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Buying Bear Spray 101: Tips and Best Practices

Mace Bear Repellent Spray Front View

Bear Spray 101If you’re going to be in the back-country, you’ll likely want to know more about the Bear Spray your buying. This handy little tool is a must-have for anyone who is out and about in the back country. Let’s examine some of the uses for bear spray and how to buy it.

Seeing the Ursus arctos is an awesome experience that no one should miss out on. However, you may not be sure of which to grab, the camera or your bear repellent. Self-preservation is an important thing and you’ll want to have your bear spray handy at all times here.

At Wildlife Information, we discussed the ins and outs on bear spray.

Here are some important details that we learned.

Not All Bear Spray Is Created Equal

Good bear spray is an atomized propellant that has a good quality nozzle and a quality can. Sacrifice just one of these and you’re risking some serious danger. Repellents that state they are hot pepper spray or that have more than normal amounts of capsaicin may be thicker and have less of an effect per the experts.

Only Choose EPA Registered Bear Spray

Guard Alaska Pepper Spray Side ViewWith so many bear sprays on the market today, it’s difficult at best to know which one you should choose. All of them claim to be deterrents however if it’s not a regulated EPA product you’re not going to be sure of the origins of that can. EPA tests their products regularly so you can rest assured that you’re buying quality products. Always choose sprays that have a one to two percent capsaicin and the capsaicinoids in them.

If you’re shopping for bear spray, double check that the bear spray is an EPA registered bear spray.

Seek Sprays With A 5 Second Duration Of Spray

Bear Spray Repellent can stop an Attacking BearIf you have one or more bears charging at you, you don’t have time to stress over whether or not you’re bear spray is going to work. What you do want, is something that will give you plenty of coverage to empty the can and slow that bear down long enough for you to escape. If you’re in a heavily populated bear area, you may even wish to bring 2 cans along.

Cold Affects Your Bear Spray

If you’re out below 40 degrees, you may not be able to count on that bear spray. The cold can reduce the distance that your bear spray will spray or worse, it may not work at all. never store your bear spray in a cold truck or car outside. Never leave it out in the elements. Keep it warm and dry and with you at all times. If you’re hiking in cooler weather, wear the can underneath of your jacket so that it stays warm enough to use. Just be sure that you can grab it should you need it.

Encountering A Threatening Bear

Bear Spray 101: Stopping an Attacking BearIf you’ve never used bear spray, don’t leave it to chance. It takes a bit of practice to use it right. Good bear sprays will propel the liquid up to 20 feet from the can. You can also find some that works at 30 feet and even greater distances. Keep in mind, if the bear is snorting, pawing or in any way threatening you, you’re going to need to be ready.

Just wait for the charge so that the cloud won’t dissipate before you need it. Slowly back away, never run. Deploy quick short bursts of your bear spray toward the bear. Often the sound of the spray, as well as the sight of it will discourage the bear.

Charging Bears At 60 Feet

If you’re at 60 feet and a bear suddenly drops his nose and charges quickly, you need to deploy your bear spray at once. Bears can run 30 miles per hour so the bear will run into the spray and meet it within 30 feet of you.

Press the trigger and aim toward the bears face. Stop and adjust the aim if need be. Now you need to run the other way.

Charging Bears At 30 Feet

If you’re as close as 30 feet, you need to aim for the bears face at once. It may take the bear a second or two to feel the effects of the spray so be quick and remember this.

Immediate Bear

If a bear is inside of your personal zone, you need to be ready. 15 feet or less is too close. Be prepared to use your spray immediately and remember that the bear will have time to knock you down. However, according to research, using bear spray this close has reduced the severity of a bear attack. Enjoy your trip in the backcountry.