Bear Aware FAQs

Bear Spray Rental FAQ Frequently Asked Questions Yellowstone Grand Teton National Park Jackson Hole

Should Everyone in Our Group Carry one?

Short answer: YES! Our recommendation is the same as the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) as well as Park Rangers in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, and many others: Every adult should carry bear spray while in bear habitat! Whether you’re walking 1/10th of a mile to the nearest sight or taking on a huge backcountry excursion, every adult in your group should carry bear spray.

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Will you teach me how to use it?

We ABSOLUTELY will! Each of our pick-up locations provides you with hands-on training with an inert training can! It’s not enough just to CARRY  bear spray, you will want to know how to use it as well! Should you find yourself in a situation where you need to spray a bear, we want you to feel confident that you’ll know how to use it.

Why is hands-on training so important? 

If you find yourself in a negative bear encounter, the last thing you need to be doing is learning how to use bear spray! Our quick yet thorough hands-on training lets you feel what it’s like to pull the safety off an empty can of bear spray, build muscle memory, and practice quick access… Practice as much as you need and ask questions. This hands-on practice goes hand in hand with our safety video so you can be fully educated in the use of bear spray!

CLICK HERE to see the safety video!

How does a bear spray rental work?

We’ve made renting bear spray as easy and affordable as possible. We have convenient pickup locations throughout the region with friendly experts who will guide you and your group through a hands-on demonstration of its proper use with empty, inert trainings cans of bear spray, as well as give tips for safely exploring in bear country, and answer any questions you have about our rental network, bear spray, etc!

Our pickup locations are convenient no matter where you’ll be exploring:

  • The Town of Jackson, WY (Teton Backcountry Rentals)
  • Jackson Hole Airport (Baggage Claim #3)
  • Teton Village (Four Season Concierge Desk)
  • Old Faithful (Yurt #1 next to the Tribal Heritage Center)
  • Canyon Village (Next to the Visitors Center)
  • West Yellowstone, MT (Freeheel & Wheel)
  • Big Sky, MT (Hey Bear)
  • (COMING SOON) Bozeman, MT

When you rent bear spray from us, you’ll have the education, knowledge, and confidence you need to enjoy your trip in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. You’ll only pay the rental fee, a maximum of $28, unless you spray or lose your rental bear spray, in which case you’ll only be charged the difference of the replacement ($50) and the rental fee for that bear spray can!

Our rental pricing structure starts at only $16 for 2 days and caps out at $28 for 5+ days! No matter which Bear Aware location you pick up from, you’ll pay the same price! Here’s the breakdown:

2 day minimum: $16

3 days: $20

4 days: $24

5+ Days: $28

 

Can I return it somewhere else? 

Absolutely! Our first priority is helping people stay safe in bear country, a close second is making renting and returning bear spray convenient. We have 24/7 drop off locations throughout the region:

  • The Town of Jackson, WY
  • The Jackson Hole Airport
  • The Old Faith Yurt
  • The Canyon Village Kiosk
  • West Yellowstone, MT (Freeheel and Wheel)
  • Big Sky, MT (Hey Bear)
  • Bozeman, MT (Outside of Fink’s Deli)

In addition to those locations, we also have many DROP-OFF ONLY  locations within the business hours of 9am-5pm:

  • Four Seasons Concierge deskBear Aware Locations 2024 Yellowstone National Park Grand Tetons Village
  • Yellowstone Sinclair Gas Stations:

              – Grant Village

               – Fishing Bridge

                – Tower/Roosevelt

                  – Mammoth Hot Springs

  • Madison Campground
  • Cooke City Visitor Center

 

Why Rent Bear Spray Instead of Buy It?

First and foremost, it’s much cheaper to rent! Bear spray is expensive. It’s about $50-$60 (or more) per can to buy. Bear spray is prohibited on commercial flights (yes, even in checked bags) and will be confiscated by TSA. Each year hundreds of cans of bear spray end up in landfills, it’s a hazardous material and can be harmful. Unless you’re continuing on beyond our rental network, buying bear spray just for your trip to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem can be wasteful, not to mention potentially inconvenient. 

Our rental price structure caps out at $28 per can for a 5+ day rental. When you rent, you’re saving nearly half the money of buying which in turn makes it easier to follow the guidance of one can per adult. Plus, you don’t have to stress about how you’re going to get rid of it. We have many convenient drop off locations throughout the region! 

 

I carry a gun, why do I need bear spray?

The answer to this question is not as obvious as it may seem. In fact, it’s probably the opposite of what you may think! 

Firearms:

First and foremost, studies and statistics prove that bear spray is exponentially more effective than firearms. According to U.S Fish and Wildlife, in bear attacks where firearms were used as a defense, 50% resulted in serious injury. In that study, even skilled and seasoned hunters and U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers were unable to avoid injury. It’s not a question of marksmanship, calm nerves, or even shot placement, the use of a firearm is actually more likely to ESCALATE an attack!

 

That’s just one part of the equation: while, yes, if you are legally allowed to possess a firearm you can carry a firearm in both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. HOWEVER, the discharge of a firearm is illegal unless during legal hunting seasons and by permitted individuals. In addition, firearms are prohibited as a strategy for protection against wildlife. Grizzly bears are federally protected in the Lower 48 of the United States as a threatened species. If you shoot a Grizzly, except in self defense and defense of others during an imminent attack, you’ll wish you had bear spray instead. If you’re relying solely on a firearm and have to shoot a grizzly, be prepared for the possibility of 6 months in federal prison and a $100,000 fine, not to mention penalties for violating state laws.

 

Bear Spray:

If you want to explore safely in bear country, the answer is bear spray! It’s essentially an unofficial requirement to carry it in bear country. Unlike firearms, bear spray is not only extremely effective but it’s legal in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks and easy to use by anyone, no real aiming is required either.

 

Grizzly bears have a sense of smell that is 2,100 times stronger than a human, 7 times stronger than a bloodhound, and they can smell up to 20 miles away! Their noses are an essential asset to their survival. In the event of an attack, the bear is breathing in and out very heavily. When bear spray is deployed, it breathes it in deep and you’ll disable that asset. In almost every case, the bear will stop what it’s doing so it can restore its sense of smell. This disabling effect can last up to 45 mins, giving you time to leave the area safely.

 

Studies conducted by the University of Calgary show that bear spray has a 94% success rate in deterring aggressive grizzly bears, shorten the duration of an attack, and resulted in most subjects escaping injury. Bear spray really does save lives, both human and bear! 

 

Whats more, when you rent from Bear Aware, we’ll train you on the proper use of bear spray with a hands-on demo of an empty can, let you practice as much as you want, and answer any question you have!

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