WILDLIFE ACTIVITY THIS WINTER
Wildlife activity in the valley is relatively quiet from the perspective of interactions and people. However outdoor enthusiasts should be aware that in the winter there is considerable use of the trails in and around Canmore by people and other species such as cougars, coyotes and ungulates.
Although there have been no cougar sightings recently, cougars frequently use trails we use, especially if there is heavy snow fall and we have packed the trails. Also if there are elk or deer in the area to hunt, cougars use the packed trails to sneak up on them as they are quieter than “post holing” in deep crusty snow. We should be aware of this, keep our eyes open and dogs on leash.
By this time of year many bears have gone into their den. That being said there has been some sightings and paw prints seen in other parts of the Rockies.
Deer mortalities continue to be high on unfenced sections of the highway. Please be extra cautious in these areas and be aware that sometimes wildlife can get caught on the inside of the fence next to the highway. Always drive with care for your safety and the wildlife that live here.
This holiday season when you have more time to take the family pet for a walk, please remember that deer and elk populations are entering into the most stressful and food deprived time of the year for them. They are in need of space and chasing dogs can cause them to use precious calories they need to survive the winter. We also have a very active cougar population who see your pet as prey and in past years we have lost several dogs to cougar predation. Please be extra cautious to keep your family pets safe.
WILDLIFE CAN BE ENCOUNTERED ANYWHERE, ANYTIME!
Be aware of your surroundings, know how to reduce the likelihood of encounters, and be prepared should an encounter take place. Always use caution by paying attention to signs of wildlife activity such as scats, tracks, and diggings. Make lots of noise while recreating. Hike, ski and snowshoe in groups when possible; carry pepper spray; and obey closures.
If you encounter an animal (elk, deer, wolf, cougar etc) on the trail or close to you, leave the area. This will prevent the animal from getting used to people. If the animal does approach you, increase your distance. If it persists, try and appear large and speak firmly to the animal. Pick up a large stick if one is handy. Prepare your bear spray and discharge it in the animal’s face if necessary.
Wildlife Cautions/ Closures
Please report all incidents of aggressive coyotes as well as cougar or other unusual wildlife sightings to 403-591-7755. For current postings of Wildlife Warnings and Closures please visit www.albertaparks.ca/kananaskis-country/advisories-public-safety/trail-reports.aspx