Winter animal tracking in the Eastern Townships

A picture of a beaver in long grass
A beaver sitting in long grass. Photo by Jim Ferrier.
Holly Mueller - - KnowltonQC | 02-01-2021

Winter is the best time for animal tracking. Not all animals will be visible due to hibernation, but the ones that are active leave prints and other materials in the snow. Tracking can be a great tool for conservation as well as hunting and trapping.

“You become a citizen scientist who can report to your own community on animal use of the land, as I had mentioned to you before, you might want to know that where you are planning to build the condos is a moose breeding ground or something,” said Jim Ferrier, citizen scientist and veteran animal tracker.

Citizen scientists are able to make these claims because they collect years of data, including photographs, for evidence but also their own enjoyment. All of the data collected is verified.

The Eastern Townships are home to many different animal species, such as fisher cats, bears, deer, moose and weasels to name a few.

Ferrier was certified through the Keeping Track Course taught by Sue Morris in Vermont. Currently there are about five certified citizen scientists in the Lac Brome area.

“The whole point of this, as I was getting to, is to know what’s there and what they’re doing,” said Ferrier.

It is very important to respect the animal you are tracking, he added.

“We follow everything backwards just to respect the animal and not freak it out,” said Ferrier.

Here is Jim Ferrier speaking with CIDI: