The issue of bounties has come up again, as it often does in pest animal management. I've blogged before on why groups like the Australasian Wildlife Management Society don't support bounties. But there is no doubt it tends to be a polarizing debate - farmers like and support bounties but scientists in the field don't. Why such a difference of views? In my experience, farmers tend to know what's best on their farm and it is hard to find a farmer that doesn't support bounties. On the other hand, it would be hard to find a scientist that does support bounties.
ABC's Stateline program in Victoria did a story on the issue last Friday night, following a pledge from the Victorian Opposition to reinstate a bounty on both foxes and wild dogs in that State if they win the upcoming election. The story shows some of the complicating factors: for example, dogs are a major concern around baiting programs. The labour shortage on farms means that working dogs are critical and they can have a very high dollar value as well as the obvious other values to farmers. Another reason is probably that when you shoot foxes, you see the immediate result whereas baiting doesn't provide that satisfaction.