I've got plans this year to head to bear country, and I thought it'd be good to learn about how to use bear spray (which I've never had to even think about before).
I did some research and here's what I found. What are your tips on being safe? This video is a great intro, I think.
First, you gotta know when you'll need to use the spray. If it sounds like they're clearing their nose, if they're stomping on the ground, or if they're walking in a back and forth pattern, be prepared to spray. Bears are very fast for short distances and you have to react lightning fast. Watch the video to see how to shoot the spray.
Other bear spray tips:
1) Never leave bear spray in your car, it will explode in the heat.
2) Carry the spray in the front of your pack (on the straps) so you can quickly access it.
3) In case the spray doesn't work, know how to prepare for a bear charge. Many times a bear will bluff charge you and then turn away at the last minute. If a bear does slap you, hit the ground face down (you'll have your pack protecting your back) and spread your legs, so that he can't flip you over. Protect the back of your neck with your hands and stay perfectly still until it is gone. Le'ts hope you never have to use this.
4) Check the manufacturers site to learn how to use that specific kind of bear spray.