Tips for when you see wildlife while visiting Park City
The sight of a deer, elk and or moose can be a highlight on a winter morning, but it’s important to remember that these are wild animals. They need some room, and respect, or you might have an unfortunate interaction. It’s not that unusual to see moose wandering down Park City’s Main Street, or munching on some pricey landscaping as the temperatures drop. They’re beautiful and majestic, but not always friendly. There are others out there it’s best to avoid as well, including skunks, badgers, porcupines, cougars and foxes. Local black bears are usually down for their naps.
Grab your binoculars or spotting scope and watch the bald eagles fishing for their breakfasts along the Weber and Provo rivers or the herds of elk on the barren ridges.
Here are a few pointers from Wild Aware Utah, a local educational program that will let you go back home with photographs, not bruises.
- Be alert at dawn and dusk when wildlife is most active.
- Never approach, feed, or try to touch wildlife.
- Always jog, hike or bike with a companion.
- Stay on designated trails. Wildlife usually stays clear of areas humans frequent.
- Make noise to alert wildlife of your presence.
- Refrain from wearing headphones, which can block out the sounds of nearby animals.
- Keep kids in the center of the group.
- Do not leave litter on the trail.
- Carry bear spray and know how to use it properly.
- Keep dogs leashed and do not let dogs “play” with wildlife. It is against Utah law to allow dogs to harass wildlife.
- Stay clear of animal carcasses near trails. They could be kills that are being guarded.
- Avoid placing yourself between a mother and her offspring. Give wildlife a lot of space.
Some wild animals know that humans have food, and even mistake your pet for prey. Dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits and goats can be at risk from larger predators like coyotes, foxes or cougars. To keep them safe:
- Keep pet vaccinations current.
- Supervise pets when outdoors, particularly at dawn and dusk.
- Keep housecats indoors, especially at night.
- Keep outdoor pets and small livestock in fully enclosed pens, coops or barns at night.
- Install heavy duty latches or locks on barn or pen doors.
- Use motion activated lights to deter wildlife from entering your yard.
- Install fences around your property.
For more information visit WildAwareUtah.org.