NSW Farmers Association calls for bounty on foxes

By Dominic Geiger

The NSW Farmers Association (NFA) has called for a bounty to be placed on foxes and wild dogs to help reduce the pests’ growing numbers across the state.

The bounty would work along the lines of the current Victorian model, with $10 being awarded per fox and $50 per wild dog.

Chairperson of the Conservation and Research Management Committee at the NFA, Rod Young, said a change in livestock running practises combined with a good season had allowed fox numbers to explode.

“Years ago, there used to be a lot of people shooting for hides, but that stopped when the [fur] industry went,” he said.

“The sheep population has also dropped to a historical low; where you used to have groups of sheep farmers who were collectively baiting for foxes, you now have cattle farmers who don’t bait and leave the sheep farmers isolated.

“A bounty may be an incentive for property owners to allow responsible people onto their land to control fox numbers.

“If combined with baiting, a bounty could be successful in significantly reducing fox numbers.”

Mr Young stressed the importance of only allowing responsible shooters onto properties.

“Obviously it would be up to landowners to police what sort of person goes onto their property,” he said.

Lachlan LHPA senior ranger, Craig Ridley, said he was concerned a bounty would encourage irresponsible people to go out shooting, regardless of whether landowners picked the right people for the job.

“I’d be extremely cautious introducing a bounty,” he said.

“It has a downside, and that’s the idiot factor; we could start losing livestock and, God forbid, people.

“It could encourage idiots to shoot on roadsides.

“The best approach in reducing fox numbers is integrated pest management, which involves a group of landholders conducting coordinated baiting as well as possible shooting.”

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