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Is bear spray effective?

Ann Arbor, michigan
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122 posts
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Is bear spray effective?

There is some contradictory information around about the effectiveness of bear spray. Some people claim it doesn't work very well, so I am wondering if there are people here that have personally used it against a bear effectively, or knows someone that has. Thanks so much in advance for your information.

West Michigan
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1. Re: Is bear spray effective?

I have not personally used it (or even ever laid my hands on a can of bear spray..) but there was recently a bear attack in YNP and this a blurb from the account:

"Two of the hikers immediately discharged their canisters of bear spray and the sow and cub left the area after an encounter which lasted about a minute."

I would say that is about as effective as it gets :)

USA
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2. Re: Is bear spray effective?

Here's some research from AK demonstrating the efficacy of bear spray:

http://tinyurl.com/AKbearsprayresearch

N. Idaho
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for Yellowstone National Park
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3. Re: Is bear spray effective?

Here is the YNP official website take on bear spray.

www.nps.gov/yell/naturescience/bearenc.htm

Here is a post on another forum documenting it's effectiveness,

forums.yellowstone.net/viewtopic.php…

The above account was on 7/2/11. On 7/6/11 there was a bear related fatality across the loop road to the east of this incident. There was another fatality on 8/25/11 in the same area where the above use of bear spray was successful. In the instance of the fatalities, neither were carrying bear spray. The gentleman in the first instance was not experienced in hiking Yellowstone while the second apparently was. The team reports of both incidents repeatedly stated neither party had bear spray.

Where are you reading that bear spray is not effective? Just wondering if it was research specific to the Yellowstone ecosystem.

Pam

Englewood, Fl.
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4. Re: Is bear spray effective?

Bear spray can be highly effective, if used properly and under the right conditions. However the best defence against a bear attack is to become informed of proper safety practices for hiking in bear country, and never put yourself in a position where deploying the spray is necessary.

That might sound childishly simple to some. However several friends and I have logged probably hundreds of miles hiking Yellowstone's trails and back country over the past nine years. We've seen our share of bears, but during that time we have disposed of several cans of bear spray that had reached thier expiration dates without ever being out of the holster except for an equipment check.

Moose, Wyoming
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for Wyoming, Jackson, Jackson Hole
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5. Re: Is bear spray effective?

>wondering if there are people here that have personally used it against a bear effectively, or knows someone that has.

Yes to both questions. It works.

Yellowstone Nat...
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for Yellowstone National Park
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6. Re: Is bear spray effective?

<< Some people claim it doesn't work very well >> and the world is flat. Riiiight.

Moose, Wyoming
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for Wyoming, Jackson, Jackson Hole
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7. Re: Is bear spray effective?

I used to do volunteer work for GTNP, and my boss was the park's chief bear biologist, so I managed to pick up a few tidbits about bears. I recall her saying that there was no documented case of anyone deploying in-date bear spray being seriously injured by a grizzly bear in the Lower 48. If there's some literature that concludes it's ineffective, I'd like to read it.

Smithtown, New...
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8. Re: Is bear spray effective?

From what I've read it's especially effective with black bears. It takes less spray with them, more continuous spray with grizzlies. Again just what I've been exposed to in literature.

1quest2thenext.com/category/…

Alexandria, Virginia
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9. Re: Is bear spray effective?

I think some of the controversy may come from people that think it's a bear repellent. It is NOT a repellent and there was a study showing that they can be attracted to it. The article I was reading stated some people actually put it on their kids as a repellent. It is effective as a deterrent, which is how it's meant to be used.

With our upcoming trip I was researching this a lot just so I'm informed. We aren't planning any major hikes but we'll get bear spray anyway to be safe.

Ann Arbor, michigan
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122 posts
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10. Re: Is bear spray effective?

Thanks so much to everyone for their fine replies. They were extremely helpful.