Yellowstone National Park Video On Using Bear Spray: Is It Legal To Use?


Is it illegal to defend yourself from grizzlies with bear pepper spray? NPS photo.

Kurt Repanshek's picture

For years the folks at Yellowstone National Park have been encouraging backcountry travelers to carry bear spray, as this video clearly shows. But would you be breaking the law by doing so?

Sections of the Code of Federal Regulations seem to clearly define bear spray as a prohibited weapon.


they also encourage you to use bear spray at glacier park. which has a large grizzly population and people have been attacked there. it is sold in most sporting places in montana. i have one in my pickup. i would not hesitate to use it in ANY threatning situation. i really don't care what kind of stupid laws our government might have. it is not a gun! which i also have and would not be afraid to use. pepper spray will not kill a grizzly, but he can darn sure kill you. it has happened in montana several times in recent years. if you go to bear country don't be a fool, protect yourself! and be aware of your surroundings.

Bears are becoming more of an issue in North America. Think about it as the population continues to grow where are people living? They expand their living space into previously unoccupied areas-unoccupied at least by humans. In many parts of the country that is bear country.

Is this spray sold inside the Park anywhere or must it be obtained prior to entry into the park? I may be arriving from Jackson to the South or perhaps flying into Boseman, then driving down to Gardner coming in the North Entrance. Anyone know of any Stops along the way that might sell it? My wife and I will be doing a lot of hiking. I just can't see her holding still and not panicing if a bear is approaching, although I have told her "not to panic", Like I may wet myself. My brother and I were there like 40 years ago and we saw lots of bears. Had some friends just visit there and they did not see many at all. I guess after people quit feeding them, they decided to stay deep in the woods.

Last year when my son and I were at Yellowstone, they were selling bear spray in all the general stores in the park.