Wood Buffalo National Park

Bison Rut is in Full Swing: Reminder to Slow Down!

Issued: August 31, 2021

August 31/2021: Fort Smith, NT: Late summer and early fall is one of the best times to see Wood Bison on Highway 5 in Wood Buffalo National Park. Large bison groups can be observed commonly along the highway sides as they graze on grasses, wallow, or if you are really lucky, battling for the opportunity to mate. During this time, it’s especially important for locals and visitors to slow down and drive with care when travelling through Wood Buffalo National Park.

In recent weeks, Parks Canada staff have responded to an increased number of bison collisions. At relatively high speeds, hitting a bison can be dangerous and even fatal. Most wildlife collisions in Wood Buffalo National Park occur at night when bison are difficult to see. As fall approaches and the nights become longer, driving habits need to be adjusted. Travellers are encouraged to drive during daylight hours or slow their speed while driving in the evenings and at night.

Parks Canada reminds all residents and park visitors to:

  • Take their time when driving on Highway 5. Enjoy the drive and the chance to view wildlife.
  • Be alert for bison and anticipate seeing them on any park roadway. Adhere to posted speed limits, especially after dusk and in poor weather conditions.

When viewing bison from a vehicle, remember to:

  • Stay in your vehicle and never approach bison. Take photos and videos from a safe distance. It is illegal to approach, harass or entice bison for any reason.
  • Pull over onto the shoulder and use your 4-way flashers to indicate what you are doing to other motorists.
  • Make your viewing brief and safe. If weather conditions and visibility are poor, consider not stopping and try again later or another day. For more information about wildlife watching in Wood Buffalo National Park and driving safely with bison in mind, visit: www.pc.gc.ca/woodbuffalo


Melissa Zimmer
Manager, Visitor Experience
Wood Buffalo National Park,
Email: melissa.zimmer@canada.ca

Media Inquiries:

Kevin Gedling,
Communications Officer
Email: kevin.gedling@canada.ca

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