Bear Activity Report

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Bear Activity: October 20 to October 26

Photo credit: Magda Idasz


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

For the period: October 20 to October 26

Welcome to the weekly bear report!


If you are wondering if the bears have gone into their dens…the answer is NO! Most of the bears in the Bow Valley and K-Country are still out and about looking for more food. As long as there is food available for them, they will likely not head into their dens. A variety of factors influence when they go to sleep, including the scarcity of food, the amount of snow, and temperature. These days, the easiest food for them to eat are unnatural foods such as crabapples, pumpkins, garbage, oats and pet food. Going to bed early is good for kids and for bears, as it keeps them out of trouble. Getting into trouble at this time of year for a bear is not good, as relocating a bear just before hibernation rarely works out well for the bears. Give them a hand by making sure your yard is free of attractants.

bear and pumpkin

Place pumpkins inside windows where trick-or-treaters can still enjoy them, but you won’t end up with a nasty fright if a bear shows up on your doorstep. If you don’t believe me, then check out this video of a bear eating a pumpkin on a porch. There have been many reports of pumpkins outside on doorsteps all around town. Help keep your children and the children in your neighbourhood safe by not leaving your pumpkins outside, as they can attract wildlife, including bears. If you must put pumpkins outside on Halloween, make sure that you take them inside before you go to bed.

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 hanging out around town and in open fields such as school yards and playing fields. There have also been reports of elk groups along the Bow River trails. Remember to give them lots of space (at least 30 m)! It is still elk rutting season and male elk can be especially defensive of the group of females they are protecting. Always be aware of your surroundings and do not get between two male elk, or between a male elk and the group of females he is with.

Remember that hunting season has started. 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.

CTV put together an interesting piece called “A Grizzly Debate“, intended to create an awareness of grizzly bear management in Alberta, including some of the difficult decisions faced by local authorities here in the Bow Valley.

‘Living with Wildlife’ by local filmmaker Leanne Allison, has been selected to be shown at the Banff Mountain Film Festival! If you haven’t already seen it, check it out on the big screen on Sunday, Oct. 29th at 7:30pm in the Eric Harvie Theatre at the Banff Centre. You can also watch the movie on our website by clicking here.

Warnings and Closures

-Cougar Warning: Ha Ling Trail due to multiple sightings of a cougar on the trail.

*There are NO current bear warnings or closures in the Bow Valley (east of the Banff park gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park) but that does NOT mean that there are no bears in these areas. You should always remain alert while walking, hiking, running and biking, and remember that bears can be encountered anytime, anywhere!

Additional bear warnings and closures are available here for anyone visiting Kananaskis Country and Alberta Parks.

Additional 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 the 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

A big shout out and thank you to our amazing Volunteer Wildlife Ambassadors! We just had our season wrap up and they put in over 380 volunteer hours, making over 4100 contacts at trail-heads, parking lots, visitor centres, day use areas and out on the trails. They do an amazing job of educating locals and visitors alike by having great conversations not confrontations.

We will be recruiting for the Wildlife Ambassador program in the winter time and will send out information with dates and times to our bear report mailing list, the local media (RM Outlook, Mountain FM, Crag and Canyon), and we will post it on our website and Facebook page. Training normally starts in March so please stay tuned…

Great job again this year Wildlife Ambassadors! Thanks for all your help!

Photo credit: Magda Idasz

Wildlife Ambassadors up near Grassi Lakes with wildlife spotting scope. (Photo credit: Magda Idasz)


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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