Nfld. & Labrador

Bounty on coyotes won't help moose and caribou population, says Avalon hunting guide

Paying people to hunt coyotes won't necessarily thin the pack, says one hunting guide on the Avalon Peninsula.
A hunting guide in Newfoundland says offering a bounty to hunt coyotes may not have the desired effect, since the animals are incredibly evasive. (Submitted by Albert Lee)

Paying people to hunt coyotes won't necessarily thin the pack, says one hunting guide on the Avalon Peninsula.

The government re-introduced its so-called canid collections program last week, which pays hunters $25 for the pelt of a coyote.

"I don't think it will do very much if anything at all to significantly reduce predator numbers or their impact on big game species," said Wayne Holloway, a guide with decades of experience in the province's forests.

As it turns out, coyotes are pretty hard to hunt, he said.

"They're an intelligent animal that survives in close proximity to human populations, so they've learned how to evade."

If you measure the success of hunters against the amount of effort that goes in to shooting or trapping a coyote, the $25 is hardly worth it.

Moose licences have been slashed in the province, but some hunting association reps say that's not enough. (Submitted by Luc Gervais)

Holloway said government scientists may get valuable information from the pelts, to determine just how much the Labrador wolf species has mixed with coyotes on the island.

"Outside of that, I don't think there's any expectation here that hunters and even trappers are going to have a significant impact on the population of these canines."

The government announced last week it would issue 2,470 fewer moose licences for the 2018 hunting season, but some hunting association reps have said it's not enough.

Coyotes not the biggest issue for moose

Holloway says the biggest threat to the moose and caribou population is habitat loss. Woods roads and transmission lines have been cut all across the province, including new lines related to the Muskrat Falls project.

He says access should be reduced in areas of the province so moose can raise their young and get healthy before hunting season.

"It's an environmental disaster that wouldn't happen, it wouldn't be allowed in any other environment than this crazy place we live in here."

With files from Central Morning Show