|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – September 2000
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.
When And How To Use It
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."
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.