Bear Activity Report

Living with Wildlife - Watch the Movie

How to Donate

Bow Valley WildSmart is a program of the Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley and relies entirely on donations and sponsors.
How to Donate
Receive weekly bear activity reports, news & events by email.
Sign up

Report any sightings of bears, cougars or wolves
403.591.7755 (Local)

For all public safety
emergencies call 9-1-1

Bear Activity: September 21 to September 27


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

For the period: September 21 to September 27, 2018

Welcome to the weekly bear report!


There continue to be reports of black bears in and around Canmore and the MD of Bighorn hamlets, primarily feeding in fruit trees in yards. Bears are being drawn into residential areas by people allowing fruit and berries to accumulate on trees in their yards. These attractants bring bears and humans close together, creating public and wildlife safety concerns. A trap has been set in the Three Sisters Area (see picture below) to capture a black bear that has had several interactions with humans in the area while feeding on fruit trees, specifically mountain ash berries.


This same bear has caused extensive property damage to many mountain ash trees in yards in this area (as shown in pictures below). Removing fruit attractants from your yard helps avoid attracting bears into residential areas, which reduces the chance of bears getting trapped and relocated. Relocated bears generally have a fairly low chance of survival, but moving a bear in the fall is especially difficult for the bear.

70 Dyrgas Gate - Sept 25 2018 use

70 Dyrgas Gate - Sept 25 2018 edit use

To help remove fruit you can borrow pruning shears and extendable fruit pickers from WildSmart at the the Biosphere Resource Centre in Canmore. Bear-proof fruit collection bins are available at the Boulder Crescent Recycling Depot (115 Boulder Crescent) for any extra or unwanted fruit.

Yesterday morning there were four bull elk and 45 female elk on the fields at Lawrence Grassi Middle School. The largest bull was bugling and protecting the cows from the other bulls. The bulls were also acting aggressively towards children biking nearby on their way to school, as seen in the picture below.

biker lgms1

A reminder to parents and children 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, including children on bikes. 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 as is evident in this recent article of a Parks Canada truck with four holes in it made by a charging bull elk.

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 Warning - Kananaskis Country Golf Course and staff residence due to multiple black and grizzly bears in the area.

-Cougar Warning – The area east of Highway 40 between Evan Thomas Day Use Area and Wedge Pond Day Use Area, including Evan Thomas Trail, the Wedge Connector Trail and a portion of the Bill Milne Trail due to a group of two people that had a close encounter with a cougar 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

Interesting fact: While bear mating season occurs in June and early July, the fertilized egg (blastocyst) does not implant until much later in the fall. If the female bear has not reached a healthy weight to sustain her and her young through the winter, implantation does not occur. This means that if a female bear has a productive summer (with lots of food and weight gain), she will be able to support one or more offspring. If not, she can absorb the fertilized egg(s) to save energy and she will not bear any offspring.

Photo courtesy of Amar Athwal

Photo courtesy of Amar Athwal


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

© 2019 Bow Valley WildSmart Community Program  |  design & maintenance by Webmarks Design & Marketing  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy |