The Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) and Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee teamed up with renowned Hunting Journalist Craig Boddington and the Boone and Crockett Club to produce a 2-minute demonstration video and 30-second public service announcement (PSA) to promote the use of bear spray by hunters. The demonstration video will be posted later this week on outdoor-oriented Facebook pages and websites that have hundreds of thousands of fans. The PSA will be submitted to The Outdoor Channel, The Sportsman Channel, and WILD TV. Producer Conrad Evarts of Boddington Communications says the message could reach as many as 30 million households through these outlets.
In the video, the camera follows Craig, bear spray in holster and gun in hand, as he hikes through mountains and stream bottoms on the Boone and Crockett Club's Theodore Roosevelt Ranch on the Rocky Mountain Front west of Dupuyer, Montana. Craig uses a can of inert spray to demonstrate how to deploy spray while carrying a rifle. Craig addresses viewers with this important message:
"Hi, I'm Craig Boddington. For forty years I've made my living hunting, much of that in bear country. I trust my life to bear spray because the research is clear: bear spray stopped grizzly bears 92% of the time and prevented injury 98% of the time. Firing under stress changes everything. Bear spray requires less accuracy and won't harm your companions. Carry bear spray in bear country. Keep it accessible and practice."
Grizzly bear numbers and range are expanding in both the Northern Continental Divide and Yellowstone ecosystems in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. Conflicts between hunters and grizzlies have increased in these areas, resulting in human injuries and bear mortalities that could delay recovery and delisting of the species.
Increasing hunters' use of bear spray is a high priority in the strategic plan for information and education developed by WMI for the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. To achieve that goal, WMI reached out to Craig Boddington, whose ethical reputation and credibility with the hunting community is beyond question. Craig's demonstration and endorsement of bear spray will encourage hunters to adopt bear spray as part of their standard equipment when they're hunting in bear country.
Additional financial support for production of the video was provided by bear spray manufacturers Universal Defense Applications Products (UDAP), Counter Assault, as well as the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Wyoming Game and Fish Department.