Gary Moses on Counter Assault

A nearly 30-year veteran with the National Park Service (NPS), and recipient of the Yount Ranger of the Year Award in 2008 Gary retired in 2013 after serving as the District Ranger in Glacier National Park for 23 years.

Gary comments on the effectiveness of Counter Assault Bear Spray and importance of spray time.

To Read more about Gary’s background

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Development & History of Counter Assault Bear Pepper Spray

Bushwacker, Backpack, and Supply Inc., dba Counter Assault was established in 1986 in Missoula, MT and is presently located in Kalispell, MT.

Counter Assault Bear Deterrent pepper spray was developed, in conjunction with the University Montana, as a means to protect people from bears in a non-lethal manner. In the early 1980s, Dr. Charles Jonkel and Carrie Hunt of the University of Montana Border Grizzly Project generated the scientific data that proved Counter Assault’s proprietary formula and delivery system successfully deterred bears from aggressive encounters in a non-lethal manner.

In 1986, Counter Assault began business operations in Missoula, Montana to market a bear pepper spray. Since that time, National Park rangers, hunters, hikers, guides and others have carried the spray in the backcountry. Counter Assault Bear Deterrent is used worldwide by outdoor professionals, enthusiasts, and by Federal and State wildlife agencies. Counter Assault Bear Deterrent is lightweight, easily carried on the belt of a hunter, fisherman, or backpacker.

In the early 1990s with Counter Assault’s formulation technology and product specifications, we added a line of personal defense pepper sprays called OC-10®. Counter Assault OC-10® is a non-flammable, non-toxic aerosol spray used by law enforcement, military, and the general public as a non-lethal alternative for attacks by humans.

In June of 1998, Counter Assault became the first bear deterrent pepper spray to achieve US Environmental Protection Agency registration. In December 1998, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, a group consisting of various US Forest Service, state agencies, and other government personnel, awarded Counter Assault the 1998 Grizzly Bear Stewardship Award for significant participation in the research and development of bear deterrent pepper spray.

Counter Assault relocated to a new facility in Kalispell, Montana that was designed specifically to accommodate pepper spray manufacturing in February 1999. During the first quarter of 2004, Counter Assault doubled the size of its manufacturing facility and in the last quarter of 2008, Counter Assault completed a second expansion that again almost doubled the size of its manufacturing facility.

Norman S. Stewardship Letter
Optimal for Bear Spray Page

One of a Kind Bear Spray

  • The Hottest Bear Spray Available By Law
  • Developed in Conjunction with the University of Montana.
  • Manufactured in Montana.
  • The original developers of atomized spray technology used in all bear sprays.
  • First EPA registered bear pepper spray.
  • Recipient of the 1998 Grizzly Bear Stewardship Award.

Using Bear Spray

Hunter, journalist and TV personality Craig Boddington gives a one-minute demonstration of how to carry and use bear spray while hunting. Produced by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee Wildlife Management Institute


Chuck Bartlebaugh using an Inert Training Canister in a simulated bear encounter. Actual Bear Deterrent is Orange in color and sprays a greater distance than is shown.

Chuck Bartlebaugh works with grizzly bear managers, studies all the bear incident reports and is an expert on keeping people safe from bear attacks. He encourages people to hike in groups in bear country, keep food and trash away from bears and always carry bear spray.


Hayden Valley July 2, 2011

Lucky to be Alive


I heard that distinct “crack” of timber … and here comes a Grizzly sow, at full speed 20 yards from me, running through the timber. … it was amazing to witness the agility that she possessed as she cleared the fallen timbers. She stopped approximately 7 yards from me. She never made a sound this whole time. We stared at each other and I thought to myself “ok, it’s a bluff charge, now she’ll turn and run away”. … Once the cub reached her, she bolted straight for me at full speed. I sent a burst of spray at her hoping this would make her run off, but no luck…. She closed to within 3 yards of me, right where I had laid my hiking poles down, when I adjusted for the wind direction, and then unloaded the whole can of spray on her.
As the cloud of red spray enveloped her, my last thought was “this is going to hurt like hell”. All I could see as I watched her were her eyes and her teeth as she fought with the spray. It seemed like she was still going to be able to reach me, but suddenly she reared up on her hind legs and rolled over on her side then bolted off through the trees with her cub in tow. …

– Kevin

Side note… I always, I mean always carry Counter Assault Bear Spray. The minute I step on a designated trail or off-trail, it’s on my pack hip belt at hands reach. It saved my life on this day, contrary to what some might say.

To read Kevin’s complete account