A PROFESSIONAL wild dog trapper, who has just eradicated four animals terrorising Gulmarrad residents, says baiting programs are a waste of time and money.
Kyogle-based trapper Bill Crisp, who runs Tracs Wild Dog Management, said trapping was a more effective method of removing wild dogs from an area than the 1080 baiting programs run by the NSW Department of Primary Industries' Local Land Services.
Mr Crisp said research had shown baiting programs failed in Queensland and Western Australia, but in NSW they continued to run despite a lack of success.
He cited a study in Western Australia where a report of a baiting program showed goannas - unaffected by 1080 - were sometimes following the bait-laying vehicles and eating the baited meat as it was dropped.
Mr Crisp said there were more local flaws in the NSW North Coast baiting programs which reduced their effectiveness.
"The small size of the landholdings here also make it hard for the baiting programs to be effective.
"Not everyone wants to take part for whatever reason, so there are too many places for dogs to go where they won't find baits."
Mr Crisp said the proof that baiting was not working was the constant reappearance of wild dogs every year.
"Last year I came here (Gulmarrad) and removed eight dogs," he said.
"This year I'm back again and have taken out another four dogs. That'll knock them on the head for a while."
Local land owner Alan Weick knew there was a problem when howling dogs woke him up one night.
"It sounded like they were down at the foot of my bed, they were so close," he said.
Mr Weick was one of a group of locals who put in $200 each to pay for Mr Crisp to remove the dogs.
"The way he works is brilliant," Mr Weick said.
"A couple of nights ago he went out into a paddock and started howling them up.
"Up popped three dogs and bang, bang, bang ... three of them gone.
"The next night he trapped the dominant female of the group and he hopes to trap another one soon."
Local Land Services Northern NSW team leader Dean Chamberlain is well aware of Mr Crisp's skills as a dog trapper, but says his services are too expensive.
"We've employed Bill a number of times including at Kyogle and Gulmarrad last year," he said.
"At around $600 a day it's a fairly costly option and we don't get the level of funding to cover that."
Mr Chamberlain dismissed the criticism of the baiting program, although he did admit there were some problems.
Between 1500 and 2000 landowners on the North Coast participated in LLS baiting programs, he said.
"You're never doing to eradicate the problem."