Alberta conservation officers are urging people to be aware of elk as calving season is in full swing. The warning comes after a woman and her dog had a close call with an elk and calf in Canmore.
According to a post on Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement’s Facebook page, the woman was walking her leashed dog in the Rundle area on Monday when she saw the elk and calf about 20 feet away.
The elk charged the woman, officials said, coming within arm’s reach before following her for a distance.
Conservation officers eventually found the elk and week-old calf in a treed area a short time later. It’s believed the pair will eventually rejoin their herd.
They believe the elk may have seen the walker’s dog as a threat to her calf.
Calving season runs from mid-May to early June in Alberta. During this time, officials said elk are very protective of their young and will act defensively if they feel threatened.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement is warning people in Kananaskis, Canmore and other areas where elk are commonly sighted to be on high alert.
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Signs of agitated elk include staring with flattened ears and raised rump hair, curled lips, grinding teeth, charging and kicking.
People are advised to travel in groups while in elk country, carry pepper spray for protection and stay at least 30 metres away from any elk they see.
If approached by an elk, officials advise against running away or playing dead. Instead, maintain eye contact and back away slowly.
If possible, climb a tree or try to keep a large object between you and the elk. You can also act dominant by raising your arms or a big item.
Officials also recommend against taking pets into areas where elk are calving but said if you must take them out, keep them on a leash at all times.