A pest control bylaw went through its first reading at the City Council meeting on Monday, February 12th.
"It's been expanded now," explained Estevan Parks Manager, Rod March, "and the premise of the new bylaw was to update the old one to include the aspects of the Wildlife Act. What's happening now is conservation officers no longer look after anything smaller than an ungulatewithin a city. They'll look after deer and stuff like that but basically they've offloaded the responsibility of coyotes to the City. So now we have to deal with that, and that's fine."
Because of the changes, March is undergoing training to allow him to shoot coyotes and other wildlife within city limits with a tranquilizer.
"So the next steps to that is that I work with the Estevan Police Service and I work with conservation officers to get the proper permits. Once that's done, then I can safely remove the coyotes from the city with the help of the Estevan Police Service."
"Because we don't want to destroy any animals within city limits and it's a bylaw as well that no one other than a peace officer can use a firearm in the city. So what I'm going to be doing is using a tranquilizer gun instead of an actual firearm. It's still a restricted weapon so I have to have a restricted possession and acquisition license. Basically I'll just be tranquilizing the animals to remove them from the city."
He added that while coyotes aren't a big problem in Estevan yet, they are seeing an increase in calls.
"We're still working with conservation officers as this transition occurs, but in the very near future, I would say, maybe a month, then I'll be looking after all of it."
March is still finishing up his training with the College of Veterinarians so he will be able to out the animals to sleep safely.
"All it is, is instead of shooting an actual firearm, you're firing a dart full of medicine that will put them to sleep. You can't purchase that medicine without having specific training."
He added that it's not just coyotes that he will be watching out for.
"The way we look at it is whether or not they are a vector for disease. Coyotes is a perfect example where they carry rabies and they're known for that. Basically anything that carries a disease in the city. That's why we look after rat control, they carry disease, mosquitoes obviously carry diseases, skunks carry diseases so we make sure to control all of those animals."
Oxbow holds an annual cull to thin out the population of coyotes in that area.
"Things like rabbits, we don't necessarily deal with because they're not causing a huge problem and they don't carry a disease that's transmittable to humans."
"If you do see a coyote at this time, we know there's a couple around, you can always give us a call here at the City and we'll deal with it, either through a conservation officer or EPS at such time I'm licences to carry that dart gun and then I'll take care of them."
Outside the city, conservation officers will still handle calls.
The bylaw also includes weed control as well.
"And that's always been in legislation. Mostly what we deal with around here are nuisance weeds. Those are your dandelions and stuff like that. So if there is a complaint lodged, then we have to deal with it."
He added that usually a bylaw order is given to a resident and they typically clean it up before the city needs to go onto the property and take care of the problem.