Jasper National Park News - August 24

Elk rutting season begins

The elk mating season has arrived with the usual sightings of large male elk bugling and chasing females in and around Jasper.

The rutting season typically lasts until mid-October. During this time, male elk can become extremely aggressive.

While warning signs will soon be posted at areas where elk herds often gather, below are some tips to help you stay safe this rutting season.

Elk Grazing
Elk Grazing
Ryan Bray - Parks Canada photo

What you need to know:   

Keep at least 30 metres away from all elk and never get between a male and the females.

Do not park your vehicle between a male and the females; elk may charge at your vehicle.

How to avoid & handle elk encounters:

Travel in a group.

Stay back at least 30 metres.

Watch for elk at all times and detour around them. Try to walk around elk on the high side of a slope or up-hill.

Keep your dog on a leash at all times. A dog may prompt an elk to become aggressive as they view the dog as a predator (wolf or coyote).

Carry pepper spray, a walking stick or an umbrella as protection.

Act dominant if an elk gets too close. Raise your arms or any big object (jacket or umbrella) to make yourself appear larger, maintain eye contact, and never turn your back or run. Climb a tree or keep an object, like a tree or large rock, between you and the elk. Back slowly out of the area. Warn other hikers of an elk ahead and report the incident immediately to Parks Canada dispatch at 780-852-6155.

If you are knocked down or fall, get up and try to move to cover or use an object to protect yourself.

Do not play dead!