- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) - Gophers in northern Iowa’s Floyd County could soon have a little less to worry about.

The county is considering ending its longtime practice of paying 50 cents per pair of gopher paws at the suggestion of the county auditor, who made a presentation to the Board of Supervisors on Monday.

County Auditor Gloria Carr began investigating the payments after someone brought in a load of paws, according to the Charles City Press (https://bit.ly/1GflWJU). Because the person didn’t know how many paws he had, they had to be counted at the auditor’s office counter.

“I think it’s just very inappropriate to do this,” Carr told the supervisors. “We have people coming in for passports. Heaven forbid they come in during election when we have a counter full (of people). It’s a very antiquated thing, I think, that the county pays this.”

Carr sent a questionnaire to Iowa’s 99 counties. Of the 63 responding, she found gopher bounties were paid in eight counties, including Floyd. The others were Allamakee, Chickasaw, Sac, Sioux, Taylor, Union and Winneshiek.

Many Iowa counties once paid such bounties in an effort to control gophers, whose holes could cause problems for farmers and endanger horses.

Carr said other counties ended the payments decades ago.

“It sounds like many of them quit it many years ago, back as far as 1950s,” Carr said.

A response to the questionnaire from Shelby County included a quip that they stopped paying for paws after an official threatened to make commissioners do the counting if “someone brought in a jar full of half-decayed and juicy gopher paws,” Carr said.

Since September 2011, Floyd County has paid people six times for gopher paws at a total cost of $209.50.

Board Chairman Roy Schwickerath said there must have been a gopher problem when the bounties were established long ago.

“”That’s the question. Do we have a problem anymore?” he asked.

The Board of Supervisors will consider the issue at a meeting Dec. 23.

___

Information from: Charles City Press, https://www.charlescitypress.com

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