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Christine Wilcox’s Blog

Grizzly Bear Agencies Encourage Hunters to Carry Bear Spray

Christine Wilcox

Posted December 6, 2013 in Saving Wildlife and WIld Places

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Hunter education took a big step in the right direction for grizzly bears this year when the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) released two bear spray videos earlier this fall – a demonstration of the proper use of bear spray and a Public Service Announcement.  Both videos point out that bear spray stopped grizzly bears 92% of the time and prevented injury 98% of the time, making bear spray the best protection for hunters and for bears. 

Bears in Teton 3 Feb 2013.jpg

As grizzly bear populations in the United States continue to recover and bears expand into more areas, it becomes increasingly important to minimize, reduce, and prevent conflicts between grizzly bears and people.  Practical steps like carrying bear spray, traveling in groups, and securing food and garbage make a big difference. 

These bear spray videos go a long way to help people recreate safely in grizzly country and to encourage coexistence with bears.  It’s great to see the IGBC creating and promoting such good educational material.

(Photo: Christine Wilcox)

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Comments

Dave SmithDec 9 2013 01:22 PM

The NRDC does not accept Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) propaganda about delisting Yellowstone grizzlies at face value, and the NRDC should not take IGBC propaganda about bear spray for hunters at face value, either. BYU professor Tom Smith has done studies on bear spray and firearms in Alaska. He told Sports Afield, "If I'm actually out hunting and I have a gun in my hands and suddenly a bear comes at me--do you think I'm going to lay the gun down and pick up bear spray. Are you out of your mind?" The IGBC bear spray video shows well known hunter Craig Boddington with his rifle on a sling over one shoulder so he has two hands free for bear spray. Since 1983, state and federal agencies in Alaska have trained employees required to carry a 12 gauge shotgun for bear protection that they should never carry a firearm slung over their shoulder in bear country because it takes too long to bring it into action. The IGBC is giving hunters pursuing big-game in grizzly country very, very dangerous advice.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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