So yesterday we went on a morning hike here in Yellowstone National Park led by Park Ranger Chris Hannah. While traversing the landscape, ranger Hannah kept telling us important tips on how to deal with bear in Yellowstone. At the end of the hike he wanted to give us a few Tips about using bear spray. He started by showing us how to slide off the safety. Next he talked about the potency of the spray and explained that it is like the pepperspray that police use but five time stronger and can spray up to 25 feet. Now keep in mind this was at the end of a very long hike. So as you could expect people were tired. Most tired of all were the young children who sat crossed legged at the rangers boots while he spoke.
At this point Ranger Hannah was done explaining what bear spray was, now it was time to show how to properly use it. Please note that he never replaced the safety cover. He told us that it was best to deploy the spray from a kneeling position and aim squarely at the charging bear’s face. Ranger Hannah was no spring chicken, so jumping into the kneeling position was no easy feat. As he started his demonstration, the bear spray fell from his grip and landed squarely on the trigger. The spray deployed a 2 second burst of hell that found it’s way to several prize students sitting upfront. Luckily these were all adults. Most of the children were spared. Two people took direct shots to the face and several others got a contact blow thanks to the wind. Fanny pack laden tourist were falling like flies. The coughing, choking, and crying quickly spread through the crowd. Being the only people with any sense, we had backed up 20 yards as soon as then canister hit then ground. Others just sat there in awe until the pepper spray cloud reached them. Within 10 seconds it was a scene of mass causality. Sad but true story.