Lately I've been paying more attention to the animal tracks I see in the snow. It likely has a lot to do with spotting cougar tracks on a recent hike (more on that in a future post), but it's been some valuable education. When spring comes around and there are tracks running every which way on the muddy trail, I like knowing what I'm looking at.
After learning the difference between canine and feline prints, I started to let my guard down when I could tell the tracks were likely from a four-legged hiking companion. In the unlikely event the tracks belonged to something a little less domestic such as a coyote or wolf, I still wasn't that concerned. We don't hike with our pets (the cats would really not go for it), and I couldn't imagine a coyote or wolf attacking humans.
The weekend before last one or more coyotes attacked a total of three children in Canmore, one in her front yard, two more at a city-sponsored "Skate with Santa" event. One girl was 13 years old -- this is far from a small child you would expect to be the target of a coyote.
Two coyotes have been killed by Fish and Wildlife officers. The coyotes will be tested for rabies and other diseases, though there's no way to know if these are the same coyotes that attacked the kids.
None of the kids were seriously hurt -- they were bitten, but the skin was not broken -- yet this should serve as a warning to all hikers. If a coyote will attack a human in a town setting like Canmore, that's good enough reason to pay attention to coyotes you might encounter on the trail -- especially around Canmore.