will be $5,000 minimum guaranteed in cash for those who place when it comes to turning in coyotes. But there will be another $5,000 in prizes given away by drawing, with everyone who enters the contest eligible, regardless of whether they bag an animal.
It's all part of how things have changed, again, in the state's woods.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.
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