By Erika Stark
A female cougar and dozens of other wildlife, including elk, sheep, deer and moose, have been killed illegally in the Water Valley, Sundre and Olds areas in the past two months, officials say.Deer hunters came across the carcass of the female cougar north of Water Valley on Nov. 29 and reported it to authorities. Provincial wildlife officer Adam Mirus suspects the poacher was hoping to stash the carcass until the cougar-hunting season opened Dec. 1.
“Animals being shot pre- and post-season dates does happen,” Mirus said. “It can be fairly hard for us to detect.”
An increase in poaching is common during the winter months, Mirus said, and there’s evidence of such activity again this year.
Mirus said he received reports Tuesday of a mule deer buck that had been shot and left. The mule deer season in the area ended Nov. 30.
“It still had a tow strap around its neck,” he said. “It was shot somewhere, they towed it with a vehicle, quickly chopped the head and antlers off and then left the rest to rot.”
Animals are more easily targeted this time of year because they’re out in the open during the day to feed, as opposed to during the evenings, Mirus said. Many poachers will shoot big game right from their vehicles. More....