A herd of elk feed near Jasper.
The west slope of Banff’s Tunnel Mountain will be closed until June 30 to allow for elk calving in the area. The closure notice for south of the Tunnel Mountain summit trail came a week after Parks Canada announced the start of calving season on May 16.All official trails in the area will remain open as will climbing access to the Black Band and Gonda Roof as long as climbers comply with the suggested route for descent.In late spring, pregnant female elk split from the herd and go off in search of secluded woodlands to give birth to their calves. The mother will hide the calf in high grass and for about three weeks will come check on it multiple times a day, patrolling the area for predators. During this time the cows are very protective and Parks Canada warns they can be aggressive if they come into contact with humans.To avoid confronting an elk and her calf, stick to designated trails, keep children within arms reach and always keep dogs on leashes, Parks Canada advises. Travelling in groups and bringing pepper spray or a walking stick are also good preventative measures.If an elk encounter occurs, maintain eye contact and move away slowly. Seek protection behind a tree or a vehicle and act dominant by flapping a jacket or your arms to appear bigger.If possible and necessary, deploy pepper or bear spray and if knocked down or kicked get up and move away — do not play dead.Any incidents can be reported to the Banff Resource Conservation office at firstname.lastname@example.org