WILD dogs and foxes better watch out. As of last Saturday, they now have an enticing price tag hanging over their heads.
The Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh announced on Saturday a $4 million bounty would be open statewide for the next four years.
“The Government is delivering on its commitment to reinstate a true and proper fox and wild dog bounty,” he said. “The bounty will reward Victorian farmers and hunters with $10 for each fox and $50 for each wild dog killed.”
“The government is committed to ensuring fox and wild dog control is not funded on a temporary, ad-hoc basis.”
Victorian farmers and hunters have already kick-started the hot pursuit for the pests – with an entire fox scalp, including both ears and the skin surrounding the eyes and the nose in an air-dried, fresh or frozen condition required to collect the reward.
For 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 needed.
“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. But only landholders in designated 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 restoration of the fox and wild dog bounty would give community groups, landholders and shooting organisations an active role in controlling Victoria’s feral pest problem.
“The bounty is a long-term, year-round commitment to pest control,” he said.
The bounty replaces the ‘Foxlotto’ system implemented by the former government, which rewarded a handful of raffle winners and left the vast majority of shooters with nothing.
With growing wild dog and fox numbers resulting in shocking livestock losses, the move to reintroduce the system has been welcomed across Victoria.
But some producers have condemned the government for delaying its introduction until now.
The delay has allowed a season of breeding, with a new generation of cubs now in dens. Spring is also the most difficult time to hunt foxes because they are hard to find in longer grasses.
There are 21 collection points for fox scalps and eight centres for wild dogs with collections to starting from October 17.