Elk Rut/Calving Season

Elk Rutting Season

Elk rutting season is from late August until mid-October. This is the elk breeding season, and the male elk, or bull elk, can become aggressive during this time.

Follow these safety tips from Parks Canada and report any elk sightings or encounters Banff Dispatch at 403.762.1470.

What you need to know:

  • Keep at least 30 metres away from all elk and never get between a male and the females.
  • Bull elk become extremely aggressive protecting their harems during the mating season.
  • Do not park your vehicle between a male and the females; elk may charge at your vehicle, which may result in damage.
Elk Grazing in Winter

Tips on how to avoid and handle elk encounters: 

  • Travel in a group.
  • Watch for elk at all times and detour around them.
  • If possible walk around elk on the high side of a slope or up-hill.
  • Stay back at least 30 metres.
  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times. unleashed 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 403.762.1470.
  • 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.
  • More information about elk from Parks Canada.

Please note: During the annual fall rut, swings are removed from Town playgrounds to reduce the danger of elk becoming entangled.

Elk Calving Season

The elk calving season is from mid-May to early July. During that time, female elk are very defensive of their young and will strike if they feel threatened. If you come across a newborn elk, the mother is likely close by. Do not approach the calf. Report its location to Banff Dispatch at 403.762.1470.