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.
Many domestic dogs still maintain an instinct to hunt or chase. A trigger such as a hopping bunny or a running deer/elk can be a stimulus for this instinct to unfold, regardless of how well your dog is trained. Any fleeing animal will often trigger a dog to chase. Wildlife forced to run from a chasing dog unnecessarily expend precious energy in order to avoid the perceived predator. In winter, such energy expenditures can be life threatening if they occur over multiple occasions. This is because many species need to conserve energy reserves just to make it through winter – a time when food resources are of low quality and temperatures are cold. Useless expenditures of energy may tip the balance between survival and winter mortality. It can also result in direct injury or death to the wild animal if caught by the dog or indirect injury/death by pushing the wild animal into human use areas such as roads where it may be struck by a passing vehicle.
There have been no reports of bears in the Bow Valley in recent weeks and we are well into the winter season. The exact timing of denning varies with sex, age, reproductive status, location, weather. Bears tend to search out an appropriate den location when food resources diminish, temperatures drop, snow falls, and daylight becomes shorter. Time to excavate a den. Bear sightings in January are rare although they have been reported. Winter recreationists should still be aware of their surroundings, make noise and keep bear spray close and in a warm location in case of conflict with other wildlife such as coyotes and cougars.
No sightings of cougars or coyotes have been reported recently. Both coyote and cougars are active in the winter and move through the Bow Valley frequently in search of food sources such as deer and elk. In the past, both species have been known to take off-leash dogs. Keep pets and children close by when in your yard and on the trail.
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