CANMORE, Alta – Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers are trying to trap a grizzly bear that has made its rounds on the north side of town, including charging a person who hid behind a vehicle to escape the encounter on Wednesday morning.
Mark Hoskin, a district fish and wildlife officer, said officers received a call earlier this morning from an individual who had been chased by the grizzly bear near Cougar Creek.
“He had to hide behind a vehicle in order to avoid any interactions with the bear,” said Hoskin.
“RCMP were able to get there as we responded. It was on the east side of Benchlands Trail and we were able to push it across the road and it went into a patch behind the bike pump park.”
The young grizzly then keyed in on a deer carcass that was a few metres north of the bike park.
“There was only hair left of that carcass,” Hoskin said.
Later in the afternoon, the grizzly bear was hanging out in the area of Our Ladies of the Rockies Catholic Church and in the area near the Palliser housing developments.
Fish and wildlife officials hazed the bear away from developments and roads.
“Our plan right now is to monitor it and lure it up towards the trap,” said Hoskin.
No decision had been made at this time on the bear’s fate if it is captured, including whether it will be released locally or relocated to a remote area away from the Bow Valley.
“We don’t usually make that decision until after the bear has been assessed for health,” said Hoskin.
This grizzly is believed to be the same bruin that has been seen by numerous people on the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway throughout Wednesday, including children who came across the bear on their way to school this morning.
Hoskin said it is believed to be a young grizzly bear.
“It’s out looking for some new territory,” he said.
“We do believe there are five to six grizzlies coming into town … we’ve had a lot of calls of them chasing the elk calves as well as feeding on dandelions.”
The Town of Canmore was quick to alert residents earlier Wednesday morning to be bear aware.
A social media post indicated municipal staff encountered a grizzly bear in the Grotto neighbourhood at 7:45 a.m.. The sighting was reported to Kananaskis Emergency Services.
By 9:15 a.m., the bear had headed to Benchlands and Palliser area, backing up traffic on Benchlands Trail as fish and wildlife officers tried to push it across the road.
Meanwhile, a warning is in place for the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park due to grizzly bear activity and multiple sightings in the area.
According to Alberta Parks, a grizzly bear bluff charged park users near the Bill Warren training centre on June 11 and at the mine meadow on June 12.
Residents and visitors are reminded to make plenty of noise and travel in groups, be aware of surroundings and look and listen for signs of bears, keep dogs on leash and carry easily-accessible bear spray – and know how to use it.
Hoskin said it is a good idea to carry two cans of bear spray.
“One thing we caution people is that bear spray is your last line of defence,” he said.
“If a bear doesn’t stop forward momentum, you may have to step aside and spray the bear again so it’s really important to have two cans of bear spray.”
Please report all bear sightings immediately to 403-591-7755.