A couple hiking in Yellowstone National Park this weekend averted tragedy by employing bear spray on a charging grizzly.
According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, citing information from Yellowstone officials, the couple (John and Lisa Vandenbos of Bozeman, Montana) were hiking along the Lamar River when they came across an adult grizzly bear feeding on a carcass. When the bear charged, Both Vandenbos deployed cans of bear spray.
Reportedly, the bear left at first, but charged again into the spray cloud. Eventually, it ran across the river and up a hillside. Shortly after the encounter, the Vanderbos reported the incident to a ranger.
Park officials stress that, since it was a surprise encounter and since the bear left the scene, they will not search for it.
Carrying bear spray is remarkably important when hiking around Yellowstone National Park. Indeed, earlier this year, Yellowstone launched an advertising campaign aimed at educating visitors on proper bear spray usage, stressing its importance in saving lives—both human and bear. Indeed, organizations such as the Southwest Montana Bear Education Working Group strive to teach tolerance for our ursine neighbors as much as proper spray usage.