Elk aggression on the rise in Canmore during calving season

Canmore residents and visitors are being asked to take extra caution in the town and on the trails following several reports of female elk aggressively protecting their young.

Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement says the return of elk calving season — from mid-May through early July — has brought with it the potential for dangerous encounters between humans and wildlife.

Female elk are extremely protective of their young and will act defensively when they feel threatened. Signs of agitation include:

  • Staring with flattened ears;
  • Raised rump hair;
  • Curled lips;
  • Grinding teeth; and,
  • Charging and kicking.

If you’re approached by an elk, Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement encourages you to:

  • Act dominant by raising your arms or a large object;
  • Maintain eye contact with the animal;
  • Do no turn your back and run;
  • Climb a tree or attempt to stand behind a large object that could prevent the animal from charging;
  • Back away slowly; and,
  • DO NOT PLAY DEAD. If you fall or are knocked over, quickly return to your feet and try to find cover.

To reduce the likelihood of an elk encounter:

  • Travel in groups;
  • Avoid taking pets into areas where elk are calving;
  • Keep pet on leash at all times; and
  • Stay at least 30 metres from any elk you spot.

All visitors to Canmore and the mountain parks are encouraged to carry bear spray and to be aware of how to properly utilize it as a form of protection against wildlife.

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