By Luc Robert (local journalism initiative)
Rural areas are seeing more and more small animals, such as cats in the wild, disappear: they are often victims of Pekans, who hunt during the 12 months of the year.
These animals have a low, elongated body. Carnivorous, they hunt prey smaller than themselves. “Like the wolverine and the American marten, they are from the mustelid family. They stuff themselves with hares, red squirrels, partridges, carcasses… and cats. The Pékan sees these small domestic animals in freedom as competitors, in the hunt for small rodents. The sharp claws of the Pekans and their sharp teeth allow them to hold the prey and tear its flesh to pieces ”, described Mr. Jacques Boucher, trapper for more than 30 years.
They are skillful and shrewd predators, who take advantage of every opportunity to feed. “The Pékan is the only one to dare to attack porcupines, of which it is the sole predator. The Pekan attacks him in the trees, until the porcupine falls from fatigue. It is a peri-urban animal, which can be found from the Thousand Islands to Saint-Hippolyte, in our sector of the Basses-Laurentides. It is hunted in two ways: on the traplines, as in
the Papineau-Labelle park reserve, where it can also be trapped on free land, either private (with permission) or crown land. “
Some consider it to be a pest. They are particularly sought after for their fur. “The Pékan is trapped in two ways: either through a fabricated trap cage, or by baiting it into a death trap, with meat or game. As for its fur, it is prized by the Chinese, who use it to make collars and hats. “
Cunning, the Pékan hunts mainly at night, at extended distances. “The male roams large territories. He moves almost exclusively for the purpose of eating. The female covers less ground. She can also be fierce. Males can reach 12 pounds, although I have already caught a 14 pound one ”, analyzed Mr. Boucher.
Despite its strength, the Pekans do not stand up to humans. “When you come across a Pekan, he won’t confront you. Rather, he will push himself, deeming the “fight” unequal. “