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Backpacker Magazine – September 2000

Bear Spray: Packin' Heat

It's basically pepper in an aerosol can, and it's supposed to stop a charging grizzly. But will it? Here's everything you need to know.

by: Michele Morris

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

When And How To Use It

WHEN

As a deterrent on an aggressive or attacking bear. In other words, don't spray a bear that's just checking you out. If it's coming at you purposefully and/or quickly, use the spray.

Do not spray it on people, tents, packs, other equipment, or the surrounding area as a repellent. Dr. Smith's tests have shown that OC-based spray residue attracts bears "like catnip." Likewise, don't test-fire any spray in or near camp. We particularly like a comment we saw on one manufacturer's Web site: "We think the people who spray their kids with this as a repellent are direct descendants of the woman who bathed her poodle, then tried to dry it in her microwave."

HOW

Make sure it's accessible at all times. After our field-test experiences, we recommend a hip holster over a chest model, to avoid the risk of spray blowing back in your face.

o Remove the safety clip.

o Aim slightly down and directly in front of the approaching bear. Try to adjust for any crosswind.

o Spray a brief shot when the bear is about 50 feet away so it'll walk into the spray.

o If the bear continues to approach, spray again, this time aiming for the eyes and nose.

o Once the animal has retreated or is busy cleaning itself, leave quickly, but don't run.

For more information, see www.fs.fed.us/r1/wildlife/ igbc/Bear_Spray.htm.


PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

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Anonymous
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Spray will probably work against a curious bear coming to investigate but it sure wont stop a mother protecting her cubs. Your best bet is a 12 guage metal slug, shot in the chest or shoulder. It might not kill it right there but it will knock the bear down and break off the attack. Learn to shoot first or you are kidding yourself on how easy that is.

Hal Greene
May 28, 2012

Really, this is just one of the stupidest things I've ever read. The author would deign to stay his hand before engaging in violence in any situation whatsoever, even to dissuade an aggressive bear. What can one say about such ridiculous nonsense? This is not a cogent argument and there is no meaningful way to respond to it. There MAY BE valid arguments against the use of bear spray--it's ineffective, it's inconvenient, etc.--but excessive Buddhism is not one of them.

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