MISSOULA – Some Upper Clark Fork hunters will receive a can of free bear spray this fall, thanks to local partnerships aimed at spreading the word on bear safety and reducing conflicts.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is distributing cans and offering on-the-spot training during hunting season.
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 have bear spray with them,” said Kendra McKlosky, FWP Region 2 Access Coordinator. “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 said that this isn’t a new program, but what has changed is its expansion into the Upper Clark Fork area.
“For the past eight years, hunters headed to some areas of the Blackfoot Valley received a free can of spray,” Jonkel said.
“We now feel like many hunters and landowners in the Blackfoot are routinely carrying bear spray and are comfortable with how to use it. We appreciate all the individuals and partnerships that came together to make that happen,” Jonkel said.
The Blackfoot Challenge is continuing bear spray distribution and training in the Blackfoot Valley as needed, while FWP focuses new efforts in the Upper Clark Fork.
Click here for more information on hunting safety in bear country.