The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is raising the bounty on nutria tails for the season that starts November 1st. LDWF biologist Catherine Normand says the bounty program has been in place since 2002, and has resulted in reducing the toll the invasive species of rodent has taken on the wetlands.
“For a little over the past decade, the bounty has been at $5 per tail, but we are increasing that to $6 per tail for the upcoming season,” said Normand.
Normand says the money is provided by the feds and the raise comes with the hope that the higher bounty will entice more catches, getting numbers back to average.
“Just for the past three seasons, we’ve had lower than average harvests, and that has resulted in a hefty percentage increase in nutria damage,” said Normand.
The rodent is estimated to have destroyed over 14,000 acres of wetlands this past season.
At one point, there was a fur market for the nutria, and the state didn’t have an issue with rodents causing damage to the wetlands because of the number of hunters keeping the population down and keep them from overgrazing.
“But as the fur market declined, fewer and fewer people went out and harvested nutria, their population exploded, and that resulted in a whole lot of damage along our coast,” said Normand.
The rodent is credited with destroying around 82,000 acres of wetland in 2003, but about 5 years ago that was cut down to 4000 acres.