Whose paw prints are those?

One of the perks—or annoyances, if you like your flower gardens—of living in Northwest Ontario is getting to see wildlife almost every day. From deer walking down main streets, to bears in the trees in your backyard, wildlife is everywhere!

If you live in a city with highrises, a tiny backyard, and daily traffic jams, it can be hard to imagine what some residents in Northwest Ontario get to see every day. Fall is a particularly busy time to see wild animals, as they are out storing up for the cold winter months. 

While there is plenty of wildlife living in the forests that we never get to see, there are quite a few opportunities to see wildlife daily in you live in Northwest Ontario. Right now, for example, there are bears everywhere! The bears are preparing for the winter months when they go into hibernation and eat nonstop. Once they head into town and discover a dumpster, they treat it like a buffet and hit it up daily. Their entire lives revolve around food. 

Living close to several hotels and fast-food restaurants, we often see bears out in our neighbourhood. It's easy to know when a bear is around, as the neighbourhood dogs all start barking. One morning, a bear was in our neighbours' yard being especially playful, climbing up and down trees. It would have made for a great video, had I actually pressed the record button! The next morning I was more on the ball and captured him on camera as he was roaming the neighbourhood. 

Most local residents go about their business, living their daily lives as usual when the bears are around. Occasionally, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (more commonly referred to as MNR or MNFR) sets up a bear trap and relocates the bear back into the wilderness, as they did this fall after a bear cub was found wandering around downtown Kenora.

While it's common practice for locals to act as though it's "business as usual," it's still important to remember these are wild animals. Remember not to get too close and follow the province's "Bear Wise" rules on what to do when encountering a bear.

Sometimes, autumn in our neck of the woods means you just have to keep the kids from playing in your backyard for a while. Kenora resident Kim Boucher has had this bear pictured below in her backyard most days this season.

A bear hanging out in a residential backyard. Photo: Kim Boucher

Unlike the bears, who we usually see only in the late summer and fall, the whitetail deer is seen roaming around year-round. And the deer in Northwest Ontario towns are abundant! These deer are used to people and barely even bat an eye when passing by people. Watch this deer on the Kenora Harbourfront take a stroll right past me!

While we usually don't see the deer right on the main strip, these deer were seen strutting their stuff down Main Street in Kenora. I wonder if they had any "doe" with them for shopping? 

Speaking of shopping, this bear cub was spotted at the door of The Narrows Gift Shop in Sioux Narrows. Perhaps he was picking up some "bear" necessities?

Stephen Semeniuk took this picture of a lynx this summer in Dryden. This big guy was cruising up Wood Street, across from Open Roads Public School. He's looking a little scrawny, as he was wet, most likely from just swimming across the Wabigoon River. 

And who can forget the year a deer was spotted on Erin Cathcart Rose's roof after climbing up onto it via particularly high snowbanks? 

The snowbanks were so high in 2014, that this deer had no problem getting onto the roof to eat Erin Cathcart Rose's cedar tree. Photo: Chris Spence

Joe Valenta and Jackie Huttl filmed these two foxes below in their backyard! What a fantastic thing to see. Watch the video of the two foxes playing in the yard all the while unaware of human presence. 

While it's great to see wild animals up close and personal, it can't be emphasized enough that they are wild. While in town, the animals might eat our garbage and flowerbeds, but in the wild, there is a natural food web. Check out this drone footage by Dan Nystedt of Form Productions of a wolf attacking a much, larger than him moose! And remember that this is just in town we've been talking about: out in the Boreal forests that surround the towns and cities of Northern Ontario, there are many more wild animals.

If you want to see more of the wild animals that live amongst us in Northwest Ontario, follow us on Facebook or on our YouTube channel

Have you experienced any wildlife encounters where you live? 

About Erin Rody

I grew up on Black Sturgeon Lake in Northwestern Ontario. I am a staff writer for the Sunset Country Travel Association. Through my articles I hope to entice you to visit the wonderful region I call home. We are all about outdoor adventure; with 70,000 lakes and rivers and a whole lot of forests how can we not be? Whether you like to fish, hunt, canoe, kayak, boat or go camping, Sunset Country has something for you. Enjoy!

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