Cougar startles hunters in K-Country

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Two hunters were forced to fire off warning shots during a close encounter with a cougar in Kananaskis Country last weekend.

The incident on Saturday (Sept. 8) prompted Alberta Parks to issue a warning for an area east of Highway 40 between Evan Thomas day use area and Wedge Pond, including Evan Thomas trail, Wedge Connector trail and a portion of the Bill Milne trail.

Arian Spiteri, a district conservation officer with Alberta Parks, said the cougar came from behind to within about five metres of the hunters.

“They fired off a couple of warning shots to scare the cougar, but they were aware the cougar was still in the general area,” she said, noting they spotted it again as they headed back to the vehicle to report the incident.

There were no signs of a cougar kill in the area.

Hunters travel silently and blend into their surroundings with camouflage gear.

“We aren’t able to speculate as to what caused this close interaction,” Spiteri said.

There have been no other cougar reports since Saturday.

“We haven’t had a history of incidents leading up tot his, so right now we’re going to monitor the area and monitor any reports we receive,” said Spiteri.

To avoid a surprise encounter with a cougar: make plenty of noise and travel in groups, be aware of surroundings, look for cougar signs, keep dogs on leash and carry bear spray and know how to use it.

Report all cougar sightings immediately to 403-591-7755.

 

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Cathy Ellis