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Protection From Wildlife

First and foremost:

Be aware!

It may sound like common sense, but it is exceptionally important when in the Canadian Rockies to know what animals you may encounter and how to protect yourself.

Stay aware of your surroundings and be on the lookout for wildlife. Keep an eye out for signs warning of potential bear activity, such as scat or tracks on the ground. Visually scan farther ahead of the area you are approaching. If you are traveling into the wind, wildlife will not be able to smell you coming. Make noise. Singing songs on the trail can brighten your day as well as warn wildlife of your approach.

Once you are around bears, you must take precautions to avoid surprise encounters. Animals nap during the day, especially when it’s hot out. Make lots of noise to reducing surprise bear encounters.

When camping in an area with the possibility of bears it is wise to be aware that your food can attract bears. Always store your food in either a bear-resistant container well away from your camp suspended from a tree or a provided bearproof locker.

Preparing ahead of time for wildlife encounters will ensure that you do not feel helpless in the event of an attack.

If you are charged by a bear, stay calm and assess your situation. Do not make direct eye contact with a bear. Bears typically charge to intimidate their prey into leaving the area before it approaches close enough to make contact. Stand your ground, keep your group together, make lots of noise. Pickup rocks or branches. Use your trekking poles to keep the animal at a distance. A sow with cubs will be more aggressive than a single bear.

If the bear stops while still out of reach, it is generally not going to attack. If it keeps charging, remain in an area where you can quickly and easily place a tree between yourself and the bear (if you’re close enough). Bears will typically stop their charge when they feel that their path has been blocked by something. However, if it continues to charge and reaches you, use your bear spray.

If the bear makes contact, fight back! Use anything you have available as a weapon: rocks, sticks or even your trekking poles can be used to hit or poke at the bear. Aim for sensitive areas such as the eyes and nose. It is important to fight back aggressively, as most bears will be dissuaded if they are hurt enough.

Bears often make false charges to test their prey; it is important not to run! Bears can easily outrun humans, so running may lead the bear to perceive you as game for chase. Remain where you are and stand your ground, as it may deter the bear from making contact.

Be aware of any potential dangers to wildlife or their young in an area before hiking. Elk and moose are known to charge during rutting season. Some parks protect large areas of land to ensure that wildlife is not disturbed by human activity, so pay attention to warning signs about off-limits trails or camping areas.

Hiking with dogs off-leash may also put wildlife at risk, as they may interfere with herding adult bears or their cubs.

The Canadian Rockies are also home to other dangerous animals, such as cougars and wolves. If you encounter an animal kill in the wild, leave the area immediately as carnivores will often return to their kill.

If you encounter one of these animals, remain calm and back away slowly. Keep your children in the middle of the group to prevent an attack from the rear. Do not turn your back on the animal or run, as this may provoke an attack. Make yourself look as big as possible and use whatever you have to hand to make yourself sound intimidating (yelling, clapping, banging pots and pans together). If the animal does attack, fight back aggressively.

Protection from Wildlife

The Canadian Rockies are home to many types of wildlife, some of which can be very dangerous. Though they would rather avoid you, bears, cougars and wolves can pose a danger to hikers in the Canadian Rockies when surprised, so it is important to know how to protect yourself and also to make a lot of noise during your travels to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Being aware of your surroundings when hiking, wearing appropriate clothing and carrying bear spray are some of the ways you can protect yourself.

Preparing ahead of time for wild life encounters will ensure that you do not feel helpless in the event of an attack.

Don’t Be Afraid!

Be Aware!