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Does DEET Attract Bears?

Is it safe to wear DEET in summer when bears are around? I've heard the bear will come after you because it smells.

Question:

Is it safe to wear DEET in summer when bears are around? I’ve heard the bear will come after you because it smells.

Submitted by – Marcello, Boulder, CO

Answer:

As far as I know, bears have never been observed showing any interest in DEET.

They have been observed showing curiosity in citronella-based products, and conceivably might be interested in other herbal-type repellents.

Bears are naturally curious and almost always hungry, but it is not likely a bear that found DEET interesting would then follow up with an attack on the wearer of DEET. It doesn’t smell like food. My educated guess is that a bear will not bother you simply because you’re slathered in DEET.

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