Elk Trap

Christmas lights are antler traps

Keep your festive lights out of reach of elk and deer

Living in Banff means taking extra care to protect animals. 

Wildlife naturally forage around trees, and Christmas lights can become tangled in antlers. That could lead to a panicked animal, potential injury or a dangerous situation. 

  1. Consider cord-free outdoor decorations.
  2. Do not hang strings of lights on trees or across open spaces.  
  3. Keep festive lights at least 3 metres off the ground. 
  4. Put lights on a timer to limit disturbances to nocturnal wildlife.
  5. When the season ends, take down decorations as soon as possible. 

This year, show you care about Banff wildlife by keeping Christmas lights out of reach.  

Keep wildlife wild

All visitors, residents and business owners within the town of Banff have a responsibility to keep people and wildlife safe.

Wildlife may be present within town as they move through the valley bottom searching for food, habitat and mates. They may also seek protection within town to avoid predators. Whatever the reason, we all must understand and take appropriate actions towards behaving responsibly around wildlife. 

Your role in keeping yourself and wildlife safe

Ideally, we do not want large animals within the town of Banff but they can, and do, travel through town. If you see wildlife:

  • keep a safe distance of at least 30 metres for elk and deer and 100 metres for bears, wolves, cougars and coyotes
  • do not feed, entice or disturb ANY wildlife
  • always carry bear spray, ensure it is accessible and know how to use it
  • dogs must be on a leash and under control at all times.

Report large wildlife in town

If you have an encounter with wildlife, see any large carnivores (bears, cougars, wolves) or spot elk in the town of Banff, report it to Parks Canada by calling 403.762.1470.

Don't let food attract wildlife into town

Wildlife such as elk, coyotes, ground squirrels, grizzly bears and wolves need to find their own natural food sources. Human food kills wildlife. Animals that get used to human food may lose the ability to find the right food for their normal diet, and they can starve. Large predators that come into town for human food can result in conflict with humans or pets, and that can mean relocation or death.

Do your part:

  • dispose of all unwanted food and garbage in the wildlife-proof garbage bins
  • do not litter
  • remove any fruit trees from your property
  • never leave human or pet foods unattended when outdoors
  • clean your barbecue
  • do not leave ANY household material, including refundable bottles or unwanted furniture, outside garbage bins as they may attract wildlife to the smell of human food.

Take the interactive journey for Living with Wildlife in the Bow Valley.

Learn More: 

Elk Grazing in Winter