A cougar was captured along Stettler County and Starland County Dec. 18. (Contributed photo)

Stettler County man ‘startled’ to capture cougar

Cougars rare in area

A large female cougar was caught south of Stettler.

The cougar was captured Dec. 18 along the borders of Stettler County and Starland County.

“I was a little startled,” said *Rick when he saw it in the coyote snare.

Stettler District Fish and Wildlife Officer Scott Kallweit said cougar sightings in this area are rare.

“In the Red Deer River Valley, it’s rare. We certainly don’t see cougars here as much as they do in the West Country and further north.

“Anywhere there are water drainages like the Red Deer River, or there is a healthy deer population there’s always a possibility they could be around,” he added.

Kallweit said cougars are good at hiding and generally stay away from people.

“They usually leave people alone, their primary interest is deer. They like to stay around heavily treed areas and that’s probably why we don’t see them away from the river drainages.”

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Kallweit said last year a Byemoor landowner shot a cougar on his property.

“We allow landowners on their own property to kill cougars year round. Other than that I can say fairly confidently in the three years I have been here I’ve never looked at calves or a cow that was killed by a cougar.”

If someone claims to see a cougar Kallweit says he wants to see proof.

“Unless people have pictures or there are tracks to look at and you can show me the proof, I’m very skeptical. They are rare around here.”

After discovering the cougar, Rick turned the animal over to Fish and Wildlife. Kallweit commended Rick for this.

“He did the right thing. (People) are required by law to contact us and turn it over.”

Some people may want to take the animal to a taxidermist.

“The temptation for some people is always out there because it’s not very common to catch one. We have had some cases where guys try to go out about it the other way and usually that doesn’t end up well and it ends up in court. That’s certainly a consideration and why I give him a lot of credit. Not everybody does the right thing.”

READ MORE: Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officers ask for the public’s help with unsolved poaching cases

Residents don’t have to be concerned about cougars in the area but rather be cautious.

“We need to respect that there are cougars,” said Kallweit. “We live amongst all sorts of different wildlife and we need to be aware of that. You just have to use caution. There really is nothing to be overly worried about.”

* Name has been changed at the request of the Stettler County man.



lisa.joy@stettlerindependent.com

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