Fox scalps and wild dog skins to be collected again as bounty resumes

Thousands of scalps are expected to be collected across the state as the fox and wild dog bounty resumes for 2018.

In Bendigo, the first collection centre will be held on March 5, with the following to be held monthly at the Epsom depot.

“We are expecting larger numbers of scalps and wild dog skin pieces over the first few months of collections due to the stockpiling of body parts over summer and early autumn and a peak in fox hunting activity as young, vulnerable and displaced juvenile foxes move around the landscape,” Agriculture Victoria's John Matthews said.

“Eligible participants can submit entire fox scalps for a $10 reward and entire wild dog skin pieces for a $120 reward during scheduled collection times.”

Historically, the Epsom collection site has been one of the largest in the state, with more than 75,000 fox scalps handed in since the introduction of the bounty in 2011.

It comes in at second, with 85,497 scalps collected at the Ballarat depot.

But numbers are falling across Victoria, with only 2320 scalps handed in during the second half of last year in Bendigo, compared to 7540 in the 2016-17 financial year.

It’s a long way from the 15,506 collected in the second year of the bounty.

​A spokesperson for Agriculture Victoria said reports of fox sightings typically tended to spike at this time of the year, as young naive foxes were displaced from their territories and juvenile foxes were on their own, no longer supported by the family group.

“They are commonly observed during day or night searching for food, shelter and a new territory,” the spokesperson said.

The pests are also common in city environments, as well as rural, with one resident last year claiming there was a fox epidemic in Bendigo killing her chickens.

A cheeky one also held up races at the Bendigo Jockey Club in September when it made its way onto the course.