Grizzly attacks illuminate bear spray effectiveness

CHICO, Mont. - Park County officials are reminding people to use bear spray on bears, and to not use it as a “repellant.”

Grizzly bears reportedly raided dumpsters and the green box site at Chico.

The county has been working with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to secure the site and eliminate conflict between humans and bears.

“During this time Park County employees have been injured because of improper use of bear spray by residents,” the county wrote in a release. “Please be sure that you are using bear spray properly. Bear spray is only effective as an aerosol during a bear attack and will attract bears if it is used as a "repellant".”

If you encounter a nearby bear, remove the safety clip from the bear spray, hold the can in two hands, and extend your arms in readiness.

If a bear is approaching or charging you, use the spray to deter the bear.

Park County gave the following instructions on using bear spray:

  • aim toward the approaching bear; adjust angle for wind direction
  • steady your arms and depress trigger with thumb
  • deploy 2 second bursts when the bear is 30 feet (10 m) away
  • aim slightly below the bear’s face to prevent the spray from going over his head
  • try not to use the entire contents as more than one application may be needed
  • spray again if the bear continues to approach; this time aim directly for the nose, mouth and eyes
  • once the bear has retreated or is busy cleaning itself, leave the area as quickly as possible, but do not run; alternatively, get to an area of safety, such as a car.

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