Ask A Bear: Do Tasers Stop Bears?

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