Fox bounty returns to Victoria for hunters

BOUNTY: Farmer Bruce Bickford, Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh and Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum discuss the reintroduced fox and wild dog bounty. Picture: Matt Kimpton
BOUNTY: Farmer Bruce Bickford, Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh and Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum discuss the reintroduced fox and wild dog bounty. Picture: Matt Kimpton

THE Victorian government has reintroduced a bounty on foxes and wild dogs in an attempt to cull pest numbers.Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh visited Ravenswood South to announce a $4 million four-year bounty.He said hunters would receive $10 per fox and $50 per wild dog from tomorrow.“It is estimated that foxes in Victoria do something like $40 million a year damage to agriculture, so (it’s) a major cost to the agricultural industry,” Mr Walsh said.“From a native fauna point of view, (there is) also some significant damage particularly to our small marsupials, so this is an added part of the program to control foxes... for the assistance of agriculture and the assistance of biodiversity.”A previous bounty meant hunters could collect a reward by submitting fox tails.But Mr Walsh said Department of Primary Industry Advice prompted the government to change the bounty conditions.Hunters will have to present the entire fox scalp, ears and skin around the eyes and nose in an air-dried, fresh or frozen condition to receive $10.The $50 wild dog bounty requires hunters to present a single piece of skin and fur running from the snout, along the back including the ears and the tail.Ravenswood South farmer Bruce Bickford welcomed the announcement.“It’s a great initiative and it will help cull the foxes,” he said. “It is a good idea, it should be nation wide I believe and continue ongoing.” Field and Game Australia chief executive officer Rod Drew said a reinstated bounty was crucial.He said fox numbers had been on the rise for the past 18 months in the wake of the drought breaking.Bendigo’s wild dog and fox bounty collection centre is at the corner of Midland Highway and Taylor Street, Epsom.The collections will be from 10.30am to 12.30pm on October 24, November 21 and December 19.