Call of the wild
Province’s outfitters would like to see monitoring of coyote population revived
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.”
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.