Jasper National Park

Warning: The elk rutting season has begun

Issued: August 23, 2023

Ends: November 06, 2023

The elk rutting season has begun and will last until mid-October.

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

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
  • An 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 Jasper 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

Report all elk encounters to Jasper Dispatch at 780-852-6155.

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