Bounties.For many years after Kansas was organized as a territory and the lands thrown open to settlement, the pioneers suffered severely through the depredations of wild beasts upon their flocks and herds and the destruction of vegetation or young orchards by rodents. As early as 1869 some of the counties were authorized to offer a bounty or premium on wolf scalps, but no general legislation on the subject was passed until the act of March 6, 1877, which empowered county commissioners to pay $1 for the scalp of each wolf, coyote, wild-cat or fox killed within the county, and five cents for each rabbit. By the act of Feb. 19, 1885, the premium on wolf, coyote, wild-cat and fox scalps was raised to $5 each, and by the act of March 6, 1895, Wallace county was authorized to offer a bounty for gopher scalps. On March 4, 1899, Gov. Stanley approved an act fixing the bounty on coyote scalps at $1, and on the scalps of lobo wolves at $5.
The legislature of 1905 passed an act providing that, upon a petition by ten residents and landowners of any township of this state, the boards of county commissioners of the several counties of this state were authorized and empowered, in their discretion, to direct any township trustee of any township in their respective counties to appoint the road overseer or any other suitable person in any road district where there were pocket-gophers, to see that pocket-gophers were poisoned, killed or exterminated. It was made the duty of the person so appointed to enter the farm, ground or premises of any person in his respective district at least three times in each year to see that the provisions of this act were fully complied with, and if the owner of such premises failed to kill or exterminate the animals specified, said person so appointed by the township trustee should proceed to do so. The person so appointed by the township trustee was to receive a compensation of $2 per day of ten hours for labor performed, and in addition to this he was to be allowed a compensation for poison or other necessaries used in the performance of such work. For all labor performed in inspecting lands to see if there were gophers therein, and in serving notices, such person was to be paid by the township at the rate of $2 per day. Such person was required to make sworn statement or voucher to the township trustee of time put in or poison used, and a voucher for the amount, after being signed by the township trustee and township clerk, was to be paid by the township treasurer out of the township general fund, at any quarterly meeting. The township trustee was authorized to charge such amounts to the taxes of such person who neglected or refused to poison or in any other way exterminate the pocket-gophers on his premises; the county clerk was directed to enter such amounts upon the tax-roll of the county, and the county treasurer of such county was authorized to collect such amounts, the same as other taxes, and place such sums to the credit of the respective townships in which collected; but the expenses of inspecting lands and serving notices was not to be charged on the tax-rolls. The same session also passed an act providing for a bounty of five cents for each crow killed within the limits of the county.
By the laws of 1907 it was provided that the county commissioners of each county in the state of Kansas might pay a bounty of $1 on each coyote scalp and $5 on each lobo wolf scalp, if said coyotes and lobo wolves were caught or killed in said county, and gophers, ten cents each. No person was to be entitled to receive any bounty, without first making it appear by positive proof, by affidavit in writing, filed with the county clerk, that the coyote or lobo wolf or gopher was captured and killed within the limits of the county in which application was made. And it was further provided that whenever bounty for any of these animals is awarded, the person to whom it was awarded should deliver the scalp of the animal, containing both ears, to the county clerk, who should personally burn the same, in presence of the county treasurer of said county.
At the special session of 1908, the legislature passed an act providing that the board of county commissioners of each county in the state might pay a bounty of ten cents on the scalp of each pocket-gopher or ground-mole, if said pocket-gopher or ground-mole should be killed within the county. No person was to be entitled to receive any bounty unless he should first make it appear by positive proof, by affidavit in writing, filed with the county clerk, and to the satisfaction of the board of county commissioners, that the pocket-gopher or ground-mole for which a bounty was sought was killed within the limits of said county in which application was made. And it was further provided that whenever bounty for any animal was awarded, the person to whom it was awarded should deliver the scalp of the animal, containing both ears, to the county clerk, who should personally burn the same in the presence of the county treasurer of said county.
In 1909 a law was passed providing that the county commissioners in each county in the State of Kansas shall pay a bounty of five cents on each pocket-gopher, crow, or crow's head, and a bounty of one cent on each crow's egg, if said pocket-gopher, crow or crow's egg be caught, killed or taken in said county. No person is entitled, under this law, to receive any bounty without first making it appear by positive proof, by affidavit in writing, filed with the county clerk, that such gopher, crow, crow's head or egg was killed, taken or captured within the limits of the county in which application for bounty is made, and the mode of procedure and disposal is the same as already outlined in other legislation mentioned.
But the legislation of Kansas granting bounties has not been confined to the payment of premiums for the scalps of destructive animals or birds. Efforts have been made through the bounty system to stimulate and encourage certain industries, the most notable instance being that of sugar. About 1887 considerable attention was paid to the various methods proposed of extracting sugar from sorghum cane. By the act of March 5, 1887, the Kansas legislature authorized the payment of a bounty of two cents a pound on sugar made "from beets, sorghum or other sugar-yielding canes" grown within the State of Kansas, and manufactured under certain conditions and restrictions, chief of which were that the sugar so manufactured should contain 90 per cent. of crystallized sugar, and that the bounty should not aggregate more than $15,000 in any one year. It was also enacted that the act should continue in force for five years.
On March 2, 1889, Gov. Humphrey approved an act, amending the act of 1887, increasing the amount that could be paid annually in bounties to $40,000, and extending the time to seven years. Two days after the passage and approval of this act, the legislature appropriated $18,658.30 for the payment of sugar bounties for the years 1887-88. The act granting the bounty of two cents a pound on sugar expired by limitation in 1896.
On March 5, 1903, the legislature passed an act providing for a bounty of $1 per ton on sugar beets grown within the state, under the conditions that the said beets should contain 12 per cent. of sugar, and that the total bounty paid in any one year should not exceed $10,000. The last appropriation for the payment of bounty on sugar beets was made by the legislature of 1905. Since that time the sugar industry has been forced to do without state assistance.Pages 218-220 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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