Posts Tagged ‘bounty’

Good grief! There’s been another coyote attack in Nova Scotia. You’d think these clever beasts would be keeping a low profile, considering the bounty that’s been placed on them. This time, a farmer in Hants county had the back of his jacket torn by one while he was shoveling snow. He managed to fend it off without being injured.

Since October 2009, coyote encounters noted in the media have included one in Cape Breton where a female hiker was mauled and killed; another  where a teenager (who should have heeded park warnings to not sleep outdoors without a tent) awoke to find coyote jaws around her head; and one in a neighborhood in Spryfield, where a Nova Scotia Power meter reader managed to fend off a potential attack when he inadvertently got between an adult and pups.

Many believe that the bounty announced on Earth Day 2010 is the best solution to the problem at least for the short term. However, in a pack, usually only the alpha male and female reproduce. If they’re killed, the entire pack will begin reproducing, therefore increasing the population the following year. It seems like the short term solution could create larger problems in the future.  Regardless of the potential for an increase in the birth of pups this spring, the Department of Natural Resources believes that a bounty can be effective simply by re-enforcing the coyote population’s natural fear of humans.  Could they be right?  We’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources is advising people confronted with coyotes to “back away, act large, make noise and fight back.” Hopefully wise coyotes will also re-examine their tactics and back away to more remote spaces, act timid, make do with food in the wild and fight back by writing letters to the editor to complain about loss of habitat.

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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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