Cougars showing up in the valley bottom

Following the deer out of the deep snow at higher elevations, cougars are being spotted in the bottom of the valley, where people live.

With perfect snow conditions, cats and dogs can run on top but deer crash right through.

It’s a dangerous combination of conditions for ungulates, when their sharp hooves are not helpful to basic survival.

Conservation officers are speculating that’s what’s causing the sudden flurrry of sightings of big wild cats like cougars down in the valley bottom.

CO Terry Myroniuk says they’ve had a lot of cougar complaints, particularly from further north in the valley, where dogs and a mini-horse have also been taken by the big cats.

But it’s not abnormal, he says.

After the snowfall, there was a thaw and when it froze again, that formed a crust on top of the snow, hard enough that the big paws of cougars allow them to walk on top of the snow, even if it’s four feet deep.

Deer, on the other hand, have trouble walking on it, so they head for the valley bottoms where the snow isn’t as deep, and survival is more likely.

Cougars follow the deer, because deer are their main diet.

“The valley bottom is where deer and cougars normally would hang out in winter,” Myroniuk says, except that there are a lot of humans there now as well.

Cougars will turn their attention to dogs and other pets too, warned Myroniuk, so he recommended that pet-owners keep them inside, especially at night, and that they keep them close when walking with them.

He noted that both restrictions would also prevent dogs from running deer, which is also a danger when snow conditions are like this.

It is illegal to permit your dog to chase wildlife, and the dog can be shot by authorities and the owner fined.

Keeping your dog under control when in the wild will also prevent it from getting caught in a trapper’s trapline.

If you meet a cougar, he advises you to stand your ground; make eye contact (opposite from the advice if you meet up with a bear); and make yourself look bigger by raising your arms and make lots of noise.

“Let the cat know not to mess with you. Be threatening,” suggested Myroniuk.

If you spot a cougar in an area where it could be a public safety issue, call the Report all Poachers and Polluters toll-free line at: 1-877-952-7277.



Just Posted

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Kelowna city councillor suggests bringing back photo radar

Gail Given says it could help generate traffic fine revenue for the city—and make roads safer

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

‘Game changer” research deal between three B.C. Interior universities

UBCO, TRU, UNBC say deal will help innovation, research, aid students and increase quality of life

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Annual Christmas meal held as Kelowna Gospel Mission

The meal will be held tomorrow from 12 to 6 p.m.

Michaels: Big Brother has become a big letdown

“You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide, but privacy should still have some appeal.”

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

Accused Shuswap drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

Moose calves rescued in northern B.C. are ‘golden nuggets:’ researcher

Calves discovered near Prince George in late May. Mother had been killed by a car

Most Read