Discover 7 Invasive Animals Governments Will Literally Pay You to Hunt

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: June 15, 2023
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If you’re a hunter who loves the sport as-is, a reward for your efforts is not a bad deal. Although bounties were certainly more popular in the past, some invasive animals have become so destructive that the government is incentivizing hunters to join in efforts to control those populations. Let’s discover the seven invasive animals governments will literally pay you to hunt!

Bounty Programs in the United States

American wildlife management has quite a history when it comes to bounty programs. Placing bounties on predators in the early 20th century was common practice. State game management organizations saw this practice as a method to save livestock and ensure game populations wouldn’t decline. Of course, trappers and hunters saw this as an incredible opportunity to carry out their regular activities and receive some cash in return.  

Bounty programs continued as the norm for a couple more decades without much forethought. Hunters were trigger-happy, taking out a variety of predators, including wolves and mountain lions. They also heavily targeted grizzly bears and even smaller animals like foxes and red-tailed hawks. However, with time, it became all too obvious that the ultimate predator in the game had become humans themselves. They had almost eliminated these animals in the wild.

The intentions were good, but the results were a bit disastrous. Game populations had grown scarce, and bounties were viewed as a viable solution by wildlife managers. It became glaringly obvious that eradicating predators like wolves also upset deer populations. It was totally out of balance with the holding capacity of the environment. Today, things are different with both wildlife managers and hunters. They have a greater understanding of healthy ecosystems (including the importance of predators).

However, bounty programs still exist — not at a large scale like in the early 20th century, though! There are still some invasive animals governments will pay you to hunt. How effective these practices are, even at a smaller scale, is still uncertain. Eventually, wildlife managers may see some improvements or move forward with ending those bounties that don’t produce fruitful results (like the coyote bounty in North Dakota that ended in 1961).

Current Bounty Programs

1. Northern Pikeminnows, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon

Pay: $5 – $8 per fish

Pikemminows were introduced to several states, including Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. As a result of their introduction, they have been hard at work destroying quite a bit of natural resources — of note, salmon! In the Pacific Northwest, salmon are a hot commodity, and pikemminows are drawn to salmon babies, devouring them before they get a chance to mature. Although these can fit in the palm of your hand, they can also grow as big as 25 pounds!

Northern pikemminows are drawn to salmon babies, devouring them before they get a chance to mature.


2. Coyotes, Utah and South Carolina

Pay: $25 – $75 per tail

This feral dog breed is closely related to gray wolves and definitely doesn’t follow commands or want human cuddles. Coyotes are opportunistic feeders, hunting a variety of small animals, including rats, mice, and rabbits, and, sadly, they’ve decimated chicken coops in backyards and farms in Utah and South Carolina.

Exotic Pet Ownership coyote
Coyotes are closely related to gray wolves and definitely don’t follow commands or want human cuddles.

©Jukka Jantunen/

3. Wolves, Idaho

Pay: $25 per tail

Wolf populations had skyrocketed after a period when they were endangered, which has inspired wildlife management to try and restore some balance via bounties. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been paid out to hunters over the years.

Howling timber wolf in the woods.
Wolf populations have skyrocketed in Idaho after a period when they were endangered.

©Allison Coffin/

4. Nutrias, Louisiana

Pay: $5 per dead nutria

Nutrias don’t stay small and, when they reach full size, could weigh a whopping 20 pounds. They sort of resemble rats on steroids and have a bounty on them because they destroy plants all the way down to their roots. This non-native species in Louisiana has had a detrimental impact on the coastline’s ecosystem. Since 2014, the state has paid out almost $2 million!

capybara vs nutria
In Louisiana, the government offered bounties in exchange for killing invasive nutria in order to control their population.

©Barbora Polivkova/

5. Pythons, Southern Florida

Pay: $50 or more per snake plus minimum wage

Unfortunately, python overpopulation originated as a human problem. They have frequently been purchased as pets, but when they mature, pet parents decide to dump them. As a result, they have been breeding out of control and have destroyed natural wildlife in the Everglades, Southern Florida.

Burmese Python in a tree
Burmese Python is a species invasive in the Everglades.

©Heiko Kiera/

6. Feral Hogs, Texas

Pay: $5 per hog plus 40 cents per pound

These meaty animals are some of the most popular game for hunters in Texas. Although they provide plenty of meat, hunters also get a cash reward. Feral hogs are invasive animals and breed in the blink of an eye. They grow to damage crops, so bounties are necessary to control their populations.

Smallest Animals: Wild Pigs
Feral hogs breed in the blink of an eye, and they grow to damage crops, so bounties have become a necessity to control their populations.


7. Racoons, South Dakota

Pay: $10 per tail

Raccoons have developed a reputation as thieves, but in South Dakota, they’ve become a severe problem for the populations of ducks and pheasants. They steal their eggs to such an extent that it’s impacted the regions where these birds breed. Their bounties are set to ensure duck and pheasant nests have a chance at success.

Raccoon sitting in a tree
Raccoons have become a serious problem for the populations of ducks and pheasants in South Dakota.

©photofort 77/

The Featured Image

coyote walking in the field
Coyote attacks are rare. However, it is important to always be on alert, and contact authorities when necessary.

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a quirky cat mom with a love for books, thunderstorms, and comfy couches where she cozies up with her laptop to write her heart out. Her writing style combines engaging storytelling, vivid imagery, emotional resonance, and educational depth to create a compelling and informative reading experience for readers like you! Her passion and humor stamp her work with a voice all her own and her sense of wonder creates a fantastical narrative that allows you to explore the fascinating world of wildlife through new eyes.

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