jwal4503, flikr.com

Hunting seasons for wolves and antelope began Monday in portions of Wyoming. Officials with Wyoming Game and Fish are reminding hunters and those who frequent backcountry areas in the state about the importance of having a can or two of bear spray nearby.

Game and Fish information officer Robin Kepple says, if approached by a bear, for the spray to be effective, hunters must aim their spray toward the bear’s face.

You’re going to kind of aim low, about where the bear’s head would be,” Kepple said. “It’s made of capsaicin oil, which is a pepper oil, and it’s going to burn its eyes, throat and nose and make it really hard for it to breathe.”

Kepple says hunters should use bear spray as a deterrent and not a repellent. She says, after discharging bear spray, it’s critical that hunters be mindful of their surroundings so they can safely exit the area.

When you’re backing out of the area, keep your eyes on the bear – don’t ever take your eyes off the bear,” Kepple said. “Don’t run from a bear – a human being cannot outrun a bear.”

Kepple says, to help better train hunters, demonstration cans of bear spray are available at local Game and Fish offices.

Those looking for more information on how to stay safe in bear populated areas can call Wyoming Game and Fish at (307) 777-4600 or visit their website.