Bear Spray: Safe, Effective Deterrent for Wildlife Encounters

Canmore, Alberta, Canada - 09-17-2021: Hiker holding bear spray (Sabre Wild brand) used as bear attack deterrent in forest near Canmore, Canada with hiking trail in background. Focus on can.

Heading to Bear Country for camping or hiking? Stay safe from wildlife with bear spray – the ultimate deterrent.

Bear spray, a specialized pepper spray, is designed to deter bears effectively. It contains 2 percent capsaicin and related capsaicinoids, temporarily impairing a bear’s senses.

After using bear spray, bears will turn away and flee. The Counter Assault Bear Repellent Spray is proven effective on eight species of Bear, including polar bears.

1. High Success Rate

A large brown bear walking away along the river bank

Bear spray has a high success rate in stopping aggressive bears.

In fact, according to the National Park Service (NPS), people who use bear spray during a bear attack are less likely to be injured than those who use firearms or have no deterrent at all.

The NPS recommends using bear spray as the first line of defense against aggressive bears.

studies that support the use of bear spray over firearms

Multiple studies compared bear spray’s effectiveness to firearms in deterring bear attacks.

One study published in the Journal of Wildlife Management found that bear spray was more effective than firearms in stopping aggressive bears.

Another study published in the Journal of Environmental Management found that bear spray had a higher success rate than firearms in preventing injury or death from bear attacks.

2. Non-Lethal

Mace Brand Personal Security Products Guard Alaska Maximum Strength Bear Spray – 20’ Powerful Pepper Spray – Mace Spray Self-Defense for Hiking, Camping, and Other Outdoor Activities, Made in USA

Bear spray is a non-lethal form of bear deterrence.

Unlike firearms, which can cause permanent harm or death to bears, bear spray typically only causes temporary discomfort and does not cause permanent harm or injury.

Comparison with other methods of bear deterrence, such as firearms

Using firearms for bear deterrence can be risky, endangering both the user and local wildlife.

In addition, firearms can cause permanent harm or death to bears, which is not an ideal outcome for those who want to protect both themselves and the wildlife around them.

Bear spray provides a safe and effective alternative to firearms for bear deterrence.

3. Safe for Bears and Humans

Aerosol trigger of a can of bear spray in an outdoor setting. High quality photo

Bear spray is designed to affect bears temporarily without permanent harm. The effects of the bear spray are temporary, and they typically wear off within a few hours. This allows bears to return to their normal activities without any long-term consequences.

Opting for bear spray over firearms for bear deterrence offers human safety advantages. First, it reduces the risk of accidental injury or death from firearms. Second, it reduces the risk of injuring other wildlife in the area. Third, it provides a safe and effective means of deterring bears without causing permanent harm or injury to them.

4. Versatility

buffalo, United States – June 16, 2021: A hand holding a bear spray in the mountains

Bear spray is not just effective in deterring bears, but it can also be effective in deterring other wildlife, such as cougars, wolves, and coyotes.

This makes bear spray a versatile tool for outdoor enthusiasts who want to protect themselves from potential wildlife encounters.

Carrying bear spray can provide peace of mind for outdoor enthusiasts who are exploring bear country. Having an effective tool for deterring wildlife encounters boosts your confidence while outdoors.

5. Availability

SABRE Frontiersman 7.9 oz. Bear Spray, Maximum Strength 2.0% Major Capsaicinoids, Powerful 30 ft. Range Bear Deterrent, Outdoor Camping & Hiking Protection, Quick Draw Holster & Multipack Options

Bear spray is widely available at outdoor retailers, sporting goods stores, and online. Buy bear spray from a trusted retailer and check the expiration date before use.

Bear spray should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Bear spray is user-friendly, even for outdoor novices. It’s a highly effective tool for deterring wildlife encounters and provides a safe and non-lethal alternative to firearms.

By Anita Brown

Anita Brown is our go-to contributor to our emergency preparedness website. Anita brings a wealth of personal experience and professional expertise to the table, having weathered several awful natural disasters. Anita is currently working towards obtaining her Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) certification.