We still don't know what caused a can of bear spray to blow up in a car in Yellowstone Park last month. But we are learning some tips from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to keep it from happening to you.

Because just like any other spray can, bear spray is highly pressurized. A "blow up" is extremely rare, FWP Region 2 Communication and Education Program Manager says the recent incident shouldn't discourage you from carrying and using bear spray.

RELATED: While Bear Spray is No Longer an Option in Montana

A bear spray blowup

In the recent Yellowstone case, reports indicated the Yellowstone National Park employee had the can of spray on the dashboard when it suddenly went off, blowing a hole in the windshield and flying for more than 200 feet. It was said the weather wasn't hot at the time.

The Cody detailer who cleaned up the truck said it would "never be the same." 

Temperature matters

"If you can, keep your bear spray somewhere where the temperature is pretty constant, so not in your garage," advises Crowser. "If it's not insulated to where it will have that extreme shift between cold and warm. Try to keep it out of those areas. Try to keep it a little more constant temperature. That will really help."

Crowser says vehicles are "tricky" because you need to take the spray with you, so she advises limiting the amount of time it's in the vehicle, especially if it's very hot, or cold.

She also says there are small "totes" available from sources like Amazon which can offer some protection if there is an "accident discharge", even from the safety being bumped. Just make sure you don't have an enclosed tote which would limit access in a bear attack.

At camp

And those precautions extend to the pack, and the campsite.

"Take a look, see what you can do to make the situation a little bit better," Crowser says. "Keeping it out of direct sunlight, keeping it somewhere kind of shaded."

"Like so many things we have to deal with when we're outdoors and things are unpredictable, just kind of take a look at your circumstance. Do the best you can, and in most cases that's going to prevent any incident."

Teach your children

FWP's bear spray training focuses on kids when they reach hunting age around 10 to 12 years old, on how to safely handle and use bear spray. Until then, Crowser says it's better to just keep younger children with you, but teach them a spray canister isn't something to "play around with."

Learn More

FWP will be conducting a bear safety class, including spray education on June 18th from 6 pm to 7:30 pm at the FWP District 2 headquarters on Spurgin Road in Missoula. And here's a complete list of "bear aware" workshops statewide this summer.

Montana's 'Exotic Noncontrolled Species'

Here's a sample of some of the exotic animals that the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks consider "noncontrolled species" meaning they aren't prohibited unless it falls under Montana or Federal law. For more information about these species and other "exotic noncontrolled species" refer to the guidance from Montana Fish Wildlife, and Parks.

Gallery Credit: Ashley