Posts Tagged ‘Waterton National Park’

May 2010 – My first Black Bear viewed safely from the car

You would think that buying bear spray should be pretty straight forward;

1.  Walk into a shop

2.  Pick it up off the shelf

3.  Pay for it

4.  Take it home

No.  Not so simply neddy!

Because I am heading back into the Canadian wilderness, and yes Jak, camping this time in ‘Bear’ country, I thought that it might be an idea for us to have some Bear spray with us, ‘just in case’.  Plus it seems that a number of hiking trails are recommending or requiring you to have Bear spray on you (what happened to simply wearing bells?).

So i decided last night that I should go buy some.  Yes, a naive Aussie out buying Bear spray.

The warning in the USA Rough Guide book…. apparently there is no guarantee of our safety!!

I admit, I thought that it would be a pretty simple task.  Go to Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), buy the spray, come home.  No, it’s a little bit more in depth than that.

Generally I like to wander a store and find things for myself, but after about 3 rounds of MEC, I was beginning to think that they had all sold out.  Finally I found the bells and the Bear spray holsters.  Yey… that means that Bear spray has to be around here somewhere, right?  After searching the racks another 5 minutes I noticed a little sign saying “Looking for Bear spray? Please go to accessories counter”.  Ok, so I’d have to ask after all.

When I asked the sales guy for small canister of Bear spray, he replied ‘I’ll need your membership card and some ID’.

WHAT THE… I was just buying Bear spray wasn’t I?

So ok, I hand over Fi’s MEC membership card and my Australian Drivers License. Fill out the information sheet and in return he explains to me how to release the safety latch, how the safety latch glows in the dark and which direction to point the can if I need to use it.  He also reminds me that it should be easily accessible and not ‘tucked’ into my backpack and that it has a range of about 9 meters.  9 meters.. that is it!! if a bear comes that close I think I’ll be lucky to remember to pull the can out without pooping myself first!

He then proceeded to write the canister number on the information sheet and tells me ‘this canister is now registered in your name’.

Hmm. Ok. so in other words, if for some reason the can is misused (it’s similar to capsicum spray after all) I am liable.. OR did he mean.. if I’m attacked and killed by the bear, they will be able to use the canister number to identify me?  Not feeling really comfortable about owning Bear spray anymore!!

Lets just say that I’m hoping that I don’t come within 9 meters of a bear and definitely don’t have to worry about having to remember how to use the the spray in an emergency.. but most of all I’m hoping that Mum doesn’t read this post until I am safe and sound in Calgary again!!!

My can of Bear Spray…. just like fly spray right??

Here’s really hoping that this can stay’s FULL and I have to hand it into Parks Canada when I’m done!

Certainly hoping that I don’t get as close enough to see teeth like those!!

July 2011 – My second, third, fourth and fifth bears.  Mumma Black Bear and her 3 Cubs

August 2012 – My sixth bear, but my first Grizzly (only a fortnight ago)

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