Kill the coyote bounty

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Science matters. When governments ignore expert opinion to pursue populist policies it’s because they think optics matter more than facts.

The coyote bounty was brought in by the Dexter government in response to a fatal attack in Cape Breton, and a public perception that encounters with hostile animals were on the rise. Independent biologists were, generally, opposed to the idea. A year later, Simon Gadbois, a canine expert, is still not a fan. The scientist from Dalhousie University is quoted in a Canadian Press story stating, “…the data is not saying anything about if (the bounty) worked or not.”

What’s the life of a coyote worth? Last year, twenty bucks. That was the incentive offered by the provincial government to trappers. The question is, will the bounty continue into the upcoming season, which runs Oct. 15 to March 31?

Coyotes invoke a lot of hostility these days. Parallels could be drawn to public perception of wolves a century ago: dangerous vermin – good riddance. Human-animal conflict will not disappear, however. Whether it’s coyotes in Nova Scotia or bears in B.C., the problem isn’t the animals, it’s us.

We can bulldoze the natural world and kill its non-human occupants. Or we can recognize that living where wild animals roam requires flexibility on our part. Livestock will need protection and  parents will need to take precautions when their children or pets are in the backyard. In short, we’ll need to see the natural world for what it is: dangerous, exciting and wonderful. A place where wild canines – distant cousins of our beloved, panting best friends – still run free.

John MacDonell was the Minister of Natural Resources when the decision was made. He told the CBC he brought in the bounty to reinstill a fear of humans in the animals and to protect people from aggressive coyotes.

At least one biologist, Gadbois, is saying there’s no evidence in the aftermath that trapping makes coyotes avoid people or controls their population. But regardless of how well it did or didn’t work, the very idea was wrong-headed in the first place. Let’s exterminate absurd policies, not our province’s wildlife. 


Organizations: Dalhousie University, Canadian Press, CBC

Geographic location: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Really
    November 30, 2011 - 09:15

    99 % of predators don't kill there prey instantly, they tear it apart until it dies. Just watch a national geographic channel if you don't believe that. The bounty is stupid, just another example of man lording over the world. God forbid if the world worked the way it should. If you don't want your pets harmed stop letting them roam unattended. Your cat kills plenty of wildlife and your free roaming dog chases deer and other animals. On top of that they crap in your neighbors yard. You don't want anything to happen to your them. Man kill of all the wolves here, and now the coyotes are filling the void and wolves are slowly making their way back into the maritimes.

  • shawn
    October 02, 2011 - 19:10

    Let me get this straight. Your appauled at the way they kill their prey? Thats the dumbest thing I've heard. In that case lets cull all carnivores.

    • illalwaysbebarbie
      October 07, 2011 - 16:35

      Shawn..... may I ask you this? If they attacked and injured or even worse killed your child....... would you be of the same opinion????

  • Illalwaysbebarbie
    September 29, 2011 - 21:32

    I am of the opinion that these so called experts do not know how coyotes kill domestic and most wildlife animals. They do not kill instantly as predators in the European countries. When they attack in a pack..... they literally tear apart a living pet, calf, small pony, deer or fawn. And I presume would do the same to humans, especially a small child waiting for a school bus. I have personally been told by someone who witnessed the attack and killing of a doe deer in deep snow and it was horrifying. I personally had a problem with coyotes in the past. And I have no qualms about killing them and removing them from our area.

    • Ronald Chapman
      October 06, 2011 - 15:24

      Iagree they should be all distroyed.we do not need them in this country

    • Anonymous
      October 07, 2011 - 16:22

      If you have an issue with a Carnivorous animal doing what it does naturally, what makes the slaughterhouses in the beef industry any better?