WILDLIFE ACTIVITY FOR THE BOW VALLEY
(Banff National Park to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
The following summary is based upon wildlife information provided by government agencies and unconfirmed sightings reported by the public. It is not intended to be used as a real time, complete record of where wildlife is in the valley.
WILDLIFE CAN BE ENCOUNTERED ANYWHERE, ANYTIME!
Be aware of your surroundings, know how to reduce the likelihood of encounters, and be prepared should an encounter take place. Always use caution by paying attention to signs of wildlife activity such as scats, tracks, and diggings. Make lots of noise while recreating; hike in groups when possible; carry pepper spray; and obey closures.
Bear spray has been proven to be effective at deterring attacks by black and grizzly bear. It could also be a useful deterrent for encounters with other species, such as cougars and coyotes. It will not prevent encounters but can prevent an attack or save you from injury or death. Additionally, it may act as an aversive conditioning tool to discourage habituation in potentially harmful species such as coyotes.
In winter keep your bear spray easily accessible and warm to ensure its effectiveness.
Wildlife activity in the valley is relatively quiet from the perspective of interactions and people. However outdoor enthusiasts should be aware that in the winter there is considerable use of the trails in and around Canmore by people and other species such as cougars, coyotes and ungulates.
There has been a rash of reported incidents recently of coyotes boldly walking down streets and entering yards to seize feral rabbits. The large population of rabbits in parts of the community is going to facilitate the proliferation of this kind of activity as these feral animals represent an easy food source. Please be aware of these coyotes and do not encourage their habituation.
Although there have been no cougar sightings recently, cougars frequently use trails we use, especially if there is heavy snow fall and we have packed the trails. Also if there are elk or deer in the area to hunt, cougars use the packed trails to sneak up on them as they are quieter than “post holing” in deep crusty snow. We should be aware of this, keep our eyes open and dogs on leash.
Cougars leave a very identifiable track pattern. The size and shape of the foot print as well as the walking pattern make them easy to identify.
Cougars, though rarely seen, are residents in the Bow Valley. The link below provides information that will help you stay safe.
If you encounter an animal (elk, deer, wolf, cougar etc) on the trail or close to you, leave the area. This will prevent the animal from getting used to people. If the animal does approach you, increase your distance. If it persists, try and appear large and speak firmly to the animal. Pick up a large stick if one is handy. Prepare your bear spray and discharge it in the animal’s face if necessary.
Wildlife Cautions/ Closures
Please report all incidents of aggressive coyotes as well as cougar or other unusual wildlife sightings to 403-591-7755. For current postings of Wildlife Warnings and Closures please visit tpr.alberta.ca/parks/kananaskis/trailreport.aspx
Please do not use the comment box to report sightings of wildlife.
Report all bear sightings to
For current postings of Bear Warnings, Wildlife Warnings and Closures please visit http://tpr.alberta.ca/parks/kananaskis/trailreport.aspx