Victorian fox hunters have earned $1 million for their efforts in less than a year, shooting 100,000 of the pests under the state’s bounty system.
Since it began on 1 October last year, the bounty has been five times more successful than the previous FoxStop program, which accounted for just over 20,000 foxes in three years.
The success of the program is fuelling demand for a similar bounty in other states.
With a $4 million budget, the bounty will get rid of almost 400,000 redcoats before it finishes, although whether it can stay on track do it within a four-year timeframe remains to be seen.
The bounty also includes dogs, which earn a hunter $50 each compared with $10 for foxes. So far, 312 dog scalps had been presented.
The massive culling of foxes has undoubtedly had a positive effect for native marsupials and birds, and Mr Walsh also pointed to the benefits for the agricultural sector.
“Attacks on livestock are extremely distressing for farmers and too many have been confronted with the trauma of disembowelled sheep or dead week-old lambs on their properties as a result of savage fox and wild dog attacks,” Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said when hunters reached the $1 million milestone last week.
“The $1 million paid out to hunters is not only a partial compensation for their efforts, it is also recognition from the Coalition Government that the community’s active role in the controlling of foxes is appreciated.
“The only good fox is a dead fox.”
NSW Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Robert Borsak said NSW could reap the same benefits.
“Victoria’s bounty shows the way for other states,” he said. “NSW has an enormous problem with wild dogs and foxes, and must follow Victoria’s lead by enlisting hunters to help.
“Ten dollars a fox is great value for the hunter as well as the state, which wastes millions of dollars on less effective 1080 poisoning programs that kill non-target native animals and birds as well.”
The SFP recently highlighted a study that proved targeted shooting of foxes, which does no collateral to other species, could be very effective, and now the Victorian experience appears to back the effectiveness of mass shooting as another weapon in the battle against the pests.
Full details of Victoria’s bounty program, including locations of collection stations, are available on the DPI website.
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