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November 7, 2012 in Outdoors
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How to use bear spray

Preaching bear awareness and the benefits of carrying bear spray is a year-round job for Chuck Bartlebaugh, regardless of whether bears are hibernating or prowling where hunters and hikers roam. From his Missoula-based Center for Wildlife Information (, Bartlebaugh works with state and federal agencies to present programs and educate the public on how to safely coexist with black bears and grizzlies. In this video, he focuses on the use of bear spray. The specially formulated aerosol cans of capsaicin (pepper) likely would have deterred most of the bear attacks that injured or killed hikers and hunters in the Northwest this year. Here are a few key tips to remember about being in bear country with bear spray: 1. Buy the big can (10 ounces). 2. Carry it in a holster ready for use. 3. To thwart bear aggression, spray in front and below the bear’s head to create a foggy irritant barrier. 4. Spray no longer than needed to stop the bear, then back away slowly, talking forcefully to the bear. You may need to spray again. 5. Don’t run.

Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review