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Bear Activity and Bear Spray

Philadelphia, PA
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178 posts
28 reviews
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Bear Activity and Bear Spray

So, my wife and I, are going to GNP for the first time in early Sept. I have been reading up on hiking in GNP and the bears are making me nervous.

I am definitely getting bear spray, but is there a recommendation on what type and size? Also, how common are these bear encounters? I read some horror stories on the "bear spray" websites and it's making me very nervous.

Please advice

AJ

Spokane, Washington
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park, Spokane
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2,966 posts
101 reviews
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1. Re: Bear Activity and Bear Spray

Being alert is good but be realistic also. Odds are greater to be stung by a bee than have an encounter. That said, bear spray is just the right thing to do, especially since you'll be there after most people leave and when the bears go into hyper eating/foraging. The bear spray folks are in business to sell product, thus the stories and hype. The size is pretty standard as you will see in the stores and prices generally around $44. You will only find a couple of different manufactures in the park area. Counter Assault seems to be the most common.

CT
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93 posts
210 reviews
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2. Re: Bear Activity and Bear Spray

We are visiting at the end of August, and plan to buy bear spray. As we are also visiting Waterton, I checked whether we could bring the bear spray across the border. Apparently, if the spray is marked USEPA, it is acceptable to import to Canada.

cleveland, ohio
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96 posts
3 reviews
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3. Re: Bear Activity and Bear Spray

Great advice about what spray can cross the border - I hadn't thought about that. I am shocked at the cost mentioned! As we plan to only do short hikes and won't have much use for it in Ohio, I hope they have smaller product sizes. Would this be something we could buy at REI store in Minneapolis during our travels, or will we need to look for it in the Whitefish/Columbia Falls area before we enter the park?

CT
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93 posts
210 reviews
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4. Re: Bear Activity and Bear Spray

The TSA website states:

Mace/Pepper Spray - One 118 ml or 4 Fl. oz. container of mace or pepper spray is permitted in checked baggage provided it is equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge. For more information visit www.faa.gov., click on Passengers, then Preparing to Fly.

However, the FAA website says that pepper spray is prohibited in checked luggage. We're just going to buy it and then leave it at the hotel for someone else to have and hopefully not need to use.

Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
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7,622 posts
446 reviews
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5. Re: Bear Activity and Bear Spray

My wife and I are visiting Glacier in August and will probably do the same thing relative to bear spray; buy it, hope not to use it and leave it in MT when we leave. I wonder, is there any way to start "spray sharing" program; I buy a can and if I do not use it, then pass it on to someone who is arriving about the time I leave.

indiana
Destination Expert
for Glacier National Park
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2,946 posts
93 reviews
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6. Re: Bear Activity and Bear Spray

Ask at the store where you buy it if they have any suggestions. We now ship ours, but before we did, the store owner told us we could bring it back and they take donations of bear spray and give to Boy Scout troops that come to visit the park. While bear attacks are infrequent there was an article in this weeks local paper about a grizzly attack on a man jogging in the Lake McDonald area. He stated he usually has bear spray but had not taken it on his morning jog. He also said the bears (two grizzlies) seemed to have been frightened by something before they came by him. Luckily had only had bites on his lower leg and was able to get to the GTTSR to seek help from a passerby. It just shows that while attacks are unlikely, you should always be prepared.

Montana
1 post
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7. Re: Bear Activity and Bear Spray

If you're on the west side of the Park, Montana Raft and Glacier Guides' office still has the cheapest bear spray around - $27 for Counter Assault or $30 with a holster for your pack belt. The holster is handy because bear spray doesn't do much good if you bury it in your pack.

cleveland, ohio
Level Contributor
96 posts
3 reviews
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8. Re: Bear Activity and Bear Spray

One of the previous comments about pepper spray confused me about the difference between bear spray & pepper spray that women carry for safety. I found this interested article: www.outdooreyes.com/bearpepperspray.php3

Hope it is helpful to others who also had questions.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
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2,673 posts
83 reviews
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9. Re: Bear Activity and Bear Spray

The story about the runner who was attacked is a good example of what not to do when you are in the woods. Most attacks are the result of the bear being startled. Unfortunately joggers and cyclists are at greater risk of having this happen, because they will come upon a bear more suddenly than someone who is walking and also because they are alone.

Make sure, when you are hiking, that you hike in groups whenever possible and make plenty of noise - talking, singing, clapping - as you go. This will alert a bear well in advance that you are in the area and chances are better that they will move off before you even see them. In some areas of the Canadian Rockies where grizzlies are particularly dense, the parks require that hikers travel in groups of at least 4. This is quite effective in preventing a bear encounter as there truly is safety in numbers.

Bear spray should be a last resort only. The most important thing to do is try and prevent an encounter in the first place. And make sure you know how to use the bear spray before you head out on your hike.

10. Re: Bear Activity and Bear Spray

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