Last week the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks department published this list of bear spray purchasing tips offered by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee:
* To purchase the correct product, ask the sales person specifically for Bear Spray.
* All bear sprays MUST be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
* Purchase products that clearly state "for deterring attacks by bears." The EPA registration number is displayed on the front label.
* The active ingredient is clearly shown on the label and is 1 percent to 2 percent capsaicin and related capsaicinoids. The active ingredient is what affects the bears eyes, nose, mouth, throat and lungs.
* Personal defense, law enforcement or military sprays, (often referred to as “pepper spray”) may not be formulated, contain the correct ingredients or have the proper delivery system, to divert a charging or attacking bear.
* Suggested spray duration of 6 seconds to compensate for multiple bears, wind, bears that may zigzag, circle, or charge repeatedly, and for the hike out.
Suggested spray distance of within 25 feet to reach the bear at a distance sufficient for the bear to react to effects of the active ingredients in bear spray in time to divert its charge and retreat.
* Each person working or recreating in bear habitat should carry a can of bear spray in a quickly accessible fashion. Bear spray should also be readily available in the sleeping, cooking and toilet areas of a camp.
* Be sure the expiration date on each can of bear spray is current.
The press release also provided a link to the EPA’s website which lists bear spray manufacturers that offer acceptable registered bear deterrent products in the United States. Among the four vendors listed was Counter Assault out of Kalispell, Montana. Counter Assault is available on Amazon if you're planning a visit to Glacier National Park, or any other area with grizzly bears.
For more information on hiking in bear country, including how to avoid a surprise encounter, please click here.
Hiking in Glacier.com