Call of the wild

Prov­ince’s out­fit­ters would like to see mon­i­tor­ing of coy­ote pop­u­la­tion re­vived

The Southern Gazette - - EDITORIAL - BY GARY KEAN

With de­clines in the prov­ince’s cari­bou pop­u­la­tion, the New­found­land and Labrador Out­fit­ters As­so­ci­a­tion is con­cerned too much of its busi­ness will soon rely mainly on moose.

While other fac­tors con­trib­ute im­pact the pop­u­la­tion of big game in the prov­ince, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s pres­i­dent said the estab­lish­ment of coy­ote and pos­si­bly wolves on the is­land is one that shouldn’t be for­got­ten.

In last spring’s pro­vin­cial bud­get, among the many cuts, changes were made to wildlife pop­u­la­tion mon­i­tor­ing and the elim­i­na­tion of a $25 cash bounty for coy­ote car­casses.

Ron Hicks would like to see more done to en­sure healthy big game pop­u­la­tions and a bet­ter han­dle on some of their preda­tors.

Not­ing the ex­am­ple of the alarm­ing re­cent de­cline of the once-strong Ge­orge River cari­bou herd, Hicks said pop­u­la­tions of an­i­mals can be im­pacted in short or­der if not man­aged well.

“Right now, we’ve es­sen­tially be­come a one-species in­dus­try and that’s a lit­tle bit un­nerv­ing,” Hicks said. “We have to be cog­nizant of that and gov­ern­ment has to be cog­nizant of that.”

Hicks ap­pre­ci­ates the need for fis­cal re­straint in hard times, but said the as­so­ci­a­tion would wel­come any type of re­search ef­forts or preda­tor con­trol mea­sures.

“Some things can­not be trumped,” he said. “You need a strong in­dus­try and that is go­ing to take re­sources.”

The ar­gu­ment against try­ing to con­trol the coy­ote pop­u­la­tion is that the species has a ten­dency to ro­bustly re­bound from such pres­sures be­ing ap­plied to it.

“But at the same time, I don’t like to just throw my hands in the air and sur­ren­der ei­ther,” said Hicks. “The proven sci­en­tific is­sue is there is not enough (big game) calf sur­vival and we have to do some­thing about that.”

GARY KEAN/TC ME­DIA

Cory Foster, left, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the New­found­land and Labrador out­fit­ters As­so­ci­a­tion, and Ron Hicks, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s pres­i­dent, lead the dis­cus­sions at the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s an­nual con­fer­ence in Cor­ner Brook ear­lier this month.

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