Habitat Corridor Restoration at Jasper Lake Lodge Golf Course

While working on some habitat corridor projects this winter, I found myself making reference to one study in particular: Response of wolves to corridor restoration and human use management http://www.resalliance.org/ (A basic review can be found at Parks Canada)

Wolf Trails Before and After Corridor Route Restoration
The reason being, like in many other corridor studies, success was shown when giving a direct thruway to wildlife within their home range instead of attempting to direct them around large expanses of property or roads. Jasper Lake Lodge Golf Course sits in the valley, fully fencing off this area caused predators to use steeper terrain. The effects of displaced predators due to fragmented corridors includes (amongst negative effects to predator populations) a possible increase of prey species such as Deer and Elk. These high populations find refuge in golf courses, sometimes causing detrimental effects on the golf course itself (infrastructure, golfer and employee safety, damage to playing surface), as we've seen in Justin Ruiz's post about Elk at the Rim GC in Payson Arizona.

I wanted to learn a little more about two techniques mentioned but not outlined in the study, so I contacted Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program certified Fairmont at Jasper Lake Lodge Golf Course Superintendent Perry Cooper to find out a couple extra details I thought would be helpful for other Superintendents dealing with Deer and Elk.

Turfhugger: How did golf course staff "haze" Elk from the course?

Perry Cooper: Elk hazing just means herding or scaring animals to try and move them. Many forms are used....depending on the situation. We use noise makers...craker shells, bangers and screamer bangers.
On foot colleagues use elk sticks held 5-6 feet above there heads (just a piece of wood pole with a pom pom made of plastic attached....just like a cheer leader). The elk hate the fact some thing is taller then they are as well the plastic pom pom makes a scraping sound which they do not like either and will walk away. 

Turfhugger: How is the fence "permeable to carnivores" but not Elk?

Perry Cooper: The elk fence on our course has been designed with a corridor which is unfenced on holes #3 and #11 which allows all animals free access. We have fencing designed to allow large predators mainly, wolves, bears and cougars etc to pass but allow no access by elk.

Most of the elk fence is 8 feet high. Some sections of the fence are cedar split rail which allow deer, bear etc, to climb through but elk can't get through.....this has give the advantage to the predators around our property in that they can hunt freely which has reduced our elk numbers to a more balanced and natural state. Elk had been in the 1500 range in our valley.
Image from Parks Canada
Our elk numbers are reducing each year to a more tolerant level and are not as habituated to our property as they once where. Our guest/elk encounters are down as well as related insurance claims....the big plus for everyone is the thrill of seeing wolves, bears etc more often and the improved golfing conditions by not having to play in an environment that is damaged from elk.