What is Bear Spray and How Can It Keep You and Your Family Safe
Bear awareness, deterrents and the best bear spray should be a routine part of your wilderness outing, especially early spring through fall.
Enjoying warm summer days vacationing with family or friends is likely to include some time in nature away from the concrete jungle. When you head out to enjoy some clean air and adventure in the wilderness, take the Boy Scout motto to heart and “Be Prepared”. You may remember to pack lots of water, snacks, and clothes for unpredictable weather, but are you prepared for a bear encounter? You are entering their natural habitat and this is their season to focus on foraging for food as they prepare for winter. Bear awareness, deterrents and the best bear spray should be a routine part of your wilderness outing, especially early spring through fall.
How Bear Spray Works
Bear spray contains the oil of the hot pepper, Capsaicin, mixed with a propellant and contained under pressure in an aerosol can that is easy to carry and use. Most canisters will deliver about 6-9 seconds of continuous spray and the pepper ingredient causes an immediate and involuntary shutdown of the animal’s functions and preventing or minimizing an attack. Bear Spray is non-toxic and does not cause any lasting harm to the animal or humans.
**[It is safer and more effective for people, while ultimately protecting bear populations, than firearm use.]**
Startled or threatened bears can move very quickly, bear spray should be readied at the sight of an animal and for use when it is 30m (100ft) away. It is useful to practice a zig-zag spraying motion with the safety on or use the Inert Training Spray to practice, particularly valuable for teaching young children how to use Bear Spray if ever necessary.
Like any aerosol-based spray product, while the active ingredient remains potent, it is the propellant that deteriorates and will not expel the product at the desired range, limiting its shelf life to approximately three years. Store canisters safely and avoid extremes in temperatures.
Most importantly, choose destinations away from known bears, travel in groups, and make some noise. Most often bears are just as likely to run from you and your smell before you even notice them, but it’s never worth the risk to get too close. Back away slowly from a bear in your path and stay away if you are unsure or uncomfortable entering bear country. Bear Spray is an inexpensive and indispensable tool for protecting you and your family.