Partnerships Help Distribute Bear Spray in Montana’s Upper Clark Fork

Alaskan Brown Bear
Partnerships Help Distribute Bear Spray in Upper Clark Fork

Montana – -(AmmoLand.com)- Some Upper Clark Fork hunters will receive a can of free bear spray this fall, thanks to local partnerships aimed at spreading the word on bear safety and reducing conflicts.

During hunting season, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is distributing cans and offering on-the-spot training. The bear spray is made possible by donations from Defenders of Wildlife, along with discounted prices from the supplier, Counter Assault.

“All of our Block Management Area employees in the Upper Clark Fork have bear spray with them,” said Kendra McKlosky, FWP Region 2 Access Coordinator. “We are offering cans to hunters that we meet that don’t have bear spray and are interested in learning how to use it.”

FWP Bear Management Specialist, James Jonkel, said that this isn’t a new program, but what has changed is its expansion into the Upper Clark Fork area.

“For the past eight years, hunters headed to some areas of the Blackfoot Valley received a free can of spray,” Jonkel said. “We now feel like many hunters and landowners in the Blackfoot are routinely carrying bear spray and are comfortable with how to use it. We appreciate all the individuals and partnerships that came together to make that happen.”

The Blackfoot Challenge is continuing bear spray distribution and training in the Blackfoot Valley as needed, while FWP focuses new efforts in the Upper Clark Fork.

For more information on hunting safety in bear country, visit fwp.mt.gov and click on “Living with Wildlife” and “Be Bear Aware.”

  • 7 thoughts on “Partnerships Help Distribute Bear Spray in Montana’s Upper Clark Fork

    1. J P M Don’t you know that is a requirement to go into the woods, go with BEAR SPRAY, UNARMED, and HAVE A COPY OF YOUR LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT WITH YOU, that way the BEAR won’t be harmed!!!!!!!!!! And NATURE WILL BE SAVED FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Why would a hunter with a rifle even consider bear spray given that a 2008 study on the Efficacy of Bear Deterrent Spray in Alaska showed that 3 of 9 non-hunters who sprayed charging grizzlies were injured. The injury rate would have been higher but the study did not include data on incidents when people who were carrying bear spray did not have time to use it during a classic surprise encounter at close range with a grizzly.

    3. Since it is from “Defenders of Wildlife”, the cans probably are loaded with a solution so weak the bears will be able to eat the hunters, just like all of these eco-freaks want. By the time they drop the can and start to aim, it could be too late.

      Hint for Hunters: Be Safe – Shoot and kill the bear first. THEN spray the contents of the can on the bear. The game wardens won’t be able to prove you didn’t spray first.

    4. When a hunter carrying a rifle or shotgun has a classic surprise encounter with a grizzly at close range, bear spray is worthless. If hunter safety is the primary issue, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks must teach hunters how to use their firearm quickly and effectively. “If I’m actually out hunting and I have a gun in my hands, and suddenly a bear comes after me, do you think I’m going to lay the gun down and pick up bear spray? Are you out of your mind?” (BYU professor Tom Smith, Sports Afield, Sept/Oct 2012. Bears, guns, and safety: fascinating findings from a new study on bear attacks) Bear spray has “minimal usefulness in trail encounters with bears at close range due to the difficulty of effective use.” (April 15, 1991 Report to the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee regarding Recommended Actions to Reduce Grizzly/Hunter Conflicts prepared by: Hunter/Grizzly Bear Interactions Task Team)

    5. Hopefully they’ll also distribute a quick and easy last will and testament form along with the spray.

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