Wildlife Management Bounty Programs
The Government of Alberta first began paying bounties for the removal of problem wildlife in the early 1900s. In1907, Alberta’s first provincial Game Act established the province’s first bounty regulations. At that time, a bounty on wolves and coyotes was paid for by the Department of Agriculture.
Over the years, bounties for problem wildlife were under constant change and most province-wide government bounties were discontinued. With few bounties being offered, by the late 1970s, the number of problem wildlife complaints in Alberta had grown to the point where the provincial Fish and Wildlife Division was unable to keep up, and they abandoned control services for several predator species. Subsequently, municipal governments, as well as fish and game clubs stepped in and began to use bounties in an effort to control an out-of-hand problem. To this day, municipalities, fish and game clubs, and special interest groups continue to provide bounties for problem wildlife control where needed.
Studies have proven that province-wide bounties seldom work; however, localized bounties have proven to be successful on many fronts, especially in the case of coyotes, wolves and beaver. Municipal governments use bounty programs to control some predators when livestock damage has occurred or public safety is at issue. Municipal bounties are also used to control damage caused by beavers to private lands and public infrastructure. Fish and game clubs and special interest groups may also provide incentives to hunters and trappers in order to sustain healthy populations of ungulates and reduce livestock predation when predators become over populated due to lack of harvest or expansion into rural communities.
Historically, problem wildlife has been controlled by trapping, shooting, and poisoning. Currently livestock producers can request poison be used through Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development to control problem wildlife such as coyotes and wolves. The Alberta Trappers’ Association does not believe that the use of poison is an effective way to manage wildlife (see http://albertatrappers.com/poison.html).
Therefore, the Alberta Trappers’ Association supports continued harvest by trappers and localized bounty programs as an effective tool for controlling problem wildlife. Given the rapid growth and expansion of predator numbers across Alberta, local governments and rural communities must continue to have these programs as a viable option for wildlife management.
Date: November 6, 2015
Alberta Trappers’ Association