In 2009, Founder, Sally Vering, had a bear encounter while vacationing near Yellowstone National Park. As she drove her small sports coup down a narrow forest service road into the Absaroka Mountains, she came around a bend and startled a grizzly sow with two cubs. The bears were about 75 yards away, walking toward her down the center of the road. The bears froze in their tracks and looked at her, the mother raising her massive head as she sniffed the air. In a split second, the sow shoved her cubs out ahead of her and began running at full speed toward the car.
Having seen videos of hungry grizzlies tearing trucks apart like sardine cans, Sally knew she was in deep trouble. Her fears rose when her dog began whining and pacing back and forth in the back seat as he excitedly sniffed the air. The bears quickly closed the gap as they raced her way. She raised her bear spray and braced for the sow's attack. About 20 yards from the car, the sow steered her cubs to the roadside, chasing one into the brushy ravine and the other up a tree. The bear shoved the cub upward and stood on her toes, pushing it as far up the tree as possible. When the sow came down on all fours, she gave Sally a steely stare, and disappeared into the brush. Was the griz letting her pass, or was she laying in wait? The only way out of the forest was to pass the bears, so she idled the car to the opposite side of the narrow road and slowly drove forward.
Sally's heart raced as she neared the treed cub, and she peered through the sunroof as she drove beneath it. The cub hugged the tree tighter and his little head turned as he watched her pass. Fearing the sow would pounce at any moment, once she was beyond the tree, Sally gunned the engine and drove as fast as she could out of the forest. She later learned how lucky she is to be alive, for startling a grizzly sow with cubs is the worst things you can do in Bear Country. The griz could have easily smashed her windshield or torn the doors off her car to stop the threat she and her excited dog posed. Had she been on foot, she probably wouldn't have lived to tell her tale.
Needless to say, it was a life-changing experience for Sally. Witnessing the raw, primal nature of a wild grizzly bear protecting her cubs impressed upon her the importance of carrying bear spray and knowing what to do in Bear Country. A year later, she moved from her hometown of Chicago, Illinois, to Bozeman, Montana, and spends most of her leisure time hiking with friends (all of whom carry bear spray) and her dog (who still gets excited when he picks up the scent of wildlife on the air).
In 2011, there were two fatal bear attacks in Yellowstone National Park. Sadly, neither victim carried bear spray, a last line of defense against a bear attack. When Sally learned of these unfortunate deaths, she knew she had to do something to help raise hiking-safety awareness and make bear spray more convenient and affordable for park visitors. Thus began her journey to launch Bear Aware, LLC and offer bear spray rentals in Yellowstone National Park. To bring the best information to our customers, Sally has consulted with Chris Kenyon, Veterinarian with Bozeman's 360 Pet Medical and former Supervisor on the Northern Continential Divide Grizzly Bear Project. The "Bear Aware Pledge", includes the five most important safety messages each park visitor should know, understand, and follow. Those are the pledges each customer makes when renting bear spray from our company.
Sam Azizi joined Bear Aware, LLC as its Operations Manager in 2014. As an avid outdoor enthusiast, Sam is dedicated to Bear Aware's mission of raising hiking-safety awareness in YNP and equipping visitors with bear spray. Sally and Sam proudly rent UDAP Pepper Power bear spray, the spray they both rely on for protection in Bear Country.
Bear Aware, LLC makes bear spray available to visitors of Yellowstone National Park on a daily or weekly basis at affordable prices. Bear Aware, LLC is committed to better equipping and educating park visitors so they can safely enjoy the majesty of Yellowstone National Park.
We know how great it is to enjoy the Great Outdoors. We also know the importance of being prepared for unexpected bear and wildlife encounters. Our goal is to assist Yellowstone National Park shift the mindset of visitors from one of reluctance to one of readiness when it comes to carrying bear spray. In due time, carrying bear spray will be as commonplace as wearing sunscreen to a beach, or buckling a seatbelt when driving, everyday precautions that were a rarity not too long ago.
COMMITMENT TO OUR CUSTOMERS
COMMITMENT TO WILDLIFE
Bear Aware is committed to promoting the safe viewing of wildlife from proper distances, what to do in the event of a wildlife encounter, and how to be best prepared when exploring Bear Country. Wildlife that becomes habituated to humans are relocated to an unfamiliar location which can be detrimental to the animal. Also, when a bear attacks a human, the bear is often tracked and killed. A sprayed bear is a saved bear. When a person takes and follows the "Bear Aware Pledge," there is a greater chance humans and wildlife will remain safe and unharmed.