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what is bear spray?
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shannon stoney
what is bear spray? on 06/18/2006 07:54:01 MDT Print View

I have been reading about the Arctic 1000 trip, and yesterday there was a posting about using bear spray. What in the world is this? Is it like regular pepper spray that one would use against a human aggressor?

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: what is bear spray? on 06/18/2006 08:41:31 MDT Print View

Sort of. Or, just a bit like the HALT product you can buy and which US Postal Carriers carry for use against unleashed, aggressive dogs. There are at least three differences, however:

1. It is generally quite a bit more potent, having a larger percentage of the active ingredient.

2. It has a much greater range (perhaps 8+ meters) while still maintaining an effective dispersal pattern.

3. A can of bear spray is larger, providing a continuous (not that you would necessarily use it in one continuous spray) 8-9+ seconds of spray.

Edited by pj on 06/18/2006 09:01:59 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: what is bear spray? on 06/18/2006 10:10:45 MDT Print View

"3. A can of bear spray is larger, providing a continuous (not that you would necessarily use it in one continuous spray) 8-9+ seconds of spray."

Hehehe-- hey PJ, we'll put you in front of an angry grizzly and see how long you hang on to that trigger :) I bet that that I would paint Yogi red from head to toe.

My father worked in canneries in Alaska and bears were a regular problem-- imagine Kodiaks getting the smell of thousands of gutted salmon. He tells a story of a college kid working as the watchman on a fish trap, which is a huge contraption built out into the mouth of a river to catch the fish. The watchman would live in a tiny shack built on the trap. So this guy is frying a salmon for dinner and a Kodiak comes through the door (without opening it) and the kid grabs a Colt Woodsman .22 automatic pistol and unloads the clip into the bear's head and got a lucky shot through an eye and into the brain, dropping the bear at his feet. My father and others came running when they heard the gun and found the kid still pulling the trigger on an empty gun when they got there a few minutes later. They gave him a different job and some clean underwear :)

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: Re: what is bear spray? on 06/18/2006 10:19:28 MDT Print View

A couple of other notable facts about bear spray are:

4. It's potent enough to be dangerous to humans, and is therefore illegal (in Canada at least) for use on humans under any circumstances. i.e. don't confuse bear spray with human pepper spray and vice-versa; the "jogger defense" products would probably only anger a bear further. And only if you could get close enough to use them!

5. It's statistically the safest way to handle a bear encounter; far safer than having a gun.

Here's a good website talking about bears and bear spray:


Edited by bjamesd on 06/18/2006 10:20:45 MDT.

Ken Walsh
(kwbackpack) - F
Guns... on 06/18/2006 11:49:00 MDT Print View

So a hiker is flying out to a remote site in Alaska talking to his bush pilot. He tells the pilot he's brought a 45 with him in case he runs into a bear. The pilot looks at him knowingly and says, "You better file the sight off the end of that barrel if you're going to use it on bears." The hiker considers this for a moment but can't find the logic. He asks, "Why do I need to do that?" The pilot replies, "It'll hurt a lot less when the bear shoves it up your ass."


Edited by kwbackpack on 06/18/2006 14:47:48 MDT.

jonathan hauptman

Locale: A white padded room in crazy town.
lol on 06/18/2006 11:53:56 MDT Print View


Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Guns... on 06/18/2006 18:14:40 MDT Print View

Hmm... That sounds a bit different from the bears over here on the east coast that are even afraid of cats.