Bear Report - May 10, 2019

(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
For the period: May 3 to May 10, 2019


Bear season is in full swing as there continue to be reports of bears (mostly black bears) throughout the Bow Valley (on both sides of the valley), in and around Canmore in residential areas, and in the nearby MD of Bighorn hamlets. The black bear that was removed from the Peaks of Grassi area last week after accessing garbage and bird-feed in a backyard has been killed. This is the same black bear that was relocated from this neighbourhood last summer. More details can be found in this article.

This serves as an important reminder for residents to keep their yards free of wildlife attractants such as garbage, recycling, bird-feeders, pet food and fruit bearing trees and shrubs. Once a bear gets access to these attractants, it will keep coming back looking for that food source and may even approach humans in search of food. This type of behaviour can be a public safety concern often ending with the bear being relocated or destroyed. For those who are not aware, the Town of Canmore has a Wildlife Attractant Bylaw. Residents can be fined for having wildlife attractants accumulate to the point that they attract dangerous wildlife to their yards. Click here for more information and to download a copy of the bylaw.

A black bear with a cub of year (COY), about the size of a domestic cat, was seen on the south side of the valley. Grizzly bear activity in Kananaskis Country has increased in the past week and several females with cubs have been seen moving around the landscape looking for food. Make sure to give these mothers and their young lots of space as these mother bears are particularly protective of their young cubs.

Bears are not the only wildlife that have been spotted this past week as a wolf and cougar were seen in the eastern part of the Bow Valley, and elk and mule deer have been seen in and around town. We are getting into elk calving season which means that there are going to be some spotted fawns running around soon! It also means that we need to be very vigilant of mother elk and their calves who may be hiding in dense vegetation. Leave at least 30 meters of space between yourself and all elk. Make sure you keep your dog on a leash as mother elk can become very defensive if they feel threatened.

The ditches will be greening up along the highways in the Bow Valley very shortly and that is going to draw all kinds of wildlife into the ditches looking for green grass. We see a high mortality rate of wildlife from vehicles in the Bow Valley so motorists need to obey speed limits and constantly scan for wildlife feeding in the ditches along roadways. If you see one animal be prepared to see more and adjust your speed accordingly.

If you must stop on roadways to view wildlife, make sure it is done in a safe manner. Take your picture from a distance and move on. Do not linger at the location and never exit your vehicle to take a picture. Never feed wildlife or encourage wildlife to come closer to your vehicle.

You can reduce the risk of bear encounters if you remain vigilant when recreating outdoors! Make lots of noise to alert animals of your presence, travel in groups, keep dogs on leash, be aware of your surroundings (look and listen for signs of wildlife such as tracks and scat), and carry bear spray in an easily accessible location and know how to use it. Bear spray should be carried while walking on well travelled trails, including the trails in and around town.


Bear Closure - Sarrail Creek drainage below Mount Foch due to grizzly bear denning in the area disturbed by human presence. This closure does not affect the Rawson Lake area.

*Bears are not only found in closure or warning areas. You should always remain alert while walking, hiking, running and biking, and remember that bears can be encountered anytime, anywhere!

Here is a list of some Annual Closures in Kananaskis Country.

A complete list of all warnings and closures is available here for anyone visiting the Bow Valley, Kananaskis Country and Alberta Parks.

A complete list of all warnings and closures is 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.


We educate people on how to be more proactive and avoid encounters with wildlife. Encounters still occur and we like to make sure you are properly prepared for them and that those encounters are pawsitive ones. If you and your family want to become more ‘bear aware’, want to learn how to use bear spray, and want to learn more about our local wildlife, come to this great workshop on Monday May 13 from 6-8 pm at Bow Valley Parent Link in Canmore. Registration is required for this FREE event for all ages and there is free childcare available. For more information or to register, phone 403-678-2529, email or sign up at any Bow Valley Parent Link Centre. We hope to see you there!