The province of Nova Scotia’s NDP government is set to announce a bounty on coyotes today. It doesn’t seem like Natural Resources Minister John MacDonnell has been informed about the questionable effect of coyote bounties. Surprisingly, his own department’s website offers the following in its FAQ section on coyotes:
Why don’t we put a bounty on them, or cull them to reduce the population?
Bounties do not work. Bounties have been tried across North America without success. It is almost impossible to remove all animals or even to keep a population in check. A bounty instituted in Nova Scotia in 1982 was removed in 1986 when it was apparent that there was no impact on coyote populations.
Last year, members of the Trappers Association of Nova Scotia caught 1900 coyotes (approx. 25% of the total population) without a bounty. You’d think they were lurking behind every tree. Nevertheless, some people have complained of coyotes hanging around playgrounds in neighborhoods bordering woodlands. But could live traps not be used in such places?
Will traps set for coyotes in the woods mean that pet owners will have to worry about their dogs and cats possibly getting nabbed in them? Will hunters in the woods keen on acquiring as many bounties as possible prove a hazard to hikers?
Last fall, a woman was killed by coyotes while hiking in Cape Breton. More recently, a woman fended off a coyote that grabbed her by the leg while hiking in Lunenburg.
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