Bear Spray

Bear Spray

FRO's Bear Spray Sharing Program has been discontinued as of October 24, 2016.

Transportation of Bear Spray

Bear spray is a deterrent that researchers often take with them in field. Bear spray is contained in a compressed cylinder and for that reason is considered a dangerous good. 

According to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods regulations and UAlberta EHS personnel, bear spray typically falls into two categories for shipping:

1. UN 1950 – Aerosols, Flammable, Class 2.1; or
2. UN 1950 – Aerosols, Non-Flammable, Class 2.2.

In both cases the product is eligible as a "limited quantity shipment" by either Passenger or Cargo Aircraft, or Cargo only Aircraft. The packing instructions however are very prescriptive and detailed.

Even if the shipment meets the packing instructions for air transport, the issue becomes Special Provision A98 which states:

‘Aerosols, gas cartridges and receptacles, small, containing gas with a capacity not exceeding 50 ml, containing no constituents subject to these Regulations other than a Division 2.2 gas, are not subject to these Regulations when carried as cargo unless their release could cause extreme annoyance or discomfort to crew members so as to prevent the correct performance of duties.’

This means that Air Carriers can and do refuse to transport Bear Spray.

Here are some guidelines for the transportation of bear spray:

1. Domestically, by vehicle:

  • The person responsible for the vehicle, the driver, should have TDG training.
  • The bear spray must be packaged in its original aerosol container and be in a quantity or size that is available for purchase by the public.
  • The total of dangerous goods including the bear spray cannot be more than 150 kg
  • The bear spray should be packed for travel in a way that will not endanger the public should there be an incident. 
  • They will not need documentation, placards, specialized packaging, training, or reporting. However,  as noted above at least the driver should take the TDG training.
  • The bear spray should not be transported in the passenger compartment, if possible. 

2. By air carrier within Canada :

  • Meet IATA packing requirements;
  • May not be transported in carry-on or checked luggage.

3. By air carrier outside of Canada:

  • Meet IATA packing requirements;
  • May not be transported in carry-on or checked luggage.

4. Shipping the bear spray ahead of time

  • Contact some of the ground transport companies or even the major couriers may be able to offer some advice on how to ship consumer or larger quantities of Bear Spray and actually have it arrive at the destination.

The TDG training through the EHS is now an online course that takes less than 1/2 hour to complete.  For more information on TDG guidelines, please contact Lois Dvorsky in EHS.  For help with shipping bear spray, please contact Supply Management Services, Shipping Department (Rick Bidniak). 

It would be the easiest if you are travelling by way of air, to make plans to purchase the bear spray at a local hardware store at the nearest town/city from your research site.

If you are travelling by ground transportation, you should have the bear spray stored in an airtight sealed container such as a pelican case. 

How to use bear spray

Of course, once you reach your destination and are out in the field where you may encounter bears, you should carry the bear spray on your person so that it is readily available. For directions of use and disposal, please visit this Alberta Environment & Sustainable Resource Development video for a demonstration.

For more information on bear safety, Alberta Environment & Sustainable Resource Development has an excellent public awareness program, BearSmart