Hawks, Deer, Prairie Dogs and Grizzly Bears in the Rockies

On Friday we decided to spend the day in the mountains in the hope of spotting a grizzly bear as we know they are now venturing out and about. We set off early and hoped for the best.

Heading down Highway 40 into Kananaskis Country, we almost immediately came across a herd of white-tailed deer along the side of the road grazing. When I say herd, I mean about six females. Soon after we came across some more, then another couple and so on, We just kept coming across deer, certainly the most we have seen in one day along this particular drive. 

We have seen both mule and white-tailed deer here, but on this occasion, all were white-tailed.

We then found a mound in the ground that was inundated with prairie dogs or gophers, if you prefer. I can’t imagine how many actually live in this place as the mound is covered in holes and we must have seen at least a dozen gophers. They kept popping up and then disapearing again. 

Our next sighting was the most exciting! We saw footprint in the mud along the road. Not just any old footprints, but grizzly bear footprints. 

We were in the process of turning around on the road to follow a side road when I looked out the window and saw the prints. I told Chris to manoeuvre the truck to get another look and low and behold bear prints. At this point we did not know what sort of bear they were, so we took some photos and a size comparison with Chris’ size 13’s and looked them up when we got home. 

By looking at the distance between the claw marks and the pads it turns out they are definitely grizzly prints. The image with Chris’ foot in it is the front right paw of a young grizzly and the other photo is of the rear paw. We are sorry we didn’t get to see the owner of the prints but happy to have seen these. 

Following the road a bit further we saw a bald eagle swooping into a river and catching something. Unfortunately, he was too fast for us to get a photo, but he was a great sight to see.

Another bird of prey I did manage to get a photo of was a red-tailed hawk sitting on top of a tree. Not the best photos as he was some distance away and my camera was at full zoom.

Overall, we managed to see quite a lot of wildlife, shame we never saw a bear, but we know they are about, so maybe next rime. 

We did also see lots of beautiful scenery that Chris managed to capture nicely.