Do people give away their bear spray?

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Do people give away their bear spray?

Postby emmaVT » Wed May 31, 2017 7:01 am

I'm looking at buying bear spray for this trip and it occurred to me that there might be a culture of people passing theirs off to incoming backpackers when they come off the trail. I know personally I don't need bear spray at home in Vermont, so I may well give mine away when we're done and have one less thing to fly home with. Just wanted to check before I spend $40 on a couple canisters. Thanks!
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Re: Do people give away their bear spray?

Postby PeteE » Wed May 31, 2017 7:12 am

Yeah, people give their bear spray away, but not at trail heads---at least not in my experience.
You can give them to the Park Service at the Back Country Office where you got your permit after completing your stay.
I believe they will forward them on to those who can use them.
Ask the BC Office what they recommend when you get your permit.

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PS
No bears in Vermont? 8)
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Re: Do people give away their bear spray?

Postby emmaVT » Wed May 31, 2017 7:33 am

Thanks! I may hedge my bets and buy one and hope to score a second for free then.

We have lots of bears! But just black ones - and every one I've seen has been around my compost at 4:00am, never once on the trail. And even then they're nearly impossible to get into confrontation with. :)
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Re: Do people give away their bear spray?

Postby dpratt » Wed May 31, 2017 7:43 am

Yup, in years past I've always dropped my bear spray off at the BC office or visitor center for another to use. As Pete indicated, check with either place and see if one is available. Another option is renting a can from Glacier Outfitters in West Glacier, although if you'll have it more than a few days you might as well just buy one.

http://www.goglacieroutfitters.com/glacier-outfitters-rentals/bear-spray-rental/
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Re: Do people give away their bear spray?

Postby PeteE » Wed May 31, 2017 7:45 am

emmaVT wrote:Thanks! I may hedge my bets and buy one and hope to score a second for free then.

We have lots of bears! But just black ones - and every one I've seen has been around my compost at 4:00am, never once on the trail. And even then they're nearly impossible to get into confrontation with. :)


I don't want to lead you astray. The BC Office, nor any part of the park service gives bear spray away---to my knowledge anyway.
Liability issues are the reason from what I have been told. If still in original unopened packaging, they can be resold.
You'll have to buy it UNLESS...

You happen to find someone who'll give you their bear spray---good luck with that.
I spend a LOT of time in the park and I'm not shy 8)
Never once has anyone offered me a bear spray.

pete :wink:
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Re: Do people give away their bear spray?

Postby paul » Wed May 31, 2017 9:42 am

Just want to point out that you can't bring bear spray on the plane (even in checked-luggage). I always give mine away, usually the park service or the glacier foundation.
We are in the mountains and the mountains are in us. - John Muir
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Re: Do people give away their bear spray?

Postby here-we-go » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:41 pm

Our first trip to Glacier is in August (2 months!), but we gave our Bear Spray from our Yellowstone/Tetons trip to the staff at the place we were staying. They have tons of college kids that work for the summer, so I presume they'd find someone willing to use it on an off day.
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Re: Do people give away their bear spray?

Postby brindledog » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:56 am

Here is what I have experienced. Whether it correlates to actual rules/laws, I do not know:

In the past, we have given our unused bear spray to rangers. Last summer, when we tried to do so at the Visitor's Center, we were told that they cannot accept bear spray. (I assume there may be concerns about whether it's truly full/unused, etc. So I get it). So, we just walked out in the parking lot and offered it to the first family we saw. They were local, and said they had plenty, but were always in need and could pass along to friends.

That said, I have never been approached or offered bear spray in the years I've come to Glacier, so I would buy or rent some and consider it part of the cost of the trip. I have heard and read in travel guides that some hotels may have spares that travelers leave behind, but I wouldn't count on it.
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Re: Do people give away their bear spray?

Postby llholmes1948 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:31 pm

We had never been given or had bear spray loaned to us until 2014 when the Glacier Highland loaned us some bear spray when we stayed there. We carried it for the first few days of the trip while we were staying at the Glacier Highland. Then we were going to Granite park for two nights and to the east side for several days and I didn't think we should continue to use their bear spray when we weren't staying there so I returned it and we bought our own in Whitefish. At the end of the trip we stayed the last night at the Glacier Highland again and when we left we donated it to them. One good turn deserves another.

The first time we bought bear spray was on our July 2001 trip. We took it back with us in checked luggage on the train to Seattle and on the plane(s) from Seattle to Maine. I don't know if it was against the rules or not but it was before 9/11 and we had no problems. If it was against the rules I hope that the statute of limitations has run.

In 2005 we gave our bear spray to friends in Whitefish and in 2007 and 2008 to friends in Valier.

Prior to our 2001 trip my last trip to Glacier had been in 1977. I didn't worry about bear spray then because as far as I know it hadn't been invented.

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Re: Do people give away their bear spray?

Postby daveparker » Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:01 pm

I would not count on anybody giving you bear spray, the times it does happen is normally somewhere close to an end of a last hike if it does happen, I have heard of it happening a few times over the 12+ years I actually worked in the bear spray industry but it was not common.

You used to be able to put bear spray in packed luggage on Trains, but never have you been able to carry bear spray cans on Airlines, even before 2001, the Airlines have been very restrictive of compressed gas products for a long time now. Small personal protection sprays have been allowed on some Airlines.

It is legal to ship bear spray to other points via common carrier as well as USPS as long as the packaging is properly marked.

I normally don't recommend renting bear spray, and if you do make sure and check with the companies quality control standards before your trust it, I recommend that any company that is renting products that are used to save your life, to make sure they weigh it when they received it from the company they purchase it from, assign the can an identification number and keep a log on each can rented out. Assign serial number to can, weigh it and note weight in a log, when it is rented out, weigh it, note weight, when it is returned, weigh it and note weight, if any dents or dings are noticed in a can going out or coming in, don't accept it, request another can. Make sure the company doing the rentals has inert training canisters and shows you how to use the product, make sure they explain the proper use of the product(Not a repellant) The company should be willing to show you the log on the can that they issue you as a rental and demand to see it.

Bear spray is not a joke and any company that rents it, needs to make sure to have ALL of the proper procedures in place to ensure the safety of the visitor renting it and that includes education. If they don't offer to educate you on proper use, go someplace else. Also make sure you know what type of protections the company has in place in case of a defective can, IE: Liability insurance.

It is very important to understand and know all the pitfalls that can be involved when you are renting a life saving product and there are many companies these days that don't take this seriously.

I spent over 12 years in the bear spray(ADS) industry, both teaching, promoting and training Government agency personal on proper use, storage, and general education including school age children, so I don't take it as a trivial issue.

I am also a two time bear encounter survivor that has used the product successfully once on a mad mother grizzly and once on a mad mother black bear, so I can assure you it does work.

The likely chance you will have a life threatening encounter is small, but however small it is, make sure you are properly prepared.

Information and education that you understand is the most important tool you have in avoiding or surviving bear encounters.
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Re: Do people give away their bear spray?

Postby brindledog » Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:30 am

Amen, Dave. You are right: The bottom line is that it can save your life and the lives of those hiking with you...Can't put a price on that! (But if you could, it would be around $50 in this particular case...)
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Re: Do people give away their bear spray?

Postby Janer » Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:09 pm

I have helped coordinate bear spray pass alongs through my daughters coffee shop near West Glacier, Glacier Coffee House. It is great to recycle it as so many folks cannot take on the airplane.
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