Wimmera farmers, hunters collect 28,000 fox scalps

WIMMERA farmers and hunters have collected more than 28,000 fox scalps as part of the State Government’s fox and wild dog bounty.

Horsham’s Department of Environment and Primary Industries collection point has received 20,173 fox scalps since the program began in October 2011.

St Arnaud’s collection point has received 8284 fox scalps and the Rainbow collection point has received 15 wild dog skins.

Victorians handed in 243,159 fox scalps and 1034 wild dog skins statewide.

The bounty resumes today after taking a break for the Christmas period.

Department of Environment and Primary Industries biosecurity manager for established invasive animals John Matthews said he expected the first two or three collections in Horsham would be particularly busy.

“We haven’t been collecting for the past four months, but that doesn’t stop hunters from stockpiling scalps throughout the summer months,” he said.

“Foxes this time of the year are easier to hunt – there are lots of young, naive, hungry and displaced foxes in the landscape, so they are ideal targets for hunters.”

Mr Matthews said it was difficult to measure the program’s success.

“Although we have taken a quarter of a million foxes out of the landscape so far, we have to think about how many foxes still remain,” he said.

“The program is designed to reward Victorian hunters for their efforts in contributing to fox control.”

Mr Matthews said there were minor changes to bounty collection points and Wimmera hunters should note the St Arnaud collection point had moved.

“It is now in Montague Street at the new Department of Environment and Primary Industries offices,” he said.

Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh encouraged hunters to continue managing the destructive pest animals.

“Foxes and wild dogs prey on native fauna and vulnerable livestock, particularly newborn lambs and calves, and can have devastating impacts on livestock owners,” he said.

“The only good fox is a dead fox.

“The bounty continues to play an important role in the State Government’s integrated approach to fox and wild dog control, in combination with other control methods such as trapping and ground baiting.”

He said people could get more information on the bounty collection schedule, including changes and updates for 2014, at depi.vic.gov.au/bounty.

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