Bear Spray

Question:

I drew an elk tag in eastern Idaho, can the IDF&G recommend a bear spray?

Answer:

Black bears are found all over eastern Idaho and now grizzlies are in many areas too, so planning ahead to carry bear spray is a wise choice!  Unfortunately, IDFG cannot make product recommendations, but we can tell you what to look for when purchasing a product.   Bear spray can be obtained at most outdoors stores, online, or even large retail stores.

The number one thing to be sure and get is bear spray, not just pepper spray.  Bear spray is designed for use against bears, pepper spray for humans.  While the active ingredient of Capsaicin is the same, the carrier agent and delivery nozzle are different.  Some people think you need a high percentage of Capsaicin, but research has shown that 2% is effective and what is found in most bear sprays.

Bear spray is not inexpensive, but buy the largest canister you can afford.  The larger the can, the more spray available.  All canisters come with expiration dates on them.  Should you want to use a canister beyond that date is up to you.  Do not test fire the canisters because you have a limited amount of spray.  Training canisters can be purchased online if you want to practice.

Along with the spray, be sure to have a way to carry it so it is readily accessible, either a holster or a way to hold it so that it can be deployed in a moment.  Never carry it packed away! Always keep the safety on until you are ready to use it, but be sure you are comfortable with operating it.

A number of videos can be found online that show the proper way to use bear spray.  You can also take our bear ID test on the IDFG website.

To learn more about safety in bear country you might want to check out the following links:

 

http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/education/bearIdentification/

www.igbconline.org

http://www.centerforwildlifeinformation.org/BeBearAware/bebearaware.html