Bedford County to host Coyote Lottery

The lottery runs from September 1 through the end of February

BEDFORD CO., Va. – The Coyote Lottery is returning to Bedford County where hunters will compete for cash prizes.

“The cattlemen were losing calves and folks that bred sheep are losing lambs. People were having their dogs and cats killed,” said Don Gardner, Vice-Chairman of the Bedford County Agricultural Economic Development Advisory Board.

That’s what started the conversation to bring back the coyote lottery in Bedford County.

We’re told each animal killed by hunters counts as an entry to win a grand prize of a thousand dollars or six additional prizes of 500 dollars each.

“We are trying to regulate coyotes in Bedford County, not the whole state because that’s where the problem started for us locally,” Gardner said.

The Agricultural Economic Development Advisory Board said the main reason is overpopulation.

The vice-chairman said in previous years, the Coyote Lottery made a huge impact in keeping wildlife away.

“By actively hunting them and really going after them, we put the fear of man back in them and they backed off to the woods and stuff,” Gardner said.

While generally not dangerous to humans, they can be a threat to smaller pets.

Gardner said he sees a good number of coyotes around his farm – and he’s concerned about people and pets.

“I think it’s essential for the public to understand that wildlife needs to be managed just like any other thing in this world and if you get too many you get problems. That’s the whole point of the thing,” he said.

The lottery runs from September 1 through the end of February.

In previous years, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources raised concerns about hunting contests or lotteries as a method of population control. We have reached out to DWR for comment and have yet to hear back.

You can review meeting materials from 2021 in the embedded document below.

Board of Wildlife Resources Meeting Materials - May 27, 2021 (virginia.gov) by WSLS on Scribd


About the Authors:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

Kelly Marsh joined the team in July 2023.