MISSOULA — People hunting in the Upper Clark Fork will receive a free can of 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 is distributing cans and offering on-the-spot training to hunters that would like it. 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 will have bear spray with them,” said FWP’s Kendra McKlosky. “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 notes this is the second year that this program will be available to hunters in the Upper Clark Fork area.
“We hope this effort will help more hunters and residents in the area feel comfortable with how to use bear spray,” Jonkel said. “We regularly have black bears in the Upper Clark Fork and grizzly bears are becoming more common.”
FWP and its partners have distributed bear spray and provided training in the Blackfoot Valley for many years, and are now focusing on more areas around western Montana, according to a news release.
Click here for more information about how to “Be Bear Aware” in Montana’s backcountry.