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Bear Spray

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Dallas, TX
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Bear Spray

Dear all, my wife and I will fly to Calgary on Sep 1st and will spend a whole day Sep 2nd and 3/4 day of Sep 3rd in Waterton before head to Glacier NP. Following are our itinerary.

9/2: Carthew-Alderson hike

9/3: Waterton shoreline cruise to Goat Haunt. Might hike either to Goat Haunt Overlook(2 miles RT) or Kootenai Lakes(5 miles RT).

My questions are,

1. I will get bear spray in Calgary but can I bring spray across border to Glaceir? Is there any certificate needed? All I know is Bass Pro in Calgary(Rocky View) has bear spray bur any other store carry bear spray?

2. Which turning point recommended on the Carthew-Alderson trail if I have to go back to the Cameron Lake parking lot?

3. On 9/3, will I have enough time go to Kootenai Lakes then back to Goat Haunt in the same day? Is hiking to Kootenai Lakes worth the effort? Or Goat Haunt Overlook a better choice?

Thanks, Ryan

Kootenays, British...
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1. Re: Bear Spray

I have never been hassled about taking bear spray across the line - on the other hand, to be fair, I've never made a point of declaring it (didn't occur to me). You are required by law to declare firearms in either direction. You need appropriate certificates to bring firearms across. These rules do not apply to bear spray.

Bear spray is also available at Wholesale Sports and likely a number of other outdoor type shops..

Calgary, Canada
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2. Re: Bear Spray

Pepper spray is a prohibited weapon under Canada's firearms laws. Bear spray is not a prohibited weapon - but it is the same thing, with a different label. I think it would be prudent to declare it proactively, rather than have border officials stumble across it.

Christchurch
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3. Re: Bear Spray

Hi

We have just come back from 4 weeks travelling the US and Canada. We brought our bear spray in East Glacier - we had no problems at the Canadian border with it - we just declared we had it. It was the same when we crossed the border back into the US (different border station). Actually on the way back to the US we had more problems with the tomatoes and onions - we declared them but had to throw them out!

cheers

Kiwi

Calgary, Canada
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for Waterton Lakes National Park, Nelson
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4. Re: Bear Spray

lol kiwi... that is the sad truth!

Declare your bear spray. It also must have the label affixed, and the label must say "bear spray" on it, not "pepper spray". You will not have any problems with it at the border if it does.

You can find bear spray at most hardware stores and outdoor supply stores. Fall is an important time to carry bear spray with you on a hike, especially in Waterton where bears are plentiful and encounters are common. But please, please make sure you know how to use it before you set out into the wilderness. And make sure you are carrying it where it is easily accessible - don't pack it in your backpack. If you do need it, you will never get it out in time.

As for your final question, I think it's up to you to make that choice. I know I could do a 5 mile hike in a day, not sure about "3/4 of a day".

Christchurch
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5. Re: Bear Spray

Hi Camping Girl

Good point re knowing how to use it - we brought ours from the shop at the visitors centre in St Mary. Then went to the visitors centre desk where one of the Rangers was helping others with 'how to use your spray'. He did the same for us so we knew what to do.

We had one question though that we never got around to asking - silly of us really. While we had the spray very handy attached to my husbands belt so he could get it in an instant and he was the lead walker - we never asked about the 'safty clip' on top of the spray - we left it on as I looked at it more like the safety catch on a gun - BUT are you supposed to leave it on and just pop it off when you need the spray???

cheers

Kiwi

Kootenays, British...
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6. Re: Bear Spray

Yes. You leave the safety on or you will accidentally discharge the spray. However, it has an interlocking serrated surface and you certainly should practice removing the safety device as you don't want your first time to be when a grizzly is charging. They don't co-operate with a request to "hold on a minute while I figure this darned thing out!"

Calgary, Canada
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7. Re: Bear Spray

^^^LOL no kidding!^^^

Christchurch
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8. Re: Bear Spray

Hi Redtrail

Yes I can just see the bear holding up half way through a charge and sitting down on the ground patiently (or not so patiently) tapping his/her fingers on the ground and look up saying 'are you ready yet!'.

cheers

Kiwi

Dallas, TX
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9. Re: Bear Spray

Hi Redtrail, CG, Country_Wife, and Kiwi, thank you so much for all your feedback and I will get bear spray either from Calgary or Waterton then declare when cross the border.

I also found a story from Glacier Chat regarding a bear attack in the Hayden Valley(Yellowstone) 7-2-2011. I am happy Kevin is doing well now and what a great lesson that we all can learn from him…

counterassault.com/kevin-boyer-encounter.pdf

Another great article from Sierra Club

sierraclub.org/grizzly/pdfs/pepper_spray.PDF

Wish everyone well...

Ryan

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
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10. Re: Bear Spray

Thanks for sharing those articles, Bluemountaincoffee! Very interesting reading.