Almost all bear spray comes in containers that are too large to be transported with you on commercial aircraft.
It is interesting to note that bear spray is more difficult to transport on commercial aircraft than firearms are. Both are prohibited from transport as carryons, unless you have special dispensation from the government. Then you can carry firearms, if you are an LEO with a letter authorizing it, a Sky Marshall, or a couple of other very special cases. I do not know if Sky Marshalls or federal agents may carry pepper spray in the cabins of commercial aircraft.
But ordinary people can pack firearms in checked baggage. The limit on ammunition in checked baggage is 5 kilograms, or 11 pounds of properly packaged ammuniton. So, if you are on a hunting trip to Alaska or to Maine, you can bring rifles, pistols, and shotguns in your checked baggage. I have carried a couple of rifles, a shotgun, and a couple of pistols on some hunting trips. The 11 pounds of ammunition is usually enough. But bear spray is far harder to transport.
A reminder about bear repellant: It’s best to buy it at your destination. Bear repellent is prohibited in the cabin of an aircraft. You can pack bear repellent in your checked bag if the volume is less than four ounces and if it has less than a two percent active ingredient of either CS or CN. Most bear repellents exceed these limitations. Three cans were discovered in carry-on bags this week at Anchorage (ANC), Bozeman (BZN) and Glacier Park (FCA).I did a couple of quick searches on the Internet for bear sprays, and the smallest that I found were 7.9 ounce containers. That is nearly twice the size that is allowed in checked baggage. There are plenty of smaller sizes of pepper spray available, and there may be a 4 ounce container available that I did not find. But the reason that they are not common is that anything less than about 8 ounces becomes problematic. Bears are known to shake off a single spray session, and come back for more. You do not want to be in a situation where a bear is coming back and your bear spray can is empty.
This means that if you wish to use bear spray, it is best if you either drive to your hunt or understand that you will have to purchase the spray when you arrive and leave it there when you return. It is simply another thing to consider. Bear spray typically runs from 30 to 50 dollars for a canister, a bit more for the holster.
One other option is to have the bear spray shipped to an address where you are going to hunt, and have it shipped back to your address when you return.
Remember the limits: 11 pounds of ammunition per person, and a maximum of 4 ounces of bear spray per person. As many rifles, shotguns, and pistols as you are willing to pay for the extra bag charges.
Update: from freerepublic.com, a commenter notes this:
I bought five large cans of bear spray a few years ago during a family trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone. A man had been mauled to death on a trail near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone a week before we visited. Couldn’t bring the stuff home with us, so we dropped it off in a Bear Spray donation box in Jackson on the way to the airport. I think the drop off was either at an outdoor store or a ranger station. Some lucky visitor got ours for free in the next few days.
TIP: If you are visiting bear country, try to find the free donation boxes where departing people drop their spray off. You might save some big bucks.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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