Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife in the Kootenay Region

No better location for witnessing wildlife!

British Coloumbia's Kootenay Region offers some of the the best wildlife viewing opportunities anywhere in the world. A wide range of habitats includes verdant mountain forests, world-class wetlands and sweeping grasslands.

Deer and elk are common throughout the region where as grizzly and black bear roam the mountains. Make sure to keep your eyes open for mountain goats, bighorn sheep and countless birds

Remember that wildlife are on no schedule, and do not feed.

Click here to find out where and when you might see wildlife in the Kootenays.

Tips for successful viewing!

  • Know your wildlife. Background knowledge of habitat associations and behaviour can greatly increase your chances of seeing wildlife. Nesting areas, feeding spots and migration corridors are good areas to check out. Check local field guides and natural history books for more information
  • What’s in season? Many species are only present or more visible at certain times of year. Inquire locally or read up on wildlife prior to visiting.
  • The right time. Dawn and dusk are peak activity times for most wildlife, other than spawning fi sh. Mid-day is usually quiet.
  • Be quiet. Unfamiliar noises will scare off wildlife—car doors, loud voices, noisy walking. Keep these to a minimum. Quiet clothing will help too—wear clothes that don’t rustle.
  • Patience…staying still for long periods allows wildlife to adapt to your presence. Sit quietly in one spot and watch the magic unfold. Be prepared for a long wait—dress warmly and protect yourself from bugs.
  • Use “The Edge Effect”. Biologists know that the edge between habitat types has a high diversity of species, for example: marsh edges, field edges, fencerows, etc. These are good places to find wildlife
  • Stay downwind. Many mammals rely on a keen sense of smell. If you are downwind, they are much less likely to know you are nearby.
  • Blend in. Wear drab clothing that blends in with your surroundings. It need not be army camouflage, but avoid bright colours (except during hunting season!).
  • There are no guarantees. Remember, wildlife behaviour is highly variable. There are no guarantees that wildlife will be seen. If it’s quiet, look around for other highlights such as wildflowers, butterflies or unique geological features.
  • Don’t push it! Successful viewing includes the safety of you and the wildlife. Check out the sections on safety and ethics in this brochure. Getting too close to wildlife endangers both yourself and the animal. Use binoculars, scopes, or telephoto camera lenses to “get closer”.