It's that time of year, the bears are waking up and starting to move around and It's always smart to be bear wise while in Wyoming's bear country.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Large Carnivore Supervisor Dr. Dan Thompson says that it's key to have bear spray with you anytime you head into Wyoming's bear country.

Basically that's not something you want to go cheap on, the bear spray's good for 3 to 5 years. I carry it with me anywhere, just because not for bears, but anything else that may come at me wildlife wise. It's a good tool to have when you're out and about in the amazing land we have to offer here in Wyoming.

It's been a few months since you've had to worry much about bears, because they've been sleeping. Now that they're moving around again, it's always a good idea for a refresher course.

Do you have bear spray, but haven't ever looked at the canister to see how it works?

That's a horrible mistake. Just like when carrying a firearm, you need to be aware of all working parts and how it works. What if you actually have to use it in a bear encounter, and can't figure out how to get the safety off or how to actually deploy the spray. It's always smart to refresh yourself and teach your family.

From the WGFD's Bear Wise Wyoming page:

The main active ingredient is capsaicin (capsaicinoids) which is derived from chili peppers. Bear spray, when properly used, gets into mucus membranes and causes a burning sensation that deters bears. Make sure that you are carrying an EPA registered Bear Spray and not another form of self protection pepper spray, which does not shoot out as far or have a high enough concentration of capsaicinoids.

• Bear spray is to be used on a charging bear or in an aggressive encounter.
• It sprays out 25-30 feet and creates a 4 foot cloud.
• Each member of the party should carry bear spray.
• Bear Spray must be carried where it is readily accessible.
• Make sure spray is in working order and that it has not expired (labels are dated)
• It should NOT be used as a repellent, or put on tents, gear, etc.

Being Bear Wise In Wyoming, is really important. You may've never seen a bear, but know that they're there in many parts of the state. You should be knowledgeable about things like what to do in bear situations and what type of bear you're dealing with.

Bear paws

Even if you don't plan on heading out into bear country, there's always the possibility a bear may come to you. Bears are always looking for an easy meal and you may end up having an unwanted guest, if you're not making sure your house is secure. Trash cans, bbq grills, bird feeders can all be an attractant of bears. Once the bears find that easy food source, they could end up being a problem and having to be taken care of. Check out these prevention videos.

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