If there’s one message that Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks officials want to emphasize to hunters during the coming general rife season, it’s be ‘bear aware’.

Information and Education Program manager for FWP Greg Lemon picks up where he left off after a previous story that focused on grizzly bears, and the importance of having, and knowing how to use, bear spray.

“Bear spray isn’t complicated, but I’d hate for folks not to carry it because they’ve never tried it before,” said Lemon. “ A couple of things to know about bear spray is that all bear canisters have a trigger guard on them so that it’s made to operate single handed. You don’t spray up in the air, but if a bear is charging you, you want to create a cloud of bear spray that the bears will have to run through, and when it does, the vast majority of the time those bears will just turn and run away.”

Lemon said there are many instances in which bear spray has stopped an attack in progress, including a recent attack near Yellowstone Park.

“The bear spray has stopped an attack, and the bear has run away,” he said. “The recent bear mailing near Gardiner, that was the case there that the bear spray diverted or stopped what could have been a much more serious attack, and chased the bear off.”

Bear spray is available at sporting goods stores or at online retailers.