Foxes and wild dogs now have a price on their head, with the Victorian Coalition Government’s fox and wild dog bounty commencing Saturday.
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said it was the latest in a range of actions this government had initiated to combat the wild dog problem in the region.
Among measures introduced in 2011 have been:
• The extension of 72 hour trap checking (which was to become 24hr) to allow doggers more flexibility to carry out their work. • The announcement that the aerial baiting trial will commence this autumn. • Restructuring of the wild dog management group that will allow communities to have more of a say in the overall control program. • A commitment to review (currently underway) trap sizes and changes to the presently restrictive 3km buffer zone.
“These are all changes Labor refused to consider in 11 years in government and whilst there are still stock losses occurring, we are putting measures in place to make an impact.
“The bounty will reward Victorian farmers and hunters with $10 for each fox and $50 for each wild dog that is killed from 1 October,” Mr Bull said.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the $4 million bounty would be open state-wide over the next four years.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to reinstate a true and proper fox and wild dog bounty,” Mr Walsh said.
Hunters will need to submit an entire fox scalp, including both ears and the skin surrounding the eyes and the nose in an air-dried, fresh or frozen condition to collect the reward.
To collect the reward on wild dogs, a single piece of skin including the skin and fur running from the snout, including the ears, along the animal’s back and the tail is required.
Mr Walsh said there were 21 collection points across regional Victoria for fox scalps and eight collection centres for wild dogs with collections to start from 17 October.
“Specialist DPI staff will visit each location monthly in order to collect the skins and pay the bounty,” Mr Walsh said.
Any Victorian can collect the fox bounty, however only landholders in designated wild dog control areas and financial members of the Sporting Shooters Association Victoria, Field and Game Australia and the Australian Deer Association will be eligible for the wild dog bounty.
Mr Walsh said the reinstatement of the fox and wild dog bounty would give community groups, landholders and shooting organisations an active role in controlling Victoria’s fox problem.
“The bounty is a long-term, year-round commitment to pest control. The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to ensuring fox and wild dog control is not funded on a temporary, ad-hoc basis,” Mr Walsh said.
“The fox and wild dog bounty replaces Labor’s ineffective FoxStop program which saw just 17,146 foxes submitted over three years, compared with 198,000 foxes killed when the fox bounty was last trialled in 2003.
“The Coalition is delivering for regional Victoria by reintroducing the fox bounty program eight years after it was scrapped by the previous government.
“We have also committed to introducing aerial baiting of wild dogs next autumn in parts of Victoria’s high country,” Mr Walsh said.
Full details of the Victorian Fox and Wild Dog Bounty, including terms and conditions and monthly collection times, are available at www.dpi.vic.gov.au/bounty or by contacting the DPI Customer Service Centre on 136 186.