Back Country Safety-Know Your Bear Spray
In this article we will discuss several aspects of bear sprays that you should know. One of them may end up saving your life in a bear attack.
First of all, anybody who goes into the backcountry without bear spray is asking for trouble. Backcountry safety demands that you have an EPA approved bear spray with you at all times. While bears are naturally not aggressive, if you wander into their territory, as you might on a hike or on a camping trip, or happen to stumble across some cubs, the bear’s demeanor changes to very aggressive in a hurry.
Not all pepper sprays are bear sprays. If someone is trying to sell you a bear spray in a container that is smaller than 8 inches tall, beware. That is not bear spray. Bear spray containers are required to hold at least 9 ounces of a spray that are made of at least 1.0% capsaicin and related capsaicinoids (CRC) and no more than 2.0% CRC as mandated by the EPA. As far as we know, there are only four manufacturers of bear spray in the United States. So know what you’re looking for and don’t settle fora substitute. Your life may be in the balance.
Law enforcement pepper sprays and defensive sprays that are meant for the civilian market are mostly in the .67% to 1% CRC. So bear sprays are considerably hotter than civilian pepper sprays.
When you need to use a bear spray you should aim straight out or down towards the bear when he is at least 25 feet away. The idea is not to spray the bear directly but rather create a cloud of spray between you and the bear, so when he decides to attack he will walk into the cloud.
The spraying action creates a sound that actually distracts the bear and the orange cloud that you create by spraying distracts him as well. Bears don’t like to lose their ability to smell and see by the whooshing noise and orange cloud of bear spray.
Just like civilian and law enforcement pepper sprays, bear sprays can still be influenced by wind direction and rain.
In a recent study, only 2% of people who used bear spray were injured in an attack, while 50% of those who depended on a firearm to defend themselves were injured. The conclusion is a bear spray is much more effective as a self-defense weapon against bear attacks.
Get a bear spray with the longest range possible. This Frontiersman Brand Spray has a range of 35 feet.
And finally, if you are at a beach and somebody sees a shark-everyone gets out of the water! If you are in a movie theater and somebody yells fire-everyone gets out of the theater. If you are in a national park and somebody yells bear-everyone goes running towards the bear to get a glimpse.
Everyone has the image of a soft cuddly teddy bear in their mind. Bears are dangerous, wild animals! If you happen to encounter one in the backcountry and have bear spray with you, you are relatively safe if you keep your wits about you.
A full canister of Mace Bear Spray empties in less than six seconds and has a range of 35 feet.