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Bear spray is proven to be highly successful at stopping aggressive behavior in bears. Bear Management Biologist Kerry Gunther walks through the steps to deploy bear spray.
Take an active role in protecting yourself and the bears people come to Yellowstone to see: carry bear spray and learn how to use it!
Bear spray is a non-lethal deterrent designed to stop aggressive behavior in bears. Its use can reduce human injuries caused by bears and the number of bears killed by people in self-defense. Bear spray uses a fine cloud of Capsicum derivatives to temporarily reduce a bear's ability to breath, see, and smell, giving you time to leave the area.
What's it like to use bear spray? Watch a video in which three Yellowstone employees share their story about a surprise encounter with a grizzly or listen to a podcast about a family whose hike in Yellowstone taught them how important it is to carry, and know how to use, bear spray.
Tips for Use
If a Bear Charges You
Where to Buy
Bear spray is sold at gift shops, outdoor stores, service stations, and bookstores inside the park, as well as in local communities. Always select an EPA-approved product that is specifically designed to stop bears. Personal defense, jogger defense, law enforcement or military defense sprays may not contain the correct ingredients, or have the proper delivery system, to stop a charging bear.
Bear spray is available for rent at Canyon Village in the kiosk located near the Canyon Visitor Education Center, and at Old Faithful in the Yurt south of the Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center. For more information, visit Bear Aware.
Bear spray cannot be taken on airplanes and may cause injury if thrown away. Please check locally within the park for locations where bear spray canisters can be recycled.
Camp in Bear Country
Tips to keep bears and people safe.
Hike in Bear Country
Best practices for safely exploring the park.
Best practices for traveling safely in bear country.
Last updated: September 5, 2023