No solid commitment from Province on hunting boundary

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The Alberta government is being vague on whether it’s open to removing Larch Island from provincial hunting boundaries in Canmore.

A gut pile from a freshly killed female elk found close to residential homes and busy trails near Larch Island on Nov. 14 sparked renewed calls for a change to the provincial bow hunting zone.

The fear is the remains left behind by hunters could draw carnivores such as bears and wolves into residential neighbouthoods. There’s also concern a stray arrow could accidentally injure or kill someone.

Alberta Environment and Parks provided a brief email statement on Tuesday (Nov. 28), eight days after an Outlook request for an interview.

Department officials briefly stated they’re aware of concerns related to bow hunting at Larch Island within the Town of Canmore.

“Wildlife officers are monitoring the area,” wrote Olav Rokne, public affairs officer for Alberta Environment and Parks, in the statement.

“Department officials will work with the Town of Canmore to find a solution that ensures the safety of area residents while balancing the needs of the local hunting community.”

Residents in the Larch area have consistently raised concerns with the Town of Canmore, particularly when hunters are seen walking through their neighbourhood in camouflage gear and carrying bows.

Mayor John Borrowman began lobbying the former Progessive Conservative government at the ministerial level several years ago to have Larch Island taken out of the hunting zone, but so far to no avail.

In this most recent case, resident Gareth Thomson raised the alarm when he saw a gut pile from a cow elk left by hunters about five metres off a popular trail in the Larch area, on the north side of the Bow River near the golf course.

Bow hunting is allowed here September through November. The hunters did absolutely nothing illegal, and the elk remains were devoured by scavengers, including ravens.

Canmore is a unique community where bow hunting is permitted in areas under the province’s jurisdiction, which overlap with municipal boundaries.

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Rocky Mountain Outlook