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Posts Tagged ‘conservation’

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.

Ref:  http://www.gov.ns.ca/natr/wildlife/nuisance/coyotes-faq.asp#8

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.

For more information, see

Coyote Problems in Nova Scotia

Coyotes and Hiking Sticks

Coyote Bounty Coming  and N.S. Reveals Coyote Cull (The Chronicle-Herald)

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bridge before dawn

Canada Goose Bridge

Even on a flat trail, there are many disadvantages to walking in a salt marsh in the dark:  you don’t always see the puddles or the uneven wood planks on the bridge; you can’t enjoy fall’s beautiful colours; and, you never know what’s lurking in the woods, or ahead of you on the trail.  However, the hour before dawn is ideal for seeing shooting stars and listening to herons, ducks and seagulls as they awaken.  During migration season, it’s also wonderful to listen to the flocks of hundreds, if not thousands of geese that rest overnight in the salt marsh.

geese in the dark

Geese in the Dark

Although they could be heard talking to one another in the darkness yesterday morning, by the time I arrived near their resting area today, the geese were just taking  flight.  The sound was amazingly loud as they flew above the trees.  I wondered what had startled them so early.

A flashing light soon became apparent on the trail ahead.  Hunters!  In a conservation area!  They had walked into the park using the trail and were dressed in waders.  Carrying guns, they explained that they were waiting for a boat to pick them up and take them to a spot that was beyond the park limits.  Hmmmm…

conservation area

 A light from a very quiet boat could be seen approaching the shore.  It had set out across the water from a launch area situated next to nearby Rainbow Haven Provincial Park.

Canada Goose by John James Audubon

Canada Goose by John James Audubon

The first time I walked along the salt marsh trail in the Peter McNab Kuhn Conservation Area, hunters shot down a duck that was retrieved by their dog right next to the trail.  It was Thanksgiving Monday and not quite what I was expecting from a walk in the park.  From the trail, I could see hunters in camouflage gear lying low behind their blinds on a nearby island.  The area had probably been used for years by hunters who entered the area by boat and weren’t aware of the area’s new park status.

These days however, all hunters should be aware of park limits.  Regardless of how delectable a goose might be for Christmas dinner, somehow it just doesn’t seem right to be using a park trail to bring hunting gear into an area in order to stalk geese before first light.  Knowing the goose was hunted in that manner would certainly leave a bad taste in my mouth.

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