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The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

Ask A Bear: Do Tasers Stop Bears?

Our resident bruin expert answers all in our weekly feature, 'Ask A Bear.'

Q: Does a Taser work on a bear? Just wondering.—Mike Rawley, via email

A: Let me answer your question succinctly: Don't tase me, bro!

Actually, a better response might be "can't tase me, bro." My thick skin and fur seriously limits the ability of Taser probes to even penetrate, which they have to do in order to deliver their jolt.

Even if you land a shot, a Taser or stun gun is unlikely to slow or stop me the way it might work on humans (keep in mind that even sufficiently agitated humans have resisted the involuntary muscle spasms caused by a Taser).

There is evidence of police in Washington using a Taser on a small black bear, and while it certainly deterred the bear, it didn't have the desired effect:

Chandler said a police officer used a Taser on the bear. "If you Tase a human, they usually say, 'I give up!' and stay down," he said. But as soon as the officer turned off the Taser, the bear got up and tried to run.


If you do land a shock on a large, aggressive bear, it's likely to only agitate me even further (sometimes even guns just agitate me). Also, with one shot in a 35-foot range, you've got extremely limited chances to even hit me. Bear spray has similar range, but disperses in a wider fog, so your chances are better.

Once again, bear spray is a much better, easier, and cheaper deterrent. And if you even try anything funny on me with a stun gun, I'll see you in court. I've got a bear of an attorney on retainer.

—BEAR

Got a question for the bear? Send it to askabear@backpacker.com.

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Anonymous
Aug 24, 2012

Did someone really question if you are a bear?

You people need to take anatomy again.

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Feb 12, 2012

I seriously question this article. I mean send an email to a bear.And like he can't be a highly educated bear because there is no such thing.

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I can talk to a bear yeah, lol!!!!!!!!!

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Feb 12, 2012

I am seven and I have come up close with a baby black bear 10 times and as far as I know a bear can't talk.

alaska too
Sep 15, 2011

Ha ha ha, I live in Alaska too and would consider a taser as backup to my bear spray. Some trails in Anchorage have humans that are more dangerous than bears- the benifit is that the taser would work on them too.
Anyone backpacking- I recommend the short US-Canadian collaboration "Staying Safe in Bear Country". Great DVD.
Don't tasers deliver an electrical charge that would travel through anything that conducts a current until it is grounded? I imagine that the bear offers much more resistance, decreasing the effectiveness, but it's electrical system might still be a little interrupted.

Peter Jensen
Aug 26, 2011

I live in Anchorage, Alaska, and every year we have brown bears and black bears in our yard. Local hiking trails have plenty, too. Bears generally seem to be as afraid of us as we are of them, and they typically move away from hikers before the hikers even knew bears were present. Neighborhood dogs seem a bigger threat, and dog bites in our local hospital emergency departments are much more common than bear bites. The thing Tasers offer, as protection against dogs and bears, that guns and pepper spray don't is muscle paralysis. Angry dogs and bears seem to be able to ignore pain. I don't think they can ignore muscle paralysis/spasm. Hence my interest in knowing about actual encounters rather than theory. Guns are also heavy if you're backpacking, and you need to make a good shot in a hurry to kill a bear before it kills you. Playing dead is a strategy that has worked well with brown bears here, but I don't know that I have the guts to try it.

Peter Jensen
Aug 26, 2011

I live in Anchorage, Alaska, and every year we have brown bears and black bears in our yard. Local hiking trails have plenty, too. Bears generally seem to be as afraid of us as we are of them, and they typically move away from hikers before the hikers even knew bears were present. Neighborhood dogs seem a bigger threat, and dog bites in our local hospital emergency departments are much more common than bear bites. The thing Tasers offer, as protection against dogs and bears, that guns and pepper spray don't is muscle paralysis. Angry dogs and bears seem to be able to ignore pain. I don't think they can ignore muscle paralysis/spasm. Hence my interest in knowing about actual encounters rather than theory. Guns are also heavy if you're backpacking, and you need to make a good shot in a hurry to kill a bear before it kills you. Playing dead is a strategy that has worked well with brown bears here, but I don't know that I have the guts to try it.

cesar
Jul 17, 2011

What taser has a 35 foot range?

cesar
Jul 17, 2011

What laser has a 35 foot range?

BigSkyAdventurist
Apr 15, 2011

I have no idea why my post in in duplicate...just my luck.

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