Bear Activity Report

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Bear Activity: October 5 to October 11


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

For the period: October 5 to October 11, 2018

Welcome to the weekly bear report!


The bears are still out and about looking for food for the next month and a half to fatten up for the winter, and bears continue to be drawn into residential areas on both sides of the valley by people allowing fruit and berries to accumulate on trees in their yards. 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!

Grizzly Bear track in the recent snowfall.

Grizzly bear track in the recent snowfall.

Here is a story from a friend about recent encounters with moose out in the Spray Valley over the long weekend. Shortly after arriving in the parking lot, a cow moose emerged and approached his vehicle. They moved behind the vehicle while the moose briefly licked the wheel wells, after which it moved off. Just before they left for their ski trip from the trailhead, the cow returned with a bull. Both moose were feeding on vegetation, and they kept more than 30 m distance from the two moose. Evidence of moose was abundant along the trail; there were fresh moose tracks crossing and following the trail. Later in the day, they skied over a rise to come face to face with a bull moose that was walking towards them on the trail (~50m away). They had their bear spray readily accessible, but the moose turned and veered off the trail. They waited until they were sure that the moose was a safe distance from the trail before continuing on. They travelled in a tight group and made plenty of noise, particularly when travelling at speed, along creeks, and through dense forest. This is a great reminder that wildlife can be encountered anywhere, anytime and you need to be properly prepared!


Elk continue to be seen around town and in open fields, school yards and playing fields. There have been several recent incidents of elk closing 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!


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. Bear spray should be carried in an easily accessible location, you need to know how to use it and be prepared to use it, as is discussed in this video about a grizzly bear that was successfully deterred using bear spray during a surprise encounter.

Current Warnings and Closures

-Bear Closure – The entire slope forming the south-end of Opal Ridge between Highway 40 and the height of land from 2 km north of Fortress Gas Station to the ridge north of the Grizzly Creek drainage due to a grizzly bear feeding on a carcass.

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

-Bear Closure – Terrace Trail and a small portion of the Kovach trail on the very south end where it runs near the Terrace Trail due to bear activity.

-Bear Warning - Galatea Creek Trail due to a grizzly bear close encounter with bear spray deployed.

-Bear Warning - Kananaskis Country Golf Course and staff residence due to multiple black and grizzly bears 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

A big shout out and THANK YOU to our amazing Volunteer Wildlife Ambassadors for making the trails safer for people and wildlife this season! We are having our season wrap up party tomorrow evening and they put in almost 900 volunteer hours, making over 10,000 in-person contacts at community events, 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.




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


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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