“In two studies that looked at the effectiveness of bear spray and firearms in bear attacks. It was concluded that 98% of those who used bear spray walked away from their encounter unharmed, and that none of the people or bears involved died. With firearms, 56% of the users were subsequently injured, and 61% of the bears died.” – Whitney Leonard of NRDC’s Montana office
We are proud to offer UDAP bear spray rentals and sales in 2018
Bear Spray Rental Pricing
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|Q: How do I know that the bear spray has not been used?|
|A: We purchase new cans every year. We also keep strict records of the weight of each can. If it is used once it is taken out of our fleet.|
|Q: How long will it take to rent bear spray?|
|A: Give yourself about 5 minutes if you watch the video below to expedite your bear spray rental. be ready to answer a couple questions from the video.
Give Yourself about 10 Minutes if you want to take care of everything at the time of rental.
|Q: Can I drop the rental off on the east side of Glacier?|
|A: YES! We have a new drop off location in East Glacier at Arend’s Fly Shop. There’s a $5 convenience fee added, due to transportation costs and the long amount of time the can is out of our rental fleet.|
Excellent Resources to Study
Save Yourself 6 Minutes in the rental process by watching this video. Be ready to answer a couple questions.
What to try and avoid
Alaska Bear spray use study: We present a comprehensive look at a sample of bear spray incidents that occurred in Alaska, USA, from 1985 to 2006. We analyzed 83 bear spray incidents involving brown bears (Ursus arctos; 61 cases, 74%), black bears (Ursus americanus; 20 cases, 24%), and polar bears (Ursus maritimus; 2 cases, 2%). Of the 72 cases where persons sprayed bears to defend themselves, 50 (69%) involved brown bears, 20 (28%) black bears, and 2 (3%) polar bears. Red pepper spray stopped bears’ undesirable behavior 92% of the time when used on brown bears, 90% for black bears, and 100% for polar bears. Of all persons carrying sprays, 98% were uninjured by bears in close-range encounters. All bear-inflicted injuries (n = 3) associated with defensive spraying involved brown bears and were relatively minor (i.e., no hospitalization required). In 7% (5 of 71) of bear spray incidents, wind was reported to have interfered with spray accuracy, although it reached the bear in all cases. In 14% (10 of 71) of bear spray incidents, users reported the spray having had negative side effects upon themselves, ranging from minor irritation (11%, 8 of 71) to near incapacitation (3%, 2 of 71). Bear spray represents an effective alternative to lethal force and should be considered as an option for personal safety for those recreating and working in bear country.
Whitney Leonard of NRDC’s Montana office
A few week ago, there was a lively discussion about the effectiveness of bear pepper spray at the International Human/Bear conflict workshop in Missoula. The conclusion of over 300 experts pointed to the effectiveness of bear spray—which they concluded works a lot better than spraying bullets.
University of Calgary bear expert Steve Herrero, author of the authoritative book Bear Attacks, was involved in two studies that looked at the effectiveness of bear spray and firearms in bear attacks. He concluded that 98% of those who used bear spray walked away from their encounter unharmed, and that none of the people or bears involved died. With firearms, 56% of the users were subsequently injured, and 61% of the bears died.
Other studies show that hiking and hunting remain in the top two activities most likely to trigger a bear encounter. While the outreach efforts to the hiking community have boosted use of bear spray, the hunting population has been more resistant, preferring firearms to bear spray.
This is a problem in places like Yellowstone, where hunter related conflicts are rising, as bears turn increasingly to meat in the wake of the loss of their previous staple, whitebark pine. In 2008, the agencies produced a document, Yellowstone Bear Conflicts and Mortality recommendations which included many recommendations about how to resolve hunter related conflicts. The recommendations included requiring hunters to carry (and know how to use) bear spray in grizzly bear habitat. Neither this recommendation nor any other in a long list of new ideas for reducing conflicts has been implemented.
Meanwhile, field biologists and representatives of bear spray manufactures are pushing bear spray as a positive, constructive solution to bear problems. At the conference, David Parker, a representative of Counter Assault bear spray, said “there’s an ingrained belief that guns will solve all of the problems. But think about it. The biggest bullet is about a half inch around. So you are depending on half an inch with an animal that is very hard to kill, or putting out a 30 foot wide cloud of protection.”
Longtime bear biologist Tom Smith, and others co-authored one of the studies about the use of firearms in bear encounters, which was recently published in the Journal of Wildlife Management. He said, “it isn’t really about the kind of gun you carry, it’s about how you carry yourself. Guns are great, but for a gun to be great you have to be very, very good. No one ever practices on a 500 pound animal charging at you through the brush at 10 meters. They practice on paper targets. That’s a big, big difference from being in the moment of stress,” Smith said.
Of his findings on the effectiveness of bear spray, Smith said that “out of 176 incidents, there were only 3 injuries, just scratches”. And no bears died.
On our part, NRDC has been doing what we can to promote the use of bear spray among hikers and hunters. It is a long, slow process, and NRDC has been working in schools to reach the younger generations of future hunters who are likely to be venturing in to grizzly bear country.
As Hamlet said in Shakespeare, “the readiness is all”. That’s true for bear spray, because the hunter (or recreationist) has to be ready to actually use the stuff in the field when adrenalin is high and a bear is close at hand. Much more needs to be done to ensure that hunters and hikers are prepared and ready for a grizzly bear encounter at close range—and bear spray can help.
From the Glacier National Park Website
Glacier National Park is home to both black bears and grizzly bears. While seeing one is often the highlight of a visit to the park, proper visitor behavior in bear country is necessary.
Don’t Surprise Bears!
Bears will usually move out of the way if they hear people approaching, so make noise. Most bells are not enough. Calling out and clapping hands loudly at regular intervals are better ways to make your presence known. Hiking quietly endangers you, the bear, and other hikers. A bear constantly surprised by quiet hikers may become habituated to close human contact and less likely to avoid people. This sets up a dangerous situation for both visitors and bears.
While taking a jog or a run may be good exercise, joggers and runners run the risk of surprising a bear on the trail. Trail running is discouraged as there have been an increasing number of injuries and fatalities due to runners surprising bears at close range.
Don’t Make Assumptions!
You can’t predict when and where bears might be encountered along a trail. People often assume they don’t have to make noise while hiking on a well-used trail. Some of the most frequently used trails in the park are surrounded by excellent bear habitat. People have been charged and injured by bears fleeing from silent hikers who unwittingly surprised them along the trail. Even if other hikers haven’t seen bears along a trail section recently, don’t assume that bears aren’t there.
Don’t assume a bear’s hearing is any better than your own. Some trail conditions make it hard for bears to see, hear, or smell approaching hikers. Be particularly careful by streams, against the wind, or in dense vegetation. A blind corner or a rise in the trail also requires special attention.
Don’t Approach Bears!
Bears spend a lot of time eating, so be extra alert hiking in obvious feeding areas like berry patches, cow parsnip thickets, or fields of glacier lilies. Keep children close by. Hike in groups and avoid hiking early in the morning, late in the day, or after dark.
Never intentionally get close to a bear. Individual bears have their own personal space requirements, which vary depending on their mood. Each will react differently and its behavior can’t be predicted. All bears are dangerous and should be respected equally.
It’s exciting to see bears up close, but we must act responsibly to keep them wild and healthy. If you see a bear along the road, please do not stop. Stopping and watching roadside bears will likely start a “bear jam” as other motorists follow your lead. “Bear jams” are hazardous to both people and bears as visibility is reduced and bears may feel threatened by the congestion. Roadside bears quickly become habituated to vehicles and people, increasing their chances of being hit by motor vehicles. Habituated bears may learn that it is acceptable to frequent campgrounds or picnic areas, where they may gain access to human food. Proper food storage is a must. Store all food and odorous items safely. When a bear obtains human food, a very dangerous situation is created that may lead to human injury and the bear’s death. Please resist the temptation to stop and get close to roadside bears – put bears first at Glacier National Park.
What if I Encounter a Bear?
A commonly asked question is “What do I do if I run into a bear?” There is no easy answer. Like people, bears react differently to each situation. The best thing you can do is to make sure you have read all the suggestions for hiking and camping in bear country and follow them. Avoid encounters by being alert and making noise. Bears may appear tolerant of people and then attack without warning. A bear’s body language can help determine its mood. In general, bears show agitation by swaying their heads, huffing, and clacking their teeth. Lowered head and laid-back ears also indicate aggression. Bears may stand on their hind legs or approach to get a better view, but these actions are not necessarily signs of aggression. The bear may not have identified you as a person and is unable to smell or hear you from a distance. Watch our bear safety video.
The vast majority of bear attacks have occurred because people have surprised a bear. In this type of situation the bear may attack as a defensive maneuver. In rare cases, bears may attack at night or after stalking people. It can be very serious, because it often means the bear is looking for food and preying on you.
If you are attacked at night or if you feel you have been stalked and attacked as prey, try to escape. If you cannot escape or if the bear follows, use bear spray, or shout and try to intimidate the bear with a branch or rock. Do whatever it takes to let the bear know you are not easy prey. If you surprise a bear, here are a few guidelines to follow that may help:
- Talk quietly or not at all; the time to make loud noise is before you encounter a bear. Try to detour around the bear if possible.
- Do not run! Back away slowly, but stop if it seems to agitate the bear.
- Try to assume a nonthreatening posture. Turn sideways, or bend at the knees to appear smaller.
- Use peripheral vision. Bears may interpret direct eye contact as threatening.
- Drop something (not food) to distract the bear. Keep your pack on for protection in case of an attack.
- If a bear attacks and you have pepper spray, use it!
- If the bear makes contact, protect your chest and abdomen by falling to the ground on your stomach, or assuming a fetal position to reduce the severity of an attack. Cover the back of your neck with your hands. Do not move until you are certain the bear has left.
Bear Pepper Spray
This aerosol pepper derivative triggers temporarily incapacitating discomfort in bears. It is a non-toxic and non-lethal means of deterring bears.
There have been cases where bear spray apparently repelled aggressive or attacking bears and accounts where it has not worked as well as expected. Factors influencing effectiveness include distance, wind, rainy weather, temperature extremes, and product shelf life.
If you decide to carry bear spray, use it only in situations where aggressive bear behavior justifies its use. Bear spray is intended to be sprayed into the face of an oncoming bear. It is not intended to act as a repellent.
Do not spray gear or your camp with bear spray.
Under no circumstances should bear spray create a false sense of security or serve as a substitute for standard safety precautions in bear country.
Be aware that you may not be able to cross the U.S./Canada border with some brands of pepper spray. Canadian Customs specifications require that all canisters of pepper spray be labeled for use on bears. They will not allow small canisters designed to deter human attackers.