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 with Rob Miskosky

Shrinking A Bow Zone?

It’s called the Bow Corridor Wildlife Management Unit, better known to Alberta bowhunters as WMU 410, a bowhunting only unit. WMU 410 is a well-known elk hunting area for bowhunters with an antlered and antlerless season that runs from September 7 to November 30. There is no need to apply for a draw to hunt big game animals in the Bow Corridor Wildlife Management Unit.

Canmore residents want to see WMU 410
no-hunting boundaries expanded.
Sitting within WMU 410 is the Town of Canmore. Flanked on all sides by the Rocky Mountains and approximately 90 minutes from downtown Calgary, more than 13,000 residents call Canmore home. The Bow River also flows through the town, creating the perfect habitat for wildlife with a network of wildlife corridors and trails.

Canmore is also grizzly bear country and the infamous Bear 148 spent much time in this WMU before eventually being tranquilized and translocated approximately 500 kilometres to the northwest after threatening run-ins with local residents. Bear 148 was shot and killed by a BC hunter shortly after being translocated.

As hunters know, not every animal shot, either by rifle or bow, always dies on the spot; some can travel up to several hundred metres before expiring.
In Canmore, hunting within the municipality is illegal; however, in some areas near the town, hunting is common and it is not uncommon for residents to see camo-clad bowhunters making their way to their favourite hunting spot. One of those favourite spots is on Larch Island, which is adjacent to a residential neighbourhood and contains a walking trail.
In November of this past hunting season, a bowhunter arrowed a cow elk on Larch Island that made it a few hundred metres before it expired just metres off a popular walking trail. The hunters, doing nothing illegal, gutted the animal where it dropped, leaving the entrails behind.
However, the entrails were discovered by a resident who renewed calls to have the hunting boundaries changed, eliminating Larch Island and possibly other areas near the town. Concerns are that a large carnivore such as a grizzly bear or cougar could lay claim to the entrails, essentially becoming a danger to the public should it be encountered.
The resident, Gareth Thomson, along with the mayor of Canmore, John Borrowman, and MLA Cam Westhead have reached out to AEP Minister Shannon Phillips to have the boundaries changed. In an article in the Rocky Mountain Outlook, Minister Phillips said, “If the community really does have a serious concern about Larch Island bowhunting, then we do have an ability to do something about it, and to make some changes starting next year.”
WMU 410 was one of the very first bowhunting-only units ever created in Alberta, it has a long history, and was hunted by many famous personalities including Fred Bear.
A move to expand the no-hunting boundaries further away from Canmore has WMU 410 bowhunters concerned, as excellent hunting areas would be removed from the unit. There is also concern that if WMU 410 is indeed downsized, it could be precedent setting and other Alberta towns where hunting is allowed in close proximity would be encouraged to engage the government to shrink other units.
And what about municipal districts and counties? It takes just one elected official that’s anti-hunting to try to put an end to hunting on public lands near infrastructure.
Bowhunters need to make their voices heard. Even if you don’t hunt WMU 410, your WMU may be next! ■

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