For most people living in Montana, especially in areas surrounding Yellowstone, they know they have to be bear aware. However, there are many people who come from out of state to the gorgeous offerings of Montana and Yellowstone National Park. So much undeveloped and natural land, but this also brings the dangers of the wild. Last year 2 hikers were killed in Yellowstone, one after coming upon a sow and her cubs twice, and the other is still uncertain. He did know he was in bear territory though, as rangers had warned him the day before he was killed.
Tourists coming into the area may not have bear spray on them. Non-profit Keystone Conservation is a people-predator coexistence group that would like to offer bear spray cans for rent. It is in the works right now, and hope to offer this service by May. Their efforts are to spread bear awareness and knowledge to reduce human and bear deaths or injuries. They would like to make it affordable and readily available as it may be the best deterrent in bear run-ins.
A company out of Jackson, Wyoming is already renting cans of bear spray at various rates. Starting at $10 per day to $35 for a week. Tim Bennett, the Northern Rockies Bear Program Director for the group would like to offer the can rental for about $5/day. Letting the renter pick it up and learn how to use it, and then return it when they are done. The can would be weighed to see if there was use, and then be re-rented if possible.
Yellowstone Park Rangers have notified people that grizzlies are starting to come out of hibernation now. All park users have been told to stay in groups, make noise, and carry bear spray. With more affordable ways to get bear spray in park users hands, they may be more prepared mentally, and physically with any encounter that may come with a grizzly. From The Bozeman Daily Chronicle .