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Northeastern Naturalist


Maine and Massachusetts paid bounties on seals during the 19th and 20th centuries. To determine the number of seals killed for bounty, we examined historical records of bounty claims, and used geographic information systems and multiple linear regression to find predictors of places where large numbers of bounties were paid. We found records of 24,831 bounties paid in Maine (1891-1945) and 15,690 in Massachusetts (1888-1962), Considering possible fraud, missing data, and seals struck and lost, this suggests that 72,284 to 135,498 seals were killed in the bounty hunt, probably enough to account for regional declines in seal populations. Larger numbers of bounties were paid where there were more seals and a higher human population.


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