Bear Activity Report

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Bear Activity: October 12 to October 18


(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)

For the period: October 12 to October 18, 2018

Welcome to the weekly bear report!


Bear activity seems to be slowing down a bit in the Bow Valley but bears are still awake and looking for food, especially easily accessible food. There continue to be reports of bears getting into fruit trees this week in Canmore. Please do your part in keeping wildlife WILD and outside of residential areas by removing attractants such as fruit (both on trees and on the ground), grease on BBQs, pet food and garbage from your yard. If you are having trouble getting the hard-to-reach fruit up high, come and borrow a telescopic fruit picker from WildSmart!

Photo by Jamin Mulvey

Photo by Jamin Mulvey

Elk have recently been seen along the Trans Canada Highway (TCH) and other major roads. One elk was reportedly killed by a vehicle on the TCH west of Canmore, and there have also been several near misses reported. As the daylight hours are getting shorter, commuters are on the roads during the dark, increasing the risk of collisions with wildlife on roads. Motorists should obey posted speed limits and constantly scan for wildlife feeding or walking roadside. If you see one animal be prepared to see more and adjust your speed accordingly.

Halloween is around the corner and with that, pumpkins are starting to make an appearance. Please be proactive and remember to keep pumpkins inside of windows and NOT on your doorstep. Pumpkins act as a wildlife attractant to all sorts of animals, not just bears.

Photo courtesy of Parks Canada

Photo courtesy of Parks Canada

You might think that your pumpkin is safe on a balcony, far off the ground, but bears are very good climbers. Check out this video of an ingenious bear climbing up onto a balcony.

Keep your yard bear free by placing pumpkins in windows

Keep your doorstep bear free by placing pumpkins inside windows

Elk continue to be seen around town and in open fields, school yards and playing fields. There have been several incidents this fall of elk closing the distance on people around town. A reminder that it is elk rutting season and that male elk are particularly protective of nearby female elk, becoming aggressive towards anything that comes too close. Be aware of the elk, give them lots of space (at least 30m or 3 school bus lengths) and calmly leave the area if you see elk or other wildlife. Never get between a male and female elk and be sure to keep pets on-leash. If an elk does charge, prepare to use your bear spray and try to move behind a large object (i.e. car, large tree) and keep it between you and the elk. Never approach elk as they are wild animals that need their space, and they can react unpredictably!


It is still hunting season so please be aware of your surroundings and stay clear of dead animals. Hunters should always carry and use bear spray as the first line of defence, even if they are carrying a gun. Bear spray should be carried in an easily accessible location; you need to know how to use it and be prepared to use it.

Current Warnings and Closures

-Bear Closure - The southerly basin formed by Limestone Mountain and The Wedge Peak from Highway 40, near the Galatea rock-cut, to the height of land and south to Rocky Creek due to a grizzly bear sow with a cub feeding on a carcass. The closure includes all access along Rocky Creek.

-Bear Closure - Eau Claire Campground and surrounding area due to bear activity in the area.

Here is a list of some additional Annual Closures in Kananaskis Country. Note that most of these annual closures ended on June 15.

*Bears are not only found in closure and warning areas. You should always remain alert while walking, hiking, running and biking, and remember that bears can be encountered anytime, anywhere!

A complete list of all warnings and closures are available here for anyone visiting Kananaskis Country and Alberta Parks.

A complete list of all warnings and closures are available here for Banff National Park.

For more information on areas in the Bow Valley frequented by bears at this time of year visit our human-bear conflict summary map.

The information above is based upon a compilation of bear information provided by government agencies and unconfirmed sightings reported by the public over the last week. It is not intended to be used as a real time, complete record of where bears are in the valley.

And Now some Paws-itive News

Bears need a healthy fat layer before they go into their deep sleep; it helps them to stay warm and provides calories to survive the winter. If they don’t gain enough fat reserves, they may wake up early in the spring or during the winter in a desperate attempt to find more food. If that fails, the bear may face starvation. Hopefully the bears are getting nice and fat, ready to make it through the winter ahead. Check out this great Facebook video that shows what happens to a bear’s body while the animal hibernates!


Important Note:

Please do not use the comment box to report sightings of wildlife.

Report any sightings of a bear, cougar, wolf or any aggressive wildlife in Kananaskis or the Bow Valley to Kananaskis Emergency Services 403.591.7755

For current postings of Bear Warnings, Wildlife Warnings and Closures please visit the following page:
Kananaskis Country - Advisories and Public Safety

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