Saskatchewan

Coyote bounty kills hit 18,000 in Sask.

Less than four months after Saskatchewan's coyote bounty program was announced, 18,000 coyotes have been killed.

Less than four months after Saskatchewan's coyote bounty program was announced, 18,000 coyotes have been killed.

The government gave an update on the Saskatchewan Coyote Control Program on Friday.

Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud, who introduced the $20-an-animal bounty last November, said he's pleased with the number of people who have participated, but he'd like to see a lot more coyotes killed in the weeks ahead.

A government news release said nearly 18,000 coyotes were killed for fur in the previous fiscal year without the government paying people. In an average year, the kill number is around 21,000, according to the Environment Ministry.

Bjornerud said he hopes 35,000 can be killed by the end of March.

"For this to really do the job that we had hoped it would do, we've got to be at least [at] 30,000, somewhere in that area," he said.

The government will spend $600,000 if 30,000 coyotes are killed.

People must bring in all four paws to get their money.

The province introduced the program amid widespread concerns that coyotes were destroying sheep, cattle and other livestock.

There have also been concerns about dangers to humans in rural areas. Bjornerud noted that coyotes have become bolder, coming into farmyards during daylight hours while families are working outside.

Some wildlife and environmental groups have expressed skepticism that the bounty would be effective at eliminating the coyotes that prey on farm animals, claiming that only the weaker, slower coyotes would be killed.

The Green Party said the money the province is spending could be better spent helping farmers pay for fences and livestock guardian dogs.

It notes that a bounty program was tried, and cancelled, in Nova Scotia because coyotes simply had bigger litters when their numbers dropped.

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