Wildlife viewing and photography comes with responsibilities; the most important is respect to all wildlife.
These are the minimum distances from wildlife that are applicable in most cases. Stay back at least
- 100 metres from bears
- 50 metres from all other large species
- 200 metres from coyote, fox or wolf dens
However, it is up to each person observing wildlife to watch for defensive warning signals. If you see the following defensive warning signals from wildlife, pull back further or leave the area. If you cause an animal to move, you are too close.
- Bears make a “woofing” noise, growl and pop their jaws or swat the ground.
- Bull elk and moose put their heads down and paw at the ground.
- Cow elk flatten their ears, stare directly at you and raise their rump hair.
- Even agitated deer can be dangerous and cause injuries to people.
Other Wildlife Viewing & Photography Guidelines
- Never approach the den site of any species.
- Do not surround, crowd or follow an animal.
- Do not stalk or pursue wildlife.
- Never follow an animal into the bush.
- Do not try to entice wildlife by feeding or by simulating animal calls (e.g. elk bugling).
- Choose the best time of day. Early morning and late afternoon/evening are the best times for viewing many species of birds and mammals.
- Use viewing guides and equipment. Make use of binoculars and spotting scopes to get a close-up look. Bring field identification guides to help you identify what you see.
- If you don’t have a telephoto lens for your camera (at least 300-400 mm), show the animal in its natural surroundings.
- The best way to safely photograph wildlife is from a vehicle or observation area.
- Never put people (especially children) at risk by posing them with wildlife.
Traffic & Parking
- If you see a wildlife grazing at roadside, please don’t stop. Drive by slowly instead.
- If you must stop to view roadside wildlife
- Avoid stopping along roadways during periods of high traffic volume.
- Do not stop at or near hill crests, corners, or sharp curves and intersections.
- Pull vehicles well onto the shoulder and park safely off the driving lanes. Use roadside pull-offs and parking areas to help avoid traffic congestion around wildlife.
- Use your hazard lights.
- Remain in your vehicle.
- Stay at least 100 metres away even if you're in a vehicle. Wildlife need their space.
- If you get out of your vehicle, do not trample vegetated areas.
These guidelines will cause the least impact on wildlife, ensuring they remain safe and wild. Traffic congestion around wildlife sometimes results in motor vehicle accidents. Drive carefully and be observant of other drivers.