SPOKANE, Wash. – Before hitting the trails this summer, you need to be prepared if you encounter a bear.
Experts recommend packing bear spray with you and have it readily available in a holster.
“It attaches really easily to your waist belt so it's in prime position for you when you are hiking. Right here, it's easy tension on the waist belt so I can just pull my bear spray out. Then flick my safety clip back, and I want to spray my bear spray," said Amee Martin with REI.
Martin said you should point your bear spray in the direction of the bear when it is within 15 to 25 feet from you.
"Probably use the entire canister. You want to make sure it's a good cloud. You don't want a little puff because it will cloud up because when the bear hits the cloud they don't want to go through the cloud," she explained.
Martin said it is not about spraying the bear in the face.
"It's a prevention to prevent an actual charge. You want to stop a charge if they're coming at you. And that's why it's so important to have it where you can access it because the longer it takes you to retrieve the bear spray the closer that distance becomes," said Martin.
Martin said making yourself known while you are out hiking is critical to preventing a bear encounter.
"That would be clapping, singing, shouting out ‘hey bear’ in intervals," she said.
Bear spray does expire after four years, but do not throw it away because you can use it to practice if you have very large yard to do so.