The province announced a new coyote bounty Thursday, but insists it is different from past failed attempts.
Nova Scotia’s last coyote bounty ended in failure in 1986 when it was determined to have no effect on population numbers.
Natural Resources Minister John MacDonell has in the past stated they don’t work. But this bounty of $20 per coyote pelt is different, he told reporters at a news conference Thursday.
“Bounties don’t work to control the population. What we’re hoping to do is change the behaviour,” he said.
MacDonell hopes to cull as much as 4,000 of the approximately 8,000 coyotes in the province. He said this will lead the animals to fear humans and cut down on aggressive interactions.
Only licensed trappers will receive the $20 bounty. The province will train 15 specific trappers to target aggressive coyotes in areas near people. The government is also hiring a wildlife biologist to study human/wildlife conflict and setting up new education programs.
MacDonell initially tried to say this wasn’t a bounty, believing that word harkened back to previous failed drives to curb the population.
Though he admitted “If you were to check Webster’s you’d probably find that every way you can find a definition this would be defined as a bounty.”
He also had sections on how bounties don’t work taken off the natural resources website.
Liberal MLA Leo Glavine, whose cat Muffy was killed by coyotes, applauded plans to target problem animals and increase education. But he believes the $20 bounty is an over-reaction. Glavine said there’s no guarantee a widespread cull will hit the aggressive animals.
“He’s rolling the dice on that so there’s no guarantee,” said Glavine.
“We may see a minor reduction in the short term, but I honestly think that’s from (the other initiatives).
The bounty will apply throughout trapping season, which begins Oct. 15.
Sightings on the rise
Coyote sightings have spiked this year in HRM, but officials think it might just be due to hype. There were 85 reported coyote sightings in the Halifax area between Jan. 1 and March 15. However, none of the run-ins were aggressive.