Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Ask Buck

Mace vs. Bears

Is a can of personal defense pepper spray an effective bear deterrent?

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.

Question:

Is a can of personal defense pepper spray an effective bear deterrent?

Submitted by – C.D., Pinehurst, NC

Answer:

Pepper spray is pepper spray, whether it is packaged as anti-mugging spray or bear repellent. When packaged as bear repellent, however, the amount of spray released is usually substantially more than when the stuff is packaged to repel humans. Would personal defense spray repel a bear? It might, and it might not. It always ends up depending somewhat on how much spray hits the bear in the face and how enraged the bear is to start with. I would recommend you stick to pepper sprays specifically formulated and packaged to defend against bears, as this is one piece of gear you want to be certain of.